4 Steps To Achieving Automation At Scale

All businesses want to deliver products and services to market faster, provide better customer experiences and achieve memorable business results. Unfortunately, most traditional organisations find themselves stymied by siloed processes that prevent resources and information from being shared among departments and teams. Documents get lost, handwritten notes are misread and paperwork is incomplete, among other issues. Results include reputational damage, heightened compliance risks, and reduced productivity.

In the last few years, we witnessed a revolution with automation, where technology, rather than humans, monitors and controls the production and delivery of your products and services. Business processes advance smoothly through its different channels resulting in a 360-degree customer journey.  With HR, for example, businesses use automation to quickly move through the ongoing process of recruiting, onboarding, offboarding, hiring and benefits. When it comes to compliance, data automation helps you manually track every consumer, their interaction with your company, and how long their data has been on file. Likewise, automation helps you manage your resources, standardise your processes, and make them more efficient.

In practice, automating your business operations means integrating modern technology. And that’s a step that many CEOs fear. It’s not only the perceived expense but also the digital disruption and the time it takes to onboard and integrate the new systems.

There are four ways in which organisations can successfully slide into deploying automation at scale:

1. Align departments

When Monash University, Australia, introduced its automation platform in 2016, it assembled a multidisciplinary team with so-called business process owners that were responsible for reviewing policies and procedures within their particular module, while they collaborated with IT for feedback. Transformations are risky. And digital transformations are even more so. Make sure that your exec and IT teams collaborate for a holistic view. Encourage leaders to send out surveys and gather feedback from their teams. 

Research shows that one of the main reasons why digital transformation initiatives fail is lack of alignment between team and departments. Structure regular meetings where frontline workers across divisions open and share ideas on your company’s digital progress. Each has their important role. IT advises which systems to invest in, and how to safely integrate, implement and maintain them, among other items. Business leaders strategize and supervise the key stages, resources, and tasks for effective digital transformation. Collaboration makes for an easier, smoother and more enjoyable process. It certainly acceletes it too, saving you expense and business disruption and helping you get to market faster.

Some helpful tools for effective collaboration include the Kanban framework to help team members visualise projects and focus on their workflow. The Kaizen methodology works as a framework for continuous improvement.

2. Get executive buy-in

If you win permission from the Big Boss, the rest of the organisation are more likely to sit up and take notice. Leaders are concerned – and rightfully so – about the significant investment of money, time, and effort.

How can you overcome those concerns?

By showing your company’s decision makers that investing in an automation strategy will pay dividends that ultimately exceed the original cost. Automated operations yield an even greater return in the form of customer loyalty, efficiency, and speed. With all of these things, your business will be even more profitable and successful. When making the pitch, solicit feedback from your colleagues (that’s where collaboration comes in helpful). Also start small, using the Agile methodology to demonstrate results.

FYI: AUTTO’s no-code platform drastically drives down cost by eliminating all of the initial and ongoing maintenance costs of high-code environments. AUTTO’s solution requires far less in-house developer expertise to operate and maintain. By using AUTTO, you can accelerate your digital transformation, investing in systems, resources, and tools that add value.

3. Educate employees

It took oil giant Shell the four years of COVID-19 to teach its workforce the necessary digital tools the business needed to stay ahead of the industry curve. Shortly after the pandemic, Shell segued into a full fledged digital transformation that included AI, machine learning, and other digital tools.

Shell understood that the need for new technology must be understood by and accepted across the workforce. They had dedicated themselves to educating their staff on what was involved and alleviating their concerns.

For staff, automation initiatives of any considerable effort can be bewildering. All business processes that they’re used to – excel sheets, hard paper copies of records, mailing, faxing, xeroxes, and in-person meetings – are replaced by tech-heavy computers. Since the industrial age, machines tend to discomfit most of us. For that reason, empathetic leaders also use change management models like Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model or the Change Curve to help stakeholders understand and accept system changes. 

4. Demonstrate results

Use the Agile methodology of short iterative cycles to sprint through work and demonstrate how automation motivates workers, pleases clients – in short works far more smoothly and effectively than traditional systems. 

Small wonder then that at least 95% of organisations practice Agile development methods according to the most recent 15th Annual State Of Agile Report. Indeed, researchers find that businesses that adopt the agile methodology experience 98% rate of success and 60% more profit than companies that lean towards the traditional approach. In short, the Agile framework is the best system for successful automation at scale, since it allows you to radically change your business model and capabilities in measured steps, over time, and as resources allow.

