7 Ways to Measure the Success of a Process Automation Project

By Toni Buffa | Published January 25, 2023

TL;DR

too long; didn't read

Process automation can offer many benefits, including cost savings, error reduction, improved accuracy, increased productivity, quality, customer satisfaction, and data visibility. Measuring the success of an automation project can help you determine whether it is working as expected and make necessary adjustments.


Process automation is becoming increasingly common in businesses of all sizes across all industries. Automation can help streamline processes and make them more efficient, but how can you measure the success of your automation efforts? Here are seven ways to measure the success of a process automation project.

Error Reduction

There is no question that workflow automation improves more than overall process efficiency. In many situations, it also reduces costly errors. For example, in Finance, journal entries are an essential element of a company's accounting process. But with manual journal entries, there are opportunities for errors at every step, from credit and debit entries to missing information to tax mistakes.

An automated journal entry process solves these problems. Entries must meet specific validations, missing information is flagged, tax tables can be updated, and required approvals are streamlined, reducing errors and drastically increasing efficiency. 

To measure success, start performing a retrospective analysis of any recent errors and their costs to the organization before implementing automation and then after.

Improved Quality

Automation can also improve the quality of a process. Automated processes can be more consistent and accurate than manual processes, resulting in fewer quality control issues.

Administrators can build in sequential or parallel checkpoints, so that process outcomes can be consistent, standardized, and tracked throughout to ensure procedures are followed. In addition, tasks like reviews and approvals are consistently assigned to the correct people or groups, including escalations or exceptions.

Think about a food production facility that automates label production. Labels need to follow the same template for nutritional information, no elements can be left out, and all information has to be reviewed by the lab before passing to the next step. By automating this step, there is a much lower chance of printing invalid data on labels and recalling either the labels (bad) or the product (much worse).

Plus, thanks to the transparent nature of workflow systems, management never has to go fishing for where things went wrong because activity and user information is available to them in real-time with robust drill-down capability. This reduces time spent investigating quality issues. CAPA (Corrective Action Preventive Action) processes can be built into the process.

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Increased Productivity

Most employees are not hoping to spend time on rote, tedious tasks every day. Each automated process boosts employee morale and permits them more time to focus on the real value-added work of your business. They can accomplish more with less effort and less support. You can build exception handling into your workflows so that there are fewer email discussions and lengthy deliberations about how to address them.

One example is an HR process like onboarding new employees. For high-volume hiring companies, onboarding employees manually can become a tedious tangle of checking in with the employee, department heads, IT, and other HR groups, like Training, to ensure the new employee is getting everything they need to start becoming productive. Automating the onboarding process to notify, remind, and confirm each step with each department involved significantly reduces the HR agent's burden and frees them to handle more high-level HR work.

After implementing workflow automation, you can measure many aspects of the employee's day-to-day tasks to see how much more productive they are.

Improved Employee Satisfaction

Following the previous item, employees feel more satisfied with their jobs when they have the right tools to operate efficiently. It gives them more time to spend on more fulfilling work that maps to their career goals. 

People often mistake the role of automation as a way of replacing human workers. A more accurate way to describe automation is streamlining manual workloads to help free employees up to focus on more valuable work to achieve overall process efficiency and work satisfaction.

Do IT analysts want to spend much time dealing with the back-and-forth of requesting and approving system access or solving real technology problems that will help the business move the needle? Automating the access request process frees them up to use their skills in creative and profitable ways.

As discussed in the previous section, a key benefit for many businesses is automation's positive effect on employee satisfaction and retention. The best way to get facts on how employee satisfaction affects ROI is to think through the expense of recruiting and hiring replacements for employees who resign because of frustration with inefficiency.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Another benefit is that automation can also help improve customer satisfaction. Automated processes can be faster and more efficient, resulting in shorter response times and better customer service.

One good example is the Customer Complaint process. How efficient is your complaint handling process when an employee or customer complaint or negative feedback is received or an error is discovered? Automating the intake, routing, assignment, and tracking of complaint-generated activities can significantly improve customer satisfaction, product quality, and internal/external compliance requirements.

You can measure success by surveying customers and employees following a complaint incident. This can help you provide valuable insights into their thoughts and feelings on how the process automation project has impacted their workflows. This can help you understand the real-world effects of your implemented changes.

Cost Reduction

Finally, one of the main benefits of automation is that it can reduce costs. Automating processes can reduce manual work overhead costs, improve cash flow with faster turnaround times, avoid costly compliance fees and legal/regulatory fines, and reduce customer churn. You may also save on consumables like paper after automation. So as a bonus, workflow automation can help you operate as a paperless company.

Each of these areas should be measured separately to gauge the impact before and after automation has been implemented. For more on how to do this, see the resources below.


Estimate the potential savings with automated workflow

Integrify's workflow automation software has been shown to reduce direct costs by more than 30%, cut request and approval cycle times in half, and deliver positive ROI in less than three months. Use our workflow automation ROI calculator and free eBooks "The Workflow ROI Guide" and "Making the Business Case for Workflow Automation."

Interested in Automating Your Workflow?

We have a library of resources to help you navigate your way to an automated workflow. 

 

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Categories
Customer Corner   Project Management  

Toni Buffa

Toni is a member of the Integrify marketing team and writes for the Integrify blog. Toni lives in Colorado and loves animals of all stripes.

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