When someone says automation, they tend to think of welding robots on the car assembly line or pick and place robots on high-tech assembly lines. However, increasing levels of artificial intelligence have allowed for business process automation or BPA. Let’s learn how to automate your business with helpful tools.

Business Process Workflows

Business process management uses electronic workflows to push data between systems. It may generate tasks in other systems or automatically send a report to someone based on a pre-existing command. Workflows may be built into a given tool. For example, it may send any purchase order over a given amount to management for approach and then push the PO to purchasing when it is approved. You can also automatically assign appointments and tasks to employees in the field when a customer books an appointment.

Accounts Payable Automation

Accounts payable automation can significantly improve revenue, reduce costs and improve your team’s efficiency. It can be used to automate vendor payments so that payments are never late. This in turn can improve your relationship with vendors.  It can consolidate invoices and notify staff when customer payments are late. You eliminate unorganized payment lists and get greater insight into where the money is going. You avoid duplicate payments and late fees. You have invoice control, too. You can verify that invoices are correct and submit anything flagged as suspicious for review. Automating your AP in a consolidated system reduces the possibility for errors. This is especially true if the AP automation is integrated into your ERP system.

Sales Automation

Sales automation is geared toward improving the efficiency of your sales team. It generally gives sales reps all of the information about a customer before they meet with them. It allows sales personnel to add information to the customer’s profile that feeds back into the customer relationship management system. It may assign a score to prospects so that sales staff knows where to spend their limited time. It allows management to identify their most productive sales staff and who has a relatively closing rate. Managers can often reassign work between team members so that no one is idle.

Customer Relationship Management Systems

Customer relationship management systems capture all of the data related to a customer. You can use it to automatically send marketing emails to someone based on their interests. You can track the success rate of a given campaign based on customer demographics. CRM tools allow you to put all of your customer data in one place. For example, every helpdesk ticket and customer service call is logged in the database. If the person calls in, they aren’t pushed to buy the product they just received and are having trouble with.

Product Data Management

Product data management tools are invaluable tools for engineering, the shop floor and technical support. PDM tools capture all of the drawings and 3D models associated with your products. If someone pulls it up, they’re always working off the latest version. Building instructions and parts lists are associated with the part number. Sales can use the PDM system to give potential customers all of the specification information they want, assuming there are no intellectual property concerns.