Can SMEs and Entrepreneurs Really Automate all Their Processes?By Héctor García | Wed, 07/20/2022 - 17:00
Historically, many human beings have used a lot of tools to perform several physical and mental tasks, not only for domestic or personal purposes but also to achieve the objective of mechanically generating some products or activities that benefit them individually or collectively (we have to remember that we are social entities). In fact, executing or developing any action faster than another person or machine is a premise for the serial generation of tangible or even intangible assets.
With the improvement of this type of mechanization, or automation, came industrial inventions that revolutionized commerce, the way of life of many civilizations and, above all, the way of doing business in small and large corporations. But, as is obvious, the appearance of new technologies created a new need to speed up data incorporation, information analysis, the management and distribution of every single insight and the correct way to use all of the facts in favor of whoever was related with the industry, business or strategy.
Thus, with the frequent use of digital resources, a universe of probabilities was generated to obtain more and more benefits from data processing, its interpretation and finally use by corporations, industries and companies of any kind.
Today, all companies of several sizes and industries, including small and medium-sized businesses, can not only automate their procedures but also live with a growing need to do so. That is why the automation of processes at present, which consists of the use of specialized technology or digital solutions on the ERP cloud, with which repetitive and frequent tasks are carried out autonomously, is not only available to big corporations that want to reduce the manual effort of their employees and increase productivity.
It is absolutely necessary to mention that all companies can direct their energies toward these new tools in the cloud, which today are available to all those enterprises that require tools to minimize operational times and execution costs; increase operational efficiency of personnel in all areas; optimize the daily work of their teams; as well as reducing the margins of error among its associates, suppliers and even decision-makers as much as possible.
Without this ERP technology in the cloud, companies would necessarily have to add more and more collaborators to their staff each time there is internal growth because of the inherent business demand, and even more so, considering that SMEs are currently growing at rates that large firms are not fully aware of. In fact, their size and the dynamism to which they are subject mean they require cloud solutions with scalability and total adaptation to the growth they experience every day.
Affirmation of the above is the data from the Mexican Chamber of the Construction Industry, which highlights that the pandemic caused a 50 percent growth in the digital operations of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Mexico. According to the organization, this is a clear example of the adaptability of these firms to complex situations and challenging environments.
Having said that, I trust that SMEs can automate a number of their operations in the different areas or departments in which they work to produce a better workflow. For example, they can integrate all orders and manage information using business software to automate the analysis of data in this area and obtain reports that become valuable for the correct identification of capital leaks, business strengths and hence its growth.
These situations are essential to support the evident fast growth that small and medium-sized companies are demonstrating nowadays, since they can speed up their operations, spend less time on tasks that would take much more time when done manually and generate considerable savings that benefit everyone in the company. Even with this optimization of time, it will be more achievable for them to develop business strategies related to the needs of the market and with which they will become key players in their industry, demonstrating increasing competitiveness or even differentiating factors that will force their competitors to take note.
Business management solutions in the cloud (ERP) and automation based on best practices also help SMEs to have a better local and global adaptation to the market, since it allows them to modernize their financial processes and accelerate administrative operations, which generates important economic benefits. Proof of this are the figures published by the specialized firm UiPath, which indicates that companies that perform tasks manually with the potential to be automated lose up to US$2.2 million annually.
In addition to automating these, and other, tasks, companies (SMEs or not) can increase the daily level of visibility they have on the flow of the company, and in real time. That is why having metrics and control tables based on automatically updated data allows companies to carry out accurate account closings and to be up to 90 percent faster in their preparation.
Finally, for all business activities, it is imperative to stay at the vanguard of those digital resources that provide better and higher performance to their employees and clients, not only in favor of staff but also suppliers. The objective is to have more visibility of the results, control, projections and — essential for any administration — the prevention of probable eventualities that at first look are susceptible to human mistakes
In conclusion, we are in a world in which the development and adoption of new technologies is ever faster, which is why it is necessary to implement these in all the activities, tools or procedures in order to keep up with supply and demand. I believe that it is time for local SMEs and startups, which today generate around 72 percent of national employment and generate 52 percent of GDP, according to INEGI, to look toward digital solutions that allow them to prepare their business for the future. Controlling procedures and improving daily activities with scalable and automatic systems will always represent a huge advantage in the push to be competitive and successful.