Due to the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic, executives gearing up to automate their companies are facing a difficult choice – whether to cancel their project or proceed full steam ahead. Quick decisions can have long-term consequences for your business; these are the risks.
Business interruptions tend to pop up at the least opportune times. In early 2020, Americans were on track to reap the benefits of the strongest economy in the history of our country. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly swept in, erasing years of economic progress since our country began to rebuild following the Great Recession.
As a result, the economy tanked, millions of jobs were lost, and the future of our country’s business leaders was brought into question. Meanwhile, stock market speculation shifted into bear territory with a series of record Dow Jones point losses on March 16 (-2,997), March 12 (-2,352.60), and March 9 (-2,013.76). For reference, the previous record loss was -838.55 point on September 29, 2008.
Many businesses were forced to make difficult decisions to remain viable, such as whether to pause (or cancel) plans to automate their company. While it’s true that process improvement automation projects can be costly upfront, they can also give businesses the tools they need to remain viable regardless of the type of business interruption keeping them from operating at full capacity.
There’s an opportunity cost for every canceled project, and in the case of process improvement and automation, that opportunity cost can be crippling. Before you cancel your automation software implementation, consider the following risk:
1. The Financial Cost of Cancellation
One of the biggest selling points of process improvement automation is the tremendous ROI to be gained from faster processing with fewer errors. Automation can increase productivity by as much as 90% while ensuring that every opportunity for an early payment discount is secured. Furthermore, in the context of an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution, it can also eliminate duplicate payments when integrated into an intelligent workflow.
In other words, you do not want to squander your future ROI by cutting ties with a vendor you have already signed an agreement with, especially if you are already several stages into your implementation. Performing exhaustive due diligence is critical to making the right purchase. If you want to make things easy on your company, find a vendor that offers a reliable integration with your core ERP system.
2. Overburdened Employees
Automation can help reduce employee stress by eliminating time-consuming and redundant tasks, giving them more time to focus on big picture projects that have a long-lasting effect on the company. For example, the keying of data into your ERP system is inefficient when performed manually. It is a highly error-prone process that requires several internal confidence checks on the part of the processor. If any of the information is input incorrectly, it could lead to a delayed payment or order – either of which will have a negative effect on your bottom line. When employees are forced to do jobs that are impractical or overly repetitive, it affects morale daily. When these same employees are criticized by management for their work ethic, it raises the question: Is the employee’s performance lacking? Or is the process the problem?
Oftentimes, we find that the process is the true cause of a company’s woes, not the employees. With automation working alongside your employees, you can reach unprecedented levels of productivity while ensuring that your most important assets, your employees, are given the support they need to serve your company for years to come.
3. Loss of Market Share
There is no other competitive advantage quite like process improvement automation. The before-and-after data following an automation software implementation can be staggering. Not only does your company get faster but it also gets smarter and more cost-friendly. Unsurprisingly, one of the most common reasons why companies decide to start looking into process improvement and automation is because they have caught wind of their competitors doing the same.
Now, here is the inescapable truth. And please be warned, it can be a tough pill to swallow. In the future, every company will rely on automation in some capacity. It is not a matter of if but when your competitors will begin to use automation to improve their processes. It is highly likely that some of them have already started. Automation can help you maintain your market share and fend off your competitors by placing a wide functional gap between your capabilities and theirs. The longer you can take advantage of this functional gap, the brighter the future outlook for your company will be.
4. Legal Disputes
Have you already signed a contract with your selected vendor? If so, you could find that canceling your project is a bigger challenge than you initially expected. While not all companies will penalize you for pausing your project, there are many who will. Read your contract carefully before signing; otherwise, you could find yourself on the phone with your lawyer. To avoid a situation like this, seek out a vendor who treats you like a partner and not a customer. At IntelliChief, we are invested in the mutual success of our partner businesses. By helping you meet your goals, we can continue streamlining your business processes and helping you reach your next milestone. In fact, IntelliChief has several capabilities to help your business improve legal compliance, such as Retention Manager, which can automatically schedule purge policies and provide quick audit support.
Whether you are thinking about taking on an automation project or your current project has been placed on indefinite hiatus, our team is standing by to discuss any questions you might have regarding business process automation and successful implementations. Contact IntelliChief today!