Guest post by Kurt Webber.
Automating business operations and processes provides several benefits, including lower costs and higher quality. And business automation is no longer just for large enterprises. Smaller companies are using smart tools to reduce their labor costs and improve efficiency when processing orders and managing the customer-relationship experience.
From the warehouse to marketing to shipping and receiving, you can automate your business tasks as a way of increasing your bottom line and improving customer satisfaction. Take the redundancy out of your business while improving consistency. Here are half a dozen noteworthy benefits of small business automation plus some useful workflow automation tips.
Scalability as Your Business Grows
Small business owners can hit a wall if they see a sudden rise in orders. A rapid change in demand can put your company at risk if you don’t have the people or resources to fill these orders on the agreed-upon timeline. This can lead to poor customer service and delivery delays, which can damage your company’s reputation over time.
But instead of trying to hire more workers and increase your operations on a tight deadline, use warehouse automation tools like smart picking and stocking that scale up with your business. Some of these robots can retrieve as many as 1,000 packages per hour.
You can adjust the speed based on the number of orders you have coming in the door. If your operations are doubling or tripling in a short period of time, you can always invest in more automated technology without having to train new employees.
Reduced Errors When Processing Orders and Managing Resources
Warehouse workers statistically have a picking accuracy rate of 90 to 95 percent. A 90 percent accuracy rate might not seem intolerable, but that could add up to hundreds of inaccurate orders per month. Smart warehouse tools usually come with an accuracy rate of around 99 percent, which will help you improve customer relations and build a better reputation for your company. Packages are routinely scanned as the order is prepared, leaving little room for error.
But a reduced error rate doesn’t only apply to the warehouse. Automation tools can help you improve accuracy throughout your business. Smart shipping systems print shipping labels automatically, so you don’t have to worry about sending an item to the wrong address. Smart invoicing and bookkeeping tools help you better manage your company’s finances. Scheduling software programs reduce errors when managing your employees. Smart inventory tools automatically track the number of items on the shelf, so you don’t have to worry about manually counting items and remembering to place new orders.
Improving Customer Satisfaction
When you’re competing with ecommerce giants like Amazon and Walmart, which have product distribution centers all over the country, you can’t afford to delay the product delivery timeline. Automation reduces picking inaccuracy, so your customers will always receive the right order.
But you can also use technology to automate the business-customer relationship, helping you keep your customers informed if you run low on a specific product or if a shipment is taking longer than expected. You can also quickly respond to customer questions and complaints using an automated system. If someone has a complaint about one of your products, you can pull up their order number, delivery date and purchase history with ease.
Marketing automation tools also help you compile and utilize all kinds of data about your customers. From the posts they interact with online to website analytics, smart marketing tools help you key in to your target audience with greater accuracy so you can better understand the needs of your customers.
More Efficient Use of Space
Managing your inventory and assembling orders doesn’t have to take up a lot of space. Instead of having your warehouse employees use large pieces of equipment to grab products and prepare orders, you can use automation to make more efficient use of your warehouse space. Omnidirectional robots and smart picking tools help you compress your storage space. These bots can slide in and out of tight spaces with ease, so you don’t have to worry about large trucks and robotic lifts taking up all the square footage in your facility.
Automated invoicing and bookkeeping also help you free up some of your office space. If you keep several backups of your digital files on an external hard drive or the cloud, you don’t have to fill up the space with a bunch of file cabinets.
Reduced Labor Costs
Perhaps the biggest benefit of business automation is reducing your labor costs. From employees in the warehouse to bookkeeping and marketing, you won’t have to hire as many employees to get the job done. While some of these automation tools can be costly at the start, you can reduce your overhead over time and gradually pay off your investment.
Adding more smart technology to your business paves the way for more IT personnel but dealing with the occasional software glitch is not as costly or time-consuming as hiring and retaining dozens of employees.
If you find yourself constantly searching for quality employees who are going to stick around for more than a few months, you can upgrade your business operations to incorporate more technology so you can focus on hiring just a few skilled workers.
More Time on Your Hands
Let’s face it, many small business owners are doing everything themselves. If you fit this description, automating some of your business operations will help you make better use of your time as an entrepreneur. You can spend more time finding exciting opportunities to grow your business and establishing lasting partnerships in your industry. You shouldn’t have to waste your time on redundant processes and labor-intensive tasks like printing shipping labels and posting on Facebook.
From managing your employees to processing orders and shipping out packages, business automation is here to help you better manage your business. You can free up more of your time, save money on labor and improve your company’s reputation by working smarter, not harder. As an entrepreneur, you can clear the busywork from your schedule so you can focus on the bigger picture. Refocus your efforts and resources by adopting business automation today.
Kurt Webber started Blanco in 1996 after working in the label industry for more than 10 years. Kurt has experience with almost every known pressure sensitive label application and is very involved in Production and Marketing at Blanco. Kurt’s wife, Alice, works alongside him at Blanco. They have 3 adult sons, a couple of pups, and a cat. Kurt is an avid outdoorsman, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and hiking.