One mandate on every budget-conscious business’ collective mind is: get more done by spending less. In short, these businesses strive to be more productive and get more return on their investments without incurring additional debt like adding extra employees to manage an increasing workload, paying overtime or spending inordinate amounts of time in efficiency meetings. Is this really achievable?
Adding staff is out of the question. Finding ways to increase productivity in the same amount of time is not. Businesses large and small are replacing manual tasks and workflows with automated solutions to save thousands upon thousands of work hours per year. These automated solutions are replacing often repetitive, error-prone, manual activities—and creating time that even the most efficient employees and businesses didn’t know they had! For example, by automating their purchasing processes, Frito Lay saved between 30,000-50,000 work hours per year. Of course, that’s just one process and one very large corporation. How can automating business processes add hours, even days of work time using your current employee count? First, let’s talk about where this time can be saved:
Typical day-to-day business tasks include:
Working with paper/forms/documents
Creating, completing, reading, correcting, exchanging, reproducing, filing, cross-referencing, updating, etc.)
Working with clients/peers/partners
Calling, faxing, emailing, face-to-face conferencing/interactions, online conferencing/interaction
Working within processes
Everything above and: Creating information; gathering/assembling information; delivering information in person, and/or by fax, phone, email and mail; gating a process by approving, rejecting or asking for clarification; finding and improving inefficiencies in processes.
Now, let’s consider how much time employees are spending on these tasks:
According to a 2014 Harris Poll, The State of Enterprise Work, “a surprising low percentage of enterprise workers’ hours actually go to their primary job duties. Keeping inboxes clean, enduring disruptions, and attending meetings all take chunks out of workers’ schedules.” A partial breakdown of the workweek by poll respondents included:
13.8% of time spent sending, responding to and sorting email
12% of time spent on administrative tasks
7.7% of time spent on interruptions for non-essential tasks
6.9% of time on wasteful meetings
Using 1 employee, and a 40-hr workweek as an example, this means that 1 employee spends:
4.8 hours a week sending, responding to and sorting email.
5.52 hours on administrative tasks
3.08 hours on interruptions for non-essential tasks
2.76 hours on wasteful meetings
In total, that means 16.6 hours—or over 2 days a week—is being spent on things that automating these day to day business tasks can either eliminate or improve-on with regards to time. Though exact time-savings calculations depend on individual business concerns and chosen solutions (many process improvement and document management companies have calculators you can use to understand time-savings and financial returns based on your specific needs) it is easy to see how automated processes can recover nearly all of these hours and add 2 manpower days a week with the same staff. Here’s how:
Digitizing documents means:
- Admin time spent working with any of these documents can be done at an automated speed. They can be electronically filed, sent, researched, cross-referenced, duplicated and updated.
- Time in meetings can be optimized. Collaboration can happen instantly, across geographies, with access to any and all pieces of digital information necessary. Results of collaboration can also be shared and/or acted on instantly (as opposed to having a meeting about the meeting).
Automating whole processes means:
- Email interaction that used to be “1 to 1” can be “1 to many.” Automated solutions allow collaborative workflows that enable communication between parties to happen in real-time, with a greater view of the whole process. For example, employees don’t have to keep track of who said what when—within the limiting context of their own inbox.
- Interruptions can be limited or avoided altogether. Automated processes allow transactions, research, filing, cross-referencing, approvals, etc all to happen in a single digital environment, often from a single screen—without having to get up from a desk, answer a phone, manually look for a file, call a colleague or be interrupted by unnecessary phone calls, information/status requests or drive-bys.
Automated solutions can help even the most productive companies take efficiency standards to the next level by recovering valuable time that can then be spent on the real work of doing business.
Find out how iDatix can add manpower days to your workweek using the headcount you have.