Automation is the process of getting a machine to operate (intelligently) on its own, with little to no human involvement, while the software is a computer or mobile system that performs certain tasks— meaning that software is a form of automation. When it comes to running a business, there are very tasks that have to be done daily, both big and small, and many business owners may feel as if they don’t have enough time in the day to complete these tasks. This is where software comes in: to automate basic business operations so that you (or your employees) don’t have to do them by hand. Here are four business operations that can be automated with the help of software.
#1: Demand Planning and Inventory Management
One of the most basic business operations is the inventory you sell to your customers (or the services you provide to your clients). Without your inventory, you can provide for your customers— and without proper inventory management, your business could be in a lot of trouble. Fortunately, there’s a software solution that can automate inventory management so that you don’t have to do this by hand. Manual inventory tracking can lead to more mistakes, but automating this function increases accuracy.
A demand planning feature is also helpful because it helps you prepare for the demand for your products— as the name suggests. It analyzes past data from previous years/months/etc. and uses that to plan for future demand and supply. Based on the data, your software can prepare and execute purchase orders for you.
#2: Manufacturing and Warehouse Management
Some companies make/assemble their products as well as sell them, and if that describes your company you’ll need a manufacturing software solution. This will help you with production planning, and if used in conjunction with demand planning will make your business more efficient. You’ll also have more visibility into all steps of your production process.
Companies that make their products also likely own their own warehouse, and warehouse management becomes just as important— even if you own your facility, but don’t make your products. A warehouse management system works perfectly with an inventory management system, helping to streamline your day-to-day warehouse operations while keeping your inventory updated. A software solution such as this is also available on mobile devices, meaning that everyone will be able to access the same information and work more efficiently.
#3: Order Management
If your customers can order online, then you’ll need a software solution to manage this operation. Manually completing customer orders takes up a lot of time, plus you’re more prone to making an error— which leads to unhappy customers. Automating the entire order life cycle from placement to delivery (and even returns) decreases the chances of making a mistake. An order management solution as a part of your software makes fulfilling orders more efficient and accurate, leading to more satisfied customers.
If you’ve been considering offering shipping services to your customers, this could be the boost you need to help get you started. Software service providers such as NetSuite offer order management solutions, plus eCommerce solutions to help get your online business storefront up and running. GSI is a NetSuite partner that you can trust to deliver these solutions for you.
If you don’t make your products but obtain them from another source, then you’ll benefit from having a procurement function for your software. Automating your procure-to-pay process will save you both time and money by helping find your goods at the best price. It will keep a list of approved vendors and other records (e.g., receipts and other billing documents) in one place, making this a simpler process. Procurement is naturally a complex process, involving several areas of your business, and automating it with software frees up more of your time without compromising accuracy.
The good thing about software solutions for your business is that it doesn’t stop at your basic business operations. Many business owners also use software to automate the financial aspects of their business, as well as other repetitive tasks (e.g., marketing). The main goal of business software is to accurately automate the core tasks that also take up the majority of your time to give you more time to focus on running your business. So in addition to looking for a software service that automates daily business operations, look to see if they also offer automation for other business tasks you do daily.