There are countless ways companies can employ greener business models. They can invest in renewable energy and use digital technology to reduce paper consumption. One of the overlooked ways that they can adapt to eco-friendlier business strategies is by investing more in automation.
You may be skeptical about the benefits of automation as a green business. However, several experts have provided a clear outlook on this.
However, some businesses are still skeptical about the merits of using automation to become greener. After all, running a profitable green business is just as important as being eco-friendly. A green company that goes bankrupt is not going to do much to help the environment. As Geoffrey Jones of Harvard Business School points out, green businesses don’t have a great track record for profitability. You need to make sure you focus on profit as well as sustainability.
Business process automation is growing in popularity, with many industries having automated some or even all of their processes to a certain degree. Automating your business is definitely something you should look into. If you’re not sure how it’s done, here are a couple of suggestions to get you started.
Before you decide to use technology and automate your business processes and adapt greener practices, you need to be aware of what that will bring to your company and what you can expect. You can expect your business to change in a lot of positive ways, but keep in mind that where there are benefits, there are also some disadvantages.
Here are all the positive and negative sides you can expect to see from business process automation.
The pros of using automation to become a greener company
To start off on the positive side, there’s no denying that many businesses have seen various benefits from automating their processes. Green businesses have noticed this as well. Here are some you will get to see if you decide to implement business process automation:
Every business that hasn’t undergone automation has employees that spend a lot of their time on repetitive and time-consuming tasks. They can include anything from document management to HR-related tasks, all of which can be automated to save employee’s time. These tasks require energy, which leaves a larger footprint. Therefore, automation can reduce your enviromental impact.
Once these tasks are automated, employees will have more free time to focus on important projects, as they won’t be preoccupied with doing administrative tasks manually. This will also free up time for idea generation and developing new products as well as improving current ones.
Eliminating human error
Machines aren’t able to make human errors as regular employees. While it’s normal and somewhat expected to run into certain small or big mistakes when only people are in charge of a business process, those mistakes aren’t expected from machines. This leads to less physical waste, which helps save the environnment.
When you automate a process, you also eliminate all possibilities of human errors and can rely on machines or systems to provide you with:
- Compliance with all internal and external requirements
- Precise and in-depth reports
- Good time tracking
- Accurate order filling
The bottom line is that automation is reliable if done right and it can help you ensure a higher quality of work across multiple areas of your company.
There are many different ways to kill a person’s productivity and the desire to do their job, one of them being constant monotony and repetition. This is especially true if an employee is doing a task that doesn’t require too much attention, so they will ultimately lose focus.
These types of tasks are perfect for automation, as they will be done more quickly and without any errors.
High return on investment
While implementing automation to certain business processes may be costly at first, especially if you want to automate multiple processes, it will be a worthy investment. Business process automation can deliver up to 400% ROI, so don’t be discouraged by the initial costs. This is important, because you need to make sure your business is profitable to continue reducing your carbon footprint relative to your less eco-friendly peers.
Better customer service
One of the most frequent types of business processes that get automated is customer service tasks, which is very beneficial for any business. When a customer contacts your business, they need help right away and the answers you give them need to be precise.
If you can’t provide good customer service, your customers will probably switch to a competitor that can. Luckily, with automation, you can provide great service with automated systems such as chatbots that are able to address a customer’s inquiries immediately.
If your company has any type of dangerous task that can cause harm to employees, such as lifting heavy objects or using potentially harmful chemicals, automation is practically a necessity. Workplace injuries need to be avoided at all costs, and that can be achieved by automating these tasks.
When you assign tasks to employees manually or via email and telephone, it’s easy for a lot of information to get misunderstood or forgotten. However, when you automate communication, you can be sure that all team members are on the same page and information is kept up-to-date.
The pros of business automation mostly outweigh the cons, but it’s still important to be aware of both sides so you can make an informed decision about business process automation.
Below are listed the most frequent downsides that companies see from business process automation.
The biggest concern people have when it comes to business process automation is that they will lose their jobs. This is a valid concern, as 45% of current paid activities can be automated, especially if those activities include repetitive or system-based tasks.
However, while some jobs will become obsolete due to automation, new ones will be created. After all, people will always be required to create these processes and new job opportunities will appear.
Automation is hard to achieve
There’s no denying that automation is very helpful, but for you to be able to enjoy all of the benefits it offers, you first need to set up all of these automated processes. This can be a challenge for anyone who isn’t an expert or at least familiar with the basics of automation.
If you want to apply automation but don’t know how these processes work, you need to hire an IT consultant that will guide you through the automation of all your business processes.
It’s possible to do too much
Business process automation is a good thing that’s intended to help companies run many operations more smoothly and efficiently. However, it’s important to remember that automation isn’t a good solution for every business process and you shouldn’t go overboard with it.
Some companies choose to automate as many processes as possible at the same time, which is bad for multiple reasons. It can exhaust your resources and eliminate the possibility of high ROI, and it can also confuse your employees and leave many of them without jobs.
The best approach would be to start automation with small tasks and test it out for a certain period of time to make sure automation is a good fit for your company. If testing proves that it is, you can gradually start to implement more complex forms of automation.
Automation Can Be Ideal for Creating a Green Businesss
Automating business processes within your green business can have a lot of benefits and it can help you make your business more efficient and profitable than ever before. This is an important benefit, since green companies tend to be fighting an uphill battle. However, nothing is perfect. If you want to embrace automation, you need to be prepared for all of its cons.
Now that you know all of the good and bad sides you can expect to see from it, you’re ready to make your decision on whether your company is ready to embrace automation and its many possibilities.