Agile also helps accelerate your automation initiatives by its focus on inter- and intra-team collaboration; trust and accountability between employees and team members; window-boxed sprints to hedge risk; a customer-centric approach; and commitment to continuous improvement.

FYI: AUTTO’s no-code digital solution helps you demonstrate results faster by making it 15% more likely for you to deliver mobile applications in four months or less compared to coding that takes six to 18 months to complete. Read how FINTRAIL used AUTTO to cut 160 hours of administrative work.

Conclusion

Creating a workplace that delivers products and services to market faster, provides better customer experiences and achieves memorable business results is the fondest hope of most typical businesses. Automation is the catalyst that enables this to happen. The benefits of automation are simple: They include higher productivity, reliability, availability, increased performance, and reduced operating costs.

The question is: how can you make sure your initiatives succeed?

Catalyse your program with the small things: align frontline workers; educate employees; solicit executive buy-in; use Agile to demonstrate results. 

If you’d like to find out more about how to prepare your organisation for an automation project, and want to know how to save time and money with our easy-to-use, no-code automation solution,  contact us or book a demo with an AUTTO consultant today.

How Automation Can Transform Your Law Firm

Lawyers have enough legal work on their hands without needing to juggle the business side of their practices too. Yet, for too many of us, 23% of our work involves mundane tasks like creating contracts, producing monthly newsletters and drafting, adjusting and approving notes for billing.

New lawyers tend to ask themselves questions that include the following: How can we handle 200 or more clients calling us per week? How can we reduce the length and cost of judicial proceedings? How do we simplify billing? How could we get to the next level? 

Automation’s the answer. Here are three ways automation can transform your law firm. 

1. Onboarding and Legal Communications

New staff have to be led through an extensive onboarding program where you produce, check and process intake forms, welcome emails, consultation notes, contracts/ NDAs, case sheets, case templates, draft documents and signed packages, among other forms. Lawyers told us that onboarding new employees typically takes at least three months.

Automation can slice that time to 99% by automating tedious manual workflows and scaling their operations.

Tasks you can automate include:

  • Template intake, where you simplify your intake process with a legal client intake form template to save time and standardise your onboarding process
  • Partnership agreements
  • Shareholder agreements
  • Contract signing system that’s where you upload a generic contract, have the client’s name automatically inserted, and the client can sign with encrypted electronic signatures
  • Non-disclosure agreements

Check out how AUTTO helps you accelerate these contracting processes through its simple no-code solution.

2. Legal Operations 

Legal automation helps you boost your productivity and get the most ROI from resources like law firm partners and in-house general counsel, by relegating them to high-value work. (Automation does everything else). No-code automation builders like AUTTO, help legal teams and law firms stitch together manual processes to make common workflows scalable. Examples include processing legal intake, prioritising legal cases, and assigning the right cases to the right people at the right time.

Most law firms are represented by legal innovation teams at industry events and have early adopters that buy their products. But actually achieving adoption at scale within a hierarchical environment like a law firm is a different story.

It’s also been notoriously difficult for in-house GCs to persuade decision-makers to invest in automation, although more recently that’s changed, where high-growth tech companies have come to appreciate that these legal teams use automation to patch up inefficiencies and maximise company productivity – and that investing in legal automation is just as profitable as investing in product marketing and sales.

No-code solutions like AUTTO’s automation platform makes it even easier for GCs to persuade their decision-makers to adopt automation since it cuts the cost of digital transformation by 99%. There’s no need to hire IT experts or invest in ongoing IT maintenance, among other costs. The headache at the thought of investing significant money, time and effort disappears. The timeline is hacked from four to six weeks to mere hours. You don’t need to learn to code. All you have to do is connect to a modern browser and your legal team could automate their work processes and forms on the same day.

Check out how AUTTO helped UK law firm Burges Salmon develop their own automated NDA within a few hours and at a minimal cost. No code was involved.

3. Legal Billing

Lawyers can lose as much as 50% of their revenue because of billing mistakes. With automated billing, you can reduce write-downs and write-offs through task-based automation.  For example, you can insert parameters into certain petitions or cases, specifying conditions like cost or time. 

Automated billing eliminates errors. Using systems such as AUTTO for billing not only standardises your invoices but also prompts clients to pay you faster.

Automated billing also provides the transparency that’s critical for auditing and conflict prevention. You can automate this billing to integrate with Quickbooks and your lead tracking system to improve collections.

Also, Law firms can set up prescheduled payment reminders to notify clients with overdue accounts. Automated UTBMS/LEDES coding that organises and standardises legal work. These make it easy to capture and communicate