A 5-part series to share some warning signs and explore how automation may help.

Part 1 of 5: Is it time to ask the right questions?

Do you ever get the feeling your business isn’t efficient, even though your people seem to be working hard? Do your internal order workflows or business processes take longer than you’d like? Does it ever feel like “the system” isn’t optimized for your actual work? Or maybe you have been trying to solve your problems by adding more employees, but it’s not really working?

Many times, we see that our customers simply aren’t optimized anymore because their business has grown around them organically for years. Sometimes, what used to work fine is more complicated now because the process has grown more complex, but your customers still expect their orders on time. This can create stress on employees who are trying to use older systems to do their work, since the systems weren’t originally designed quite this way. We often see companies using “workarounds” that were intended to be short-term but which have been used for years, with no permanent solution on the horizon. Other times, we see obvious bottlenecks, such as a particular role in the organization (like CSR or Account Manager) which has become increasingly difficult to fill since it requires a person with near-perfect focus to remember all the rules for processing your orders. Meanwhile, customers have become increasingly impatient with any company that can’t deliver their product correctly, on time every time. In many cases, these problems have existed for years and have gradually started to have noticeably negative effects on employee morale and/or customer satisfaction.

It’s no secret that employees prefer stress-free and efficient environments, and that customers prefer reliable and expedient service. Automating some parts of your business may help you optimize both your working environment and overall service. Most business owners understand their current business as it operates today, but they have trouble imagining precisely how automation could serve them. Many have realized that it’s worth exploring, but posing the right questions can be difficult. For example, if you expect to grow your business 20% this year, would you be better off simply hiring more people, or could you automate some of your internal processes to enable your existing team to be 20% more effective? Conversely, if your revenues are contracting, could automation help you reduce costs and save money? These are the trade-offs we generally consider when creating a Statement of Work for our clients.

Up next, we will ask 3 basic questions to check whether your business may be ripe for automation. Our next article will ask the question:

Does your business feel slow or wasteful?

(You probably aren’t wrong.)

Published by Adam Brown

Adam M. Brown is Vice President of Sales at EM Squared Inc., a custom software developer in Atlanta, GA specializing in business process automation, custom ERP integrations and the Internet of Things (IoT). Since 2001, EM Squared has served business clients and their IT teams by providing better integrated software, enabling more cohesive workflows, and removing unnecessary system constraints. Their deep experience with business systems may provide the answers you seek. Consultations are free and you can reach Adam at 404-556-5417 or email adam.brown@emsquared- inc.com.