Workflow Automation : How companies automatically achieve more

Achieve results faster with less effort – thanks to workflow automation, this is possible for every company. The megatrend of automation is one of the biggest levers for strengthening the competitiveness of companies. Especially in production and industry, a lot of untapped potential can be leveraged in this way.

What is Workflow Automation?

Workflow - A Definition

A workflow describes the technical implementation of a business process or sub-process. It specifies who performs which activities by when and how to achieve a specific result. A workflow can organize activities sequentially or in parallel and can be run manually or automated. For efficiency reasons, companies strive for the greatest possible workflow automation.

Elements of a workflow

A workflow is always self-contained: It begins with a trigger, followed by an activity and finally a clear end point. In order to determine whether the workflow is complete, a target state must be defined in advance. For example, for the A/P invoice processing workflow, the end point is payment to the supplier.

Workflow automation means the automated execution of work processes according to previously defined rules with the aid of digital workflow systems . The support of manual activities by digital applications is also referred to as workflow automation.

To implement workflow automation in a company, work processes must first be mentally broken down into their smallest sub-steps in order to identify the activities that can be automated or digitally supported. This design phase determines the effectiveness of workflow automation. Work processes should be scrutinized for their efficiency. If inefficient processes are automated 1:1, only the degree of inefficiency increases – the hoped-for benefits of digital support fail to materialize.

Workflow modeling is done in the workflow automation application. Processes are displayed as a tree diagram and later automatically translated into digital workflows that employees can access from all end devices – computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet, and Smart Glasses .

Workflow Automation and Augmented Reality

Workflow automation gets an upgrade when companies integrate smart glasses into their processes. They open the world to the Augmented realitywhich companies use to ensure optimal user guidance in workflows. Especially when physical activities have to be performed, the tools show their advantages.

Instead of having to read instructions, employees can see on the display of their smart glasses how and where the next action is to be taken. They can even superimpose realistic 3D models into their field of view. Then employees can see where the next component needs to be mounted or can more easily judge whether a model fits harmoniously into its surroundings.

Workflow Automation: These are the advantages

Market pressure is increasing in many industries. Most recently, the Corona pandemic has fueled the need for organizations to cut costs. Automation is a sure way to increase productivity. It is therefore hardly surprising that analysts expect the market for workflow management software to grow by 2028 from 30 percent go out. The investment in workflow automation apps is low compared to other cost reduction measures, and the return on investment is quick.

Faster processes and new possibilities

When companies map their processes in a workflow automation application, employees are guided step-by-step through workflows. Who is responsible for the release? Where can I find the appropriate form? Many ambiguities that arise when working with checklists or multiple digital tools do not arise in the first place. All necessary data is provided by the application, work results are automatically forwarded to the stored approvers. Queries and arrangements are not necessary.

Since the user guidance in the app is always similar, employees can also perform new activities quickly without instructions. This opens up completely new possibilities for collaboration with customers: Self-services can be realized via workflow automation apps, so that customers can take over activities for which they previously had to contact a customer service representative or hire technicians.

Minimized error rate, maximum added value

Workflow automation applications also reduce the number of processing errors by identifying missing information and checking inputs for consistency. If employees still have problems, colleagues or administrators are able to provide support more quickly because they can follow the standardized workflow. Employees gain time through digital support to focus on tasks that deliver higher strategic value for the company – individual customer consulting, innovation work and creative problem solving.

Technical development is advancing faster than ever. Processes in production, support and maintenance are changing. Here, too, companies that work with workflow automation benefit. This is because processes can be remodeled at any time via a dashboard using drag & drop. Without programming knowledge. With minimal effort.

7 Advantages of Workflow Automation

  1. Consistent user experience
  2. Reduced error rate
  3. New ways to engage customers
  4. Fewer consultations and corrections
  5. Flexible customization of workflows
  6. Quick problem solving
  7. Higher productivity

In which industries can workflow automation be implemented?

Automated workflows can be implemented in many industries and business areas. Above all, they bring efficiency to workflows where employees document their work steps or results, errors would have critical consequences, employees must perform new activities, and visual work instructions are helpful.

Workflow automation is increasingly being used in these industries:

Application scenarios and practical examples

Workflow automation apps are as good as their use case. It is up to the strategic creativity of companies to turn technology into economic value. Many fields of application for workflow automation are conceivable. Three examples.

1. maintenance

Until now, technicians have often had to document their testing process with paper checklists. Whether the entries are made up from memory because the list was not at hand? Managers can’t check that. The workflow automation app on the smartphone and Head Mounted Display of the technician, however, registers via GPS when he has arrived on site and only then activates certain functions. Registration outside the radius of operation is not possible. At the same time, the app saves the user from having to handle pen and paper. By voice command, he navigates through the process and has both hands free to do his work without interruption.

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2. customer support

Machine manufacturers can use workflow automation applications to offer their customers additional services that set them apart from competitors. With the commissioning of a new machine, customers receive step-by-step instructions including data glasses so that they can master even complex processes without external experts. Customers save costs and at the same time gain autonomy as well as confidence in the competence of the manufacturer.

3. production

In which processes does production slow down? Where do challenging tasks lie? When users document their activities via a workflow automation application, they provide important data on the basis of which companies can optimize their processes. The employees themselves gain security, as they have contextual information on their activities at their fingertips at all times and the system prevents careless mistakes.

Workflow Automation - Simply Work More Productively

Not every task can be done by computers, but almost every task can be done more efficiently with digital tools. With workflow automation, companies can achieve productivity gains of up to 40 percent. No wonder that their spread has increased rapidly in recent years.

The return on investment for workflow automation depends on the strategic integration of the tools into the existing workflows and the selection of the right software. There are now many different providers – all with their own strengths and weaknesses. Depending on the planned application scenarios and individual initial situation, different solutions come into question. Companies should take the time to learn about and test options.

Of course, you can get advice from ALEGER on the subject of workflow automation. We will also be happy to advise you on the selection of suitable equipment.

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