Business Banking

Automation Beyond the Shop Floor

In 1954, American inventor George Devol patented the Unimate, the world’s first industrial robot. In 1962, a later version, the Unimation 001, was implemented in a GM factory. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, the flailing mechanical arms of spot welders on automobile assembly lines are ubiquitous, and, for many of us, have become the archetype of automation in business.

But with digitization on the rise in the modern enterprise, automation has moved beyond the shop floor to the office. Increasingly, companies are embracing Business Process Automation, the use of software to automate repeatable, multi-step, everyday tasks to improve efficiency, productivity, and ultimately profitability in a period of endemic labor shortages.

Business Process Automation can be applied across a wide range of common business functions, from accounting to marketing to customer service, and affordable BPA solutions are available for companies both large and small.

For companies interested in automating their business processes, we offer the following steps to get started:

  • First, identify functional areas in your business that may have processes that can benefit from increased efficiencies. Common areas include accounts payable, customer service, inventory management, and marketing.
  • Next, find the tasks within each functional area that are repetitive or recurring and, among these, determine which are the most time-consuming or complicated. These are the most easily automated and offer the highest potential ROI.
  • Then, prioritize your list of tasks to choose which to automate and in what order. It may be helpful to create a ratings system or scorecard to evaluate the relative impact that automation in specific areas will have on customers, employees, and the business as a whole.
  • Finally, choose your automation tools. There is a rapidly growing list of workflow and BPA software solutions available to businesses. There are also solutions that work with or tie together the functionality of applications in your current tech stack that may offer an easier and quicker entry into automation.

For many companies, automation is becoming a competitive necessity, even beyond the manufacturing process. If building automation into your business is a priority, at Washington Trust, we are here to help.

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For more information or to speak with one of our trusted advisors about your unique financial needs, contact us at 800-465-2265 or submit an online form.

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