It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were tracking all company expenses manually using a program such as excel. And it wasn’t even too long before that that we were tracking a lot of things by hand and a simple calculator. The personal, manual touches still have a place, as does programs like excel, but automation is an extremely beneficial tool for practically any business when it’s applied appropriately. When set up well and implemented effectively, business automation eases stress, enables a better workflow, and enhances employee output. This two-part blog series discusses some common mistakes when it comes to automation and how to avoid them.
- Automating just for sake of automating. Some processes within your organization really don’t need to be automated. There needs to be a strong “why” behind your reasons to bring in an automation program. If a competitor shares some excitement about their new and amazing automated program and you get envious and want to implement their same practices and more just to outdo them, it’s probably going to backfire. Your business will likely benefit from some sort of automation, but make sure you address what’s working and what’s not before throwing a system in front of your employees and creating frustration. The old adage, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, can apply to the automation world.
Solution: Instead of quickly playing catch up, be honest about your business practices and assess what truly can be bettered through automation and start there. What workflow is effective right now? Ask your employees their thoughts (which will also boost morale!) and consider their involvement in the automation plan. What are your end goals and expectations with your ideas of automation? Take some time with these considerations to ensure you implement a plan that works for your company.
- Not having a plan. Similar to the above mistake, not going in with a plan will end in frustration and inefficiency. Without a plan, your changes can become chaotic and create a new host of issues. The results you are after are probably not going to fall into place and you’ll need to start over and revamp the whole project. An effective automation system is a well-designed and planned system.
Solution: When we say plan, we mean define (your needs), design (cater to those needs), develop (finalize and put into action), and disperse (train, monitor, and follow up). Be patient and take the process slowly and expect some push back from employees initially. Implementing a new procedure can be tricky, even when done well. You may even want to have a Plan B in place just in case you get going and realize it’s not the perfect solution for your team. Taking this process slow will pay off, so don’t get impatient and rush the process.
Now that we’ve explored the “why” of automation and ideas on planning and preparation, it’s time to get into implementation concerns. Join us for Part 2 to continue this subject.