Businesses from every industry use automated systems to some degree, whether it’s automated payment processing, point-of-sale systems, or simple invoicing software. No business is too small to benefit from automation. However, many small businesses have been slow to adopt automation. Perhaps it seems too technical for some, or maybe they’re afraid of change.
If you’re hanging onto manual methods to run your business, let the following reasons be an invitation to consider automation:
1. Not using automated systems will keep you in the past
There will come a time when your old software applications no longer function. You know, the applications you downloaded as freeware back in 1996? Eventually, they will become defunct. When that happens, you’ll be unaware of your options because you will have been living in the past.
If you’re not sure about using automated systems, at least do some research to find out what is possible thanks to cloud-based software. For example, you might change your mind when you realize cloud-based applications update automatically, and you don’t need to struggle with zip files or installer files. Cloud-based apps are far more powerful than that, but it’s a good point to consider if you’re worried about not knowing how to install and update modern software.
2. Manual methods limit your accuracy and effectiveness
Imagine that using Google took as much effort as using the Dewey Decimal System to find a cookbook in the library. Then, imagine the book isn’t where it should be because a patron put it back in the wrong place. Good luck finding that cookbook! That’s the amount of unnecessary effort required when you use manual methods to run your business. Automated software is essential if you want accurate data.
For instance, the supply chain is one of the most difficult aspects of business to manage manually. There are too many moving parts and variables to track with pen and paper. Even entering data into a computer spreadsheet isn’t efficient, but many businesses still rely on Excel. There’s no reason to handle this manually anymore, and there hasn’t been for a while.
Outsourced technology hosting for supply chain management officially debuted back in the late 1990s, according to Lean DNA. Like all software, the process evolved from desktop applications to on-demand software, and finally in the early 2000s, emerged as software as a service (SaaS). SaaS is the latest form of outsourced technology and with it, supply chain management solutions can address the quick and unexpected changes in demand, suppliers, and logistics providers. These rapid changes can’t be managed in Excel. If you want to reap the benefits of a better-managed supply chain, you need to automate the process.
3. Manual management causes lost sales
If you’re still manually managing inventory, analytics, and sales orders, you’re actually losing money. Manual management isn’t accurate, so you’re working with flawed data. Important decisions like where to spend your marketing dollars are based on analytics data. You can’t afford to make those decisions based on flawed data.
A whopping 46% of businesses either don’t track inventory or use manual methods because it’s familiar. Familiar doesn’t get results – accurate gets results. For example, if you track inventory manually, you’re relying on employees to provide accurate counts, which isn’t likely. Especially when you have large amounts of inventory and people guestimate.
By tracking inventory manually, you won’t have access to a daily report of what’s moving and what’s not. You won’t have a heads up that you need to order more of a certain item before it runs out. You’ll have to wait until the end of the month to see what you need, and by then, it will be too late.
4. Automated systems increase trust from partners
Automating your business systems is no longer a luxury – it’s a must. Anybody you do business with will trust you more when you’re using automated systems. You’ll be well respected. Automated systems will ensure nothing is left to uncertainty while you go digging through a filing cabinet full of paper to figure out if a vendor’s check actually cleared. You’ll have information at your fingertips when and where you need it.
5. Automated systems create happy teams
Your team will thank you for automating the time-consuming processes they barely had time to complete before clocking out. They’ll be freed up to perform the tasks they were hired for. Their genius will shine, they’ll feel valued, and you’ll experience less turnover.
Automation is the right choice
Automating your business is the best investment you can possibly make for yourself, your team, and your customers. Start automating processes today, and you’ll see a return on your investment in terms of dollars, productivity, and most importantly, efficiency.