Posts

4 ways Australian businesses are leveraging process automation for competitive advantage

In competitive industries such as manufacturing, distribution, or wholesale businesses, continuing to rely on how things have always been done can be the fastest way to being left behind. This is why many Australian businesses are leveraging process automation.

While operational change can be daunting – it can often involve a significant investment of time and finances – the benefit of updating your processes and leveraging the right technology, greatly outweigh such costs.

While working with many Australian businesses to help them take some innovative steps towards leveraging process automation, I’ve observed some impressive examples of how they are using technology for a competitive advantage by:

  • Increasing staff productivity;
  • Streamlining their reporting;
  • Better managing suppliers; and
  • Improving customer satisfaction.

I’ve compiled a few of them here, so you can find out how to spend less time on manual and administrative tasks, more time on income-generating activities, and also become more effective at driving revenue for your business.


If you’re looking for new ways to be leveraging process automation, why not join the Automate Your Business Workshop in your state. Registration is free – and in two hours we’ll cover how to:

  • Identify the key areas of your business that will most benefit from automation
  • Minimise lost sales and unnecessary costs by eliminating a few manual processes
  • Automate marketing and communications while retaining a personal touch; and
  • Improve your strategic decision making through increased visibility and accountability in your business.

Register in your state now:

  1. Brisbane – 26th July, 3PM to 5PM
  2. Melbourne – 27th July, 3PM to 5PM
  3. Sydney – 28th July, 3PM to 5PM
  4. Perth – 11th August, 3PM to 5PM

Register Now


Here are 4 clever ways businesses are leveraging process automation to their advantage:

  1. Use systems that integrate rather than isolate

While I’ve just talked about how technology is the best way to improve efficiency in your business, it’s important to remember that the wrong technology can also be your downfall.

While it may be necessary to have a variety of different systems providing point solutions, having multiple systems working in isolation can create a range of inefficiencies, such as having to:

  • Import and exporting data between systems;
  • Enter the same data multiple times;
  • Deal with errors and inconsistencies; and
  • Make decisions without whole-picture visibility of your businesses.

Businesses that use software that integrates all aspects of the business (accounting, inventory management, customer service, eMarketing, etc.) can easily identify, and eliminate instances in which staff duplicate their efforts, make errors, or repeat data entry. It also provides staff the opportunity to use a single sign on. So you can minimise time wasted on these mundane and easily automated tasks.

Ask your software vendors if they can offer you the ability to automate the integration of your key business systems. While this is not the ideal solution – managing multiple integrations between solutions can become quite tedious as a business grows – it can make a real difference in the short term.

If your software vendors can’t deliver such integration, or you want to get it right from the word go, ensure that any business management system you implement provides a single platform for all your key functions to achieve optimum efficiency, visibility, and control.

  1. Outsource your reporting – to your software!

Monitoring your KPIs through robust reporting is a great way to ensure your business stays on the right. But to do this, you often need to dedicate significant resources towards data compilation and analytics.

However, savvier businesses know that this doesn’t always have to be the case. You no longer require a full-time staffer to crunch the numbers, conduct analyses, and keep you on track. You can make your business management software do it for you!

By making full use of their reporting tools, leading businesses generate reports to ensure their financials are on track, to hold sales staff accountable for their targets, and to generate pipeline analytics. So not only do they track how they’ve done in the past, they also use data to plan intelligently for the future.

If you already have a business management system, make sure you’re fully utilising your range of reporting tools. If not, make sure that a strong reporting and analysis capability is part of what you demand in your next business management software investment.

  1. Proactively encourage better service from your suppliers

In industries such as your own, it’s quite common to deal with numerous suppliers every day. And I’m sure you’ll agree it can be quite laborious to chase them up every time you’re out of stock, or they’re overdue on their deliveries.

Best-of-breed businesses have found ways to simplify this altogether. Here are a couple of examples of how businesses have leveraged their software to manage their suppliers more proactively:

  • Whenever they are out of stock, the system will automatically trigger an email to the supplier, and can even send reminders if the shipment if not received by a certain date.
  • Another solution is to set up a DIFOT (Delivery-In-Full-On-Time) report that ranks suppliers according to their performance. The right system should not only automate the generation of the report for you, but can also send a notification to your suppliers to keep them motivated to deliver the best service to you.

These are a few examples of set-it-and-forget-it tasks that can encourage improvements in the level of service you get from your suppliers, while also saving time for your staff. And of course, while this particular example relates to supplier relationships, this is far from the only application for such automation.

  1. Keep your customers engaged with regular communication at minimal effort

Businesses frequently rely solely on staff to action follow-up tasks and respond to customer enquiries, but on occasion, a task will fall through the cracks, an opportunity will be missed, and your customer service record may be compromised as a result. In a situation where you depend heavily on referrals and return business, this can be a serious problem.

