Being more efficient with automation and process improvement

Even the most successful organizations can hit points where they struggle to grow. This can be especially true for companies that have experienced rapid growth.

Joe Benigno, chief information officer for HORNE, said companies can be more efficient with automation, artificial intelligence and process improvement.

HORNE Accelerate case study – manufacturing automation

Growth can come with unanticipated setbacks. For example, for one of HORNE’s clients, recent years of rapid growth had made parts of their manufacturing process obsolete. Specifically, the client found pain points where production slowed. The company experienced these challenges after rapid growth.

HORNE first identified the affected processes and their timing.  They determined that the company needed better communication between workers in different parts of the manufacturing process.

HORNE’s experts created an automation solution that informed employees in each part of the manufacturing process about the progress of each component and how long it might take to finish. As a result, line workers could focus their efforts on the tasks they were able to accomplish while waiting to work on other parts. Therefore, the time they would have spent waiting was used productively.

Why Invest in Automation?

It’s no secret that the labor shortage has made it hard for organizations to find and retain skilled employees. As a result, workers demand top wages and turn down jobs requiring mundane and repetitive tasks.

Automation has the power to eliminate these tasks and free up your staff to focus on more complex and impactful business problems. This approach makes work life more engaging for employees and promotes growth without an increase in head count.

Often, organizations believe there is value in process automation but aren’t sure where to begin.  Benigno recommends tackling process automation in two broad phases:

Review your current operations. Use a business process analysis to:

    • Help you find roadblocks and pain points in processes that create inefficiency
    • Document all critical workflows and processes to prevent the dangerous knowledge drain caused by employee turnover

Identify an automation solution. After all processes and challenges are thoroughly documented, changes in technology and workflow can be made, focusing on delivering the most value to your organization.

Beyond Automation

Of course, automation isn’t the only way organizations can improve their processes both for employees and clients.

For internal process improvement, it’s best to focus on stakeholder management, which includes documenting the needs of leadership and staff. Then, to balance things out, an organization should examine the needs of its clients.

Harnessing artificial intelligence

Given today’s data volumes and the exponential rate at which it grows, fundamental operations like accounts payable have become time-consuming. The challenge is that every vendor structures invoices differently, creating thousands of possible ways to show the same data. As a result, human intervention is needed to manually convert the data to a workable form.

To conquer this complex challenge, HORNE Accelerate developed an AI-based solution to look at invoices and match the data to internal AP systems. Based on its accumulated knowledge of thousands of scanned invoices, it knows how to find the relevant information on a vendor’s invoice and can do so faster than a human. This improvement streamlines the entire process and enables internal staff to focus on higher-value business problems.

HORNE Accelerate leverages technology, people, processes, and experiences to power your company to grow. They’ll help you assess current practices and lead you to automation solutions that allow you to best leverage your most valuable asset: people. Talk to a HORNE expert today to learn more about how to begin your company’s acceleration to growth.

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