Automated Processes

One of the most exciting areas of opportunity I can offer you is the automating of procedures traditionally performed by your employees. This benefits your business in so many ways, including:

  • Frees up your employees’ time to perform higher level tasks that cannot be automated
  • Performs more work with less employees
  • Reduces or eliminates errors
  • Makes absolutely certain that planned tasks will be performed
  • Improves communications
  • Makes management aware when things are wrong
  • Makes management aware of events when they happen, on a need-to-know basis
  • Improves relationships with customers, vendors, and prospects
  • Improves compliance and due diligence

The opportunities for setting up automated procedures are endless. It is a matter of deciding where you will derive the greatest benefit. Following are some examples of automated procedures I have developed that happen automatically, without user intervention:

  • Sales order confirmations — immediately send an email or fax to your customer disclosing the details of the sales order. This can be set up to be “pushed” out by clicking a button, or it can be set up for “the system” to send without your need to do anything. If there are others who need to know about the order as a cc or bcc, that can be part of the automated process.
  • Shipment confirmations — this is the same idea as order confirmations. In this case, the details of the shipment are included along with information on backorders, if appropriate, tracking number — anything you think your customer would like to know.
  • Purchase order confirmations — again, the same idea as order confirmations. In this case, the details of a purchase are included in an email or fax sent to your contact at the vendor, reducing any misunderstandings or errors regarding the purchase.
  • Exception reports — these are very powerful. Each day, or more frequently throughout the day, your database is scanned for problems, inconsistencies, “good things”, etc., and this information is reported to you and/or anyone else who needs to know. Taking this a step further, these exceptions can then trigger follow-up actions, scheduling, etc. that will result in future follow-ups to make sure problems are solved, action is taken, etc.
  • Due diligence — actions, rather than just reminders to take action, are automatically scheduled. For example, a law firm specializing in trusts and estates needed a foolproof way to meet the filing deadlines of state and federal estate tax filings. Too often, these deadlines were missed due to inadvertent human error. The remedy was to automatically send a 30 day and 15 day notice for each filing deadline to the paralegal, lead attorney, and administrative head. This eliminated the problem.
  • Extracting, integrating, and reporting Internet-based information — automatic triggering of emails and faxes when certain events take place on the Web has powerful implications for many companies. For example, a company dealing in commodity-based products, where prices for each commodity are changing daily, has a need to communicate these changes to customers as they occur. These prices are retrieved and then run through a procedure to construct pricing for all products used by each of the client’s customers and distributors.

Each customer communication has information tailored to them based on many variables such as the products they use, product components, type of markup formula used, provision for evaluating customer payment history and performance, etc. The procedure completes with emails and faxes sent to each customer scheduled to receive a price update that day. They receive this information within 5 or 10 minutes of the commodity exchange posting of new prices.

What processes can you think of that would be best to automate? What processes will I be able to recommend to you once I am involved? This is powerful stuff!