This is where I’ve seen businesses that use their CRMs (Customer Relationship Management systems) intelligently achieve significant advantage in customer satisfaction. Some examples of what they do:

  • Automatic follow-ups to quotes;
  • Targeted emails to touch base with existing customers every few months; and
  • Prompt repeat business by triggering personalised follow-up emails to customers who have deviated from their usual buying habits.

By using a CRM to automate these tasks, you could be saving time and effort for your staff, while also continuing to maintain meaningful relationships with your customers and driving increased sales!

As strong advocates for automation, we’ve helped businesses leverage technology to increase their efficiency and profitability with our HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software.

HARMONiQ is a unique platform that gives you:

  • Integration between various aspects of your business by incorporating accounting, inventory management, sales orders and customer relationship management modules into one easy-to-use solution;
  • The ability to track key performance metrics, as well as pipeline analytics, allowing you to forecast your outcomes and make more informed decisions;
  • Visibility over inventory and supplier performance, and allows you to automate tasks such as generating alerts for out-of-stock items or late deliveries; and
  • Automation of simple selling and sales support tasks, such as sending follow up emails for quotes, or setting reminders for follow up calls.

These are just a few of the ways HARMONiQ can help you optimise your business processes. As a truly customisable and scalable software, you can leverage HARMONiQ to drive significant efficiencies, while also ensuring that the software will continue to grow alongside your business.

If you would like to discuss how you can start leveraging process automation and other great technology to achieve significant efficiency improvements in your business, please call me on 02 9542 2000.

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems, and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business, or click here to get in touch.

Business process automation: How to get the most out of your staff

Some business owners seem to regard business process automation with suspicion – they don’t want to see their companies taken over by bots…

1

But in reality, without the ‘bots’ many of the world’s biggest, most profitable companies would never have got where they are today.

When business process automation is well-planned and implemented, results show that it vastly improves productivity, makes staff happier – and brings down your costs.

2

I’ve seen some great examples of business process automation done right in Australia and NZ, and I want to share them here.

Here are 2 important ways business process automation can help you get the most out of your staff.

  1. Use business process automation as a tool to empower staff

Smart automation isn’t about replacing staff in your business – it’s about freeing up their time by eliminating manual, repeatable tasks. By taking these mundane activities out your staff’s day, they can concentrate on tasks that require their personal expertise, face-to-face interactions, or innovative thinking. These are the things that automation just can’t do, but can really make a difference to the revenue generated for your business.

3

So how do you do it? Firstly, look for business management software that brings all aspects of the business into one system, because it instantly makes staff more efficient – they only have to enter data once, and then it’s replicated across the business.This also works wonders for minimising human error and duplicate data.

Sophisticated workflow functionality in your business management system will also allow you to automate simple tasks like sending quote follow ups on behalf of your sales team. While this is a relatively simple workflow, it’s a crucial step in ensuing that no opportunities fall through the cracks.

HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software is an all-in-one system that allows you to automate processes around accounting, inventory, sales, marketing and reporting. It has both simple and complex workflow functionality to help you get the most out of business process automation.

  1. Replicate best practices across the business

Business process automation doesn’t have to be limited to technical, mechanical tasks. You can even automate customer service or sales procedures.

Many companies invest quite heavily in building great customer service processes for their business according to best practice, but then struggle to achieve consistency across multiple offices, teams or staff members.

To overcome this, you can actually build these best practice processes directly into your business management system – so that your staff know what steps to take in any scenario, eliminating poor decision-making due to insufficient training, or rash actions made in the moment.

HARMONiQ allows you to do this for almost any scenario. One example could be when a customer lodges a complaint. You can set up a process that would immediately alert the key account owner and the director of the company. This will then trigger a task for the director to get in touch personally to sort out the issue. The process can even be automated to send the customer a discount or voucher for their next order – whatever the best next step is!

So to summarise:

  • Ensure you automate with the mindset to empower your staff, not replace them. Eliminate the manual, tedious tasks to let them dedicate more time for revenue-generating activities.
  • Leverage automation on important, but manual tasks to ensure they’re done right every time. The ‘bots’ can help keep your business on track.
  • Use pre-built workflows to ensure your staff replicate best practices in everything they do and uphold your business values in every interaction.

And finally, don’t be the last to automate. Businesses, both big and small, are embracing process automation and seeing the benefits. Don’t let your competitors leave you behind.

HARMONiQ is a powerful platform for your business, allowing you to:

  • Empower your staff with staff with one source of truth for all data, and great tools for automating follow-up tasks and increasing efficiency.
  • Easily segment and assign contacts and accounts, including visibility of all communication and activities against any client record.
  • Build both complex and simple workflows directly into your platform, making all best practice processes accessible and repeatable across the whole team.

If you’d like to find out how Australian and NZ businesses are using HARMONiQ CRM to achieve process automation – let me know. I’ll organise a quick demo to show you some of the great things HARMONiQ can do for your business.

4

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.