May 25, 2017
Chuck Cohn ,
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Automation, or the act of utilizing technology to oversee and simplify repeatable tasks, may seem most common in the manufacturing industry. The truth, however, is that automation can be employed in all fields—and across many departments—to provide consistent management of one or more processes.
Automation frees you and your staff members to work on the tasks that are particularly critical to your company’s success. It also helps individuals catch items that are easily forgotten or overlooked. In other words, it can be a key factor in the growth of your organization. If you are looking to augment your day-to-day operations with the addition of an automation tool or two, here are three areas to consider first:
Every business will have its own unique degree of logistical need. For instance, if your company has a physical location or if you operate an online retail store, your need may revolve around order fulfillment and shipping. Consider establishing a tracking system that will help you automate any such processes. This may include tasks like invoicing, billing, processing, reporting, and vendor tracking. In short, any logistical step that is not central to your business model can be automated.
While doing so can free up resources for you and your team to focus on your core product or service, investing in automation can also mean significant upfront costs. Before you move forward with this decision, analyze how it will impact your short-term and long-term financial health. How long will it take before you begin to realize the benefits of automation? Is that moment too distant for your business to recoup the initial investment? Does it expose you to significant risk? Might you lose a human touch that is critically important to your relationship with customers or suppliers?
Asana, Basecamp, and JIRA are just three examples of software tools that can streamline project management. Rather than relying on disorganized notes on a whiteboard, a cluster of Post-it notes on a computer screen, or a lengthy string of emails in your inbox, these project management platforms provide the accessibility and visibility that you and your team members need to remain up-to-date on projects. Prioritizing work is an undeniably important task for any organization, and a project management tool that automatically organizes this process can enable you to shift your focus and mental energy to the projects themselves.