Why automation is Crucial for SMEs?
Automation in SMEs
SME's today deal with many challenges in the distribution channel, including customers, suppliers, financial institutions, and organizations that are not part of the company. Maintaining a positive relationship between the stakeholders while managing the business efficiently when business processes must be done manually is difficult. In addition, the technologies and methods that were once used to help SMEs grow may not be able to keep up with the changing needs of a growing business in a digital world.
Employees can spend hours entering data manually, which means that they have to repeatedly enter large amounts of data. Automating the process allows employees to not only get rid of the mundane but also allows them to unleash their creativity and problem-solving skills, which can lead to increased value.
Automation Is Crucial For SMEs
SME can use digital automation to improve productivity and reduce time. Let's look at an investment company that has benefited from digital automation. The paper trail was causing employees to lose track of 70-80% of the manual processes. Due to the inability to track performance metrics, business processes could not be improved. The process was automated after thoroughly analyzing and implementing a custom-built BPM solution. This resulted in greater efficiency.
This tool saved relevant data that could be used to analyze a process and allowed for continuous improvement. As a result, the firm experienced a 20% rise in productivity and 12,000 man-hours of savings across all departments within a year. They also successfully served over 1,700 clients.
Innovations in Industrial Automation are the reason why large manufacturing organizations have experienced success. Large enterprises are exploring, experimenting, and implementing innovative automation solutions. On the other hand, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are struggling to keep up with industrial automation.
Large enterprises are leveraging automation to maintain their industry dominance, but SMEs lag behind in the automation race, negatively impacting their profitability and growth.
SME Automation faces many challenges.
Finance & Investment –Any automation – Hardware & Software — requires a large upfront investment. Due to increased competition and decreasing profit margins, SMEs find it challenging to go the automated route. In addition, obtaining finance from banks or other financial institutions is not easy. This can be time-consuming, cumbersome and expensive.
* Infrastructure-Automation can only be productive and profitable if the infrastructure is reliable. Therefore, a strong infrastructure is essential for automation. This includes a reliable power supply, access to skilled resources, and quick maintenance service providers. Imagine a situation where automation is impossible due to a lack of power supply, inability to access skilled resources, or other infrastructure issues in developing countries. This will adversely impact the productivity of SMEs.
Implementation Partners -SMEs looking to automate their business are having a hard time finding the right solution and the right partner who will help them. SMEs are not being addressed by the majority of solutions and service providers. Most of the solutions offered to SMEs are reduced versions of solutions that were provided to large businesses. These may not be suitable for SME processes and needs.
A way forward for SMEs to participate in Automation Race
Although SME automation is still in its infancy in India, SMEs are slowly but surely moving towards automation. However, SMEs still have a tough time competing with large enterprises and are lagging in the automation race. Large companies have the luxury of accessing the latest innovations, knowledge, infrastructure, and resources. SMEs face similar challenges to large companies, such as increasing quality standards, reducing costs, and improving delivery times. However, SMEs don't have the luxury of accessing solutions and deep pockets as large corporations.
SMEs must implement SME automation solutions in order to compete with large companies and remain competitive in the industrial automation market.
This is the top-level strategy/roadmap to optimize SME automation implementation.
* Business Process Analysis - Top management must clearly define the objectives and timelines for automating processes. This requires a Business Process Analysis (BPA), which involves all departments that will be affected by the new automation process.
A core group of internal experts must analyze the data from BPA and determine the best automation solutions. This will help to improve productivity and profitability.
After identifying the solutions, do a cost-benefit analysis and feasibility analysis. Next, identify capital expenditures and operating expenses and decide whether the solution is commercially viable. It is only possible to start an automation project if the top management agrees on the Return on Investments (RoI), as well as the achievement of the project objectives.
* Low-cost Automation - Procuring finance can be a significant challenge for small businesses. To overcome this problem, innovative Low cost automation (LCA) can be beneficial. One way to achieve low cost automation is to procure used Robots, automate only complex and critical processes, and focus on existing machines, tools and processes. Be innovative in order to reduce costs and increase automation.
* Implementation partner Choosing the right partner to implement your project is crucial. It would help if you focused on Total Cost of Ownership, or TCO, when choosing a knowledgeable, experienced, and innovative partner. In addition, implementation partners should have experience working with SME sectors and be able to provide cost-effective and efficient, innovative solutions.
Using the Right Tool
Companies should choose the right technology to meet their needs when switching from manual processes to automated ones. Robotic process automation (RPA) can streamline repetitive operations and tasks based on rules.
Software bots, also known as digital workers, work invisibly and perform tasks around the clock. The bots can collect data throughout the process and then be used to analyze the data for improvements in the workflow.
The Benefits of RPA
Although implementation of RPA was not a popular option in its early stages, it is now readily available to SMEs. RPA is ideal for small businesses because it is affordable. Microsoft has taken a low-cost RPA approach that makes it affordable. There is an initial cost for RPA, as with all technology. However, the benefits outweigh this initial cost.
After analyzing the existing processes thoroughly, business personnel can select an optimal workflow (rule-based or high-volume and repetitive task), and then automate that. As a result, SME can see a greater return on their investment by automating the right processes in just a few short months.
RPA is simple to implement. RPA integration is possible in SMEs without requiring new policies or web services. Automating workflows can be more accessible in SMEs than in large companies. Software bots prevent costly errors and reduce costs. They reduce operating costs and, depending on how the workflow is set up, can improve the customer experience.
Hyperautomation Infuse Your Life With Extraordinary Results
SME owners who are already using automation tools should focus on hyper automation. Hyperautomation is the combination of technologies such as RPA, intelligent management software (iBPMs), machine learning (ML), optical characters recognition (OCR), advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). This allows humans to increase their capabilities. Cogniwize is one of many IT companies that leverages the power and flexibility of this tech stack to enable their clients to achieve hyperautomation.
Hyperautomation is a mix of several technologies. It cuts through the limitations of a single technology like RPA or BPM and focuses on end-to-end automation at large scale. This toolkit allows for automation of repetitive tasks and advanced analytics. It reduces operational costs, automates processes, and results in greater capacity, precise insights, increased compliance, lower risks, increased productivity, and improved team collaboration.
SME owners must think beyond the minimum necessary to manage their business. SME must be prepared to adapt to the constantly changing digital landscape in this age of automation. SME's that are geared toward growth should not rely on outdated approaches to managing a company. They must embrace automation tools.
About the author
Cogniwize specializes in offering AI-driven services and solutions. These services include strategic digital assurance, software quality engineering, software testing, automation, and consulting.