Automating your business’ recurring processes is a powerful tool for businesses to increase efficiency, and reduce costs. One area where automation can be particularly challenging is addressing bottlenecks in business and administrative tasks.
These bottlenecks can slow down operations, create delays, and lead to a loss of productivity. By automating these tasks, businesses can improve their overall performance, allowing them to focus on more critical aspects of their operations.
Here are some examples of business and administrative bottlenecks that can be automated:
1. Payroll Distribution
Ever since digital transformation has become a buzzword, businesses all around the world are looking to automate tedious tasks like payroll distribution using industry-grade software that can not only make complex calculations on the fly but also apply deductions where needed and generate reports. By doing so, not only do you get to save time and money but also stay compliant with tax withholding regulations and requirements.
Another point to keep in mind is that software like this also effectively reduces human error. Even if you’re running a high-scale operation and you have countless employees and contractors to manage, modern payroll distribution solutions can get it all done in 72 hours or less with minimal human intervention. Think about it – is your top talent’s time truly best spent on menial tasks like these instead of working on projects that will accelerate your company’s growth?
To make sure that everyone is up to date with what needs to be done, communication is key. Unfortunately, it also tends to be a major business blockage unless you have a proven system in place. For example, what will you do to get everyone on the same page if one of your team members was unable to attend the meeting? Speaking of which, are meetings truly the most productive use of your staff’s time?
Although no two organizations are structured exactly the same, analyzing your existing communication channels is key if you want to optimize the process. Don’t shy away from exploring alternatives like email, memos, or even cloud-hosted productivity apps with integrated to-do lists and similar features. At the same time, make it crystal clear whose role it is to relay crucial information to other team members. Although it does happen in practice, the last thing you’d want to see is progress coming to a halt due to something as trivial as a bottleneck in communication.
3. Paper documents
Certain documents are a necessary evil. There are contracts, inventory management folders, registration paperwork, and the list goes on. However, there are certain types of documents that you can consider doing away with for good. If that’s not entirely possible, at the very least you can consider digitizing them. This is not only beneficial from a productivity standpoint, but it also helps alleviate the burden on our environment by reducing the carbon footprint.
You’d be surprised how simple it is to utilize simple OCR technology to convert printed documents into digital text and there are many tools available of both free and paid variety that allow you to do this. This is the first step towards a completely digital office, although it probably requires some manual work so as to check for accuracy and make corrections if necessary. The next time you need your staff to fill out some forms, you can skip this process entirely and direct them to a digital questionnaire instead.
Carefully consider which documents are a necessary evil and if there are any you can digitize.
4. Approval Processes
Most organizations tend to follow a hierarchical structure, with different responsibilities and levels of execution being assigned to different roles. Even though lower-ranked officers have the power to make certain decisions on behalf of the management, it’s often necessary to set things up in a way that any major decisions must first get a green light from the CEO before they can be executed.
The responsibility can also fall onto whoever is next in command or in charge of a certain department. For instance, producing marketing materials can be outsourced to other professionals, but it’s likely going to be the head of marketing that approves them. The question is, what to do if the one who’s in charge of moving things forward isn’t available due to an illness or an emergency? Without a strategy on how to proceed in situations like these, you can quickly have another bottleneck on your shoulders.
As a general rule of thumb, the more people involved in the approval chain, the greater the risk of potential bottlenecks occurring. To resolve this issue, start by mapping out everyone in the chain and see if there’s a way to reduce it to a minimum without sacrificing accuracy or quality. Next, define a strict timeline in regard to how and when the superior is supposed to approve a deliverable or request changes. Once this has been determined, see if it makes sense to send out automated reminders in the form of messages or email alerts to make sure the parties involved follow up on their responsibilities.
Automation is the solution to minimize bottlenecks. By studying the ins and outs of your organization and its operational needs, it won’t take long for you to identify them and get your team back on track to productivity and high-value output.