Reducing Business Process Costs With Workflow Automation

When performed manually, business process costs are considerable.

While companies realize these costs exist, it’s hard to precisely calculate the number of employee work hours that factor into a process that needs refinement.

For those that do manage to equate hours with dollar amounts, the idea of automating these processes with Workflow Automation starts to look more and more appealing.

Example: Accounts Payable Costs

Accounts Payable is an area with telling industry averages.

Manual, paper-based AP departments need 14.6 days to process a supplier’s invoice at a cost of $16.91 per invoice.

On the other hand, companies with AP Automation are able to reduce processing time to 2.9 days at a cost of $3.47 per invoice.

Therefore, companies that automate Accounts Payable are processing invoices approximately 80 percent faster and for 80 percent the cost of those that rely on manual, paper-based business processes.

Reducing Business Process Costs by 30 Percent Across the Enterprise

Accounts Payable is a great example, but it’s far from the only area of your business that can benefit from Workflow Automation. Nearly any manual process can be made faster, less expensive, and more resilient to human error with automation.

Deloitte even estimates that Workflow Automation can reduce general business process costs by 30 percent. This takes into account staff and time savings as well as accuracy improvements.

Underlying contributors?

  • Documents are kept organized, accessible, and trackable throughout process lifecycles
  • Routing is automated, so processes endure fewer “stop and go” delays
  • Human error is eliminated by automating repeatable processes
  • Processing errors are prevented by allowing workers to focus solely on problematic exceptions

When Should a Company Transition to Automated Business Processes?

PricewaterhouseCoopers notes that Workflow Automation makes the most sense in companies that perform repetitive processes with high frequency. Thanks to economies of scale, automating each consecutive process becomes faster and cheaper with time.

This particularly resonates with large organizations, where — after a few department-specific implementations — it becomes economically feasible to optimize multiple processes company-wide. By expanding the solution throughout the entire business, companies can increase ROI and provide better customer experiences at every touchpoint.

Considerations for Reducing Business Process Costs

One major thing to keep in mind when you invest in an automation solution, especially if you’re planning to use it across your entire enterprise, it will need to integrate with all of your legacy IT systems. It’s ideal to automate processes while keeping existing front- and back-office systems in place as this will help you overcome the need for a complex infrastructure transformation. But not all solutions are designed to do so.

To that end, things to consider when choosing a workflow management software solution include:

  1. Ensure that your selected vendor has system functionalities and business process expertise that meet your company-wide requirements
  2. Consider processing capabilities for high volumes of data, across multiple departments
  3. Verify that your own business case is solid; work with the provider’s staff consultants to project the ROI of your automation project ahead of time
  4. Engage your vendor to assist with Change Management; they should be able to establish and implement a plan to help your staff function productively in their new environment.

When you choose the right solution, Workflow Automation can show quick results. For most projects, implementation is done in small steps by converting one process at a time into an automated workflow. It’s important to customize business rules for each department’s functional need, which can take time, but when done correctly, it can absolutely help companies cut costs, become more competitive, and optimize their most commonly performed processes.

If you’re ready to reach a superior level of operational excellence in terms of processing speed, costs and adaptability, contact IntelliChief. We have extensive experience automating workflows across AP, Finance, Order Processing, HR, and other departments. Our Enterprise Content Management software links your systems and streamlines disparate processes. We’d be happy to do the same for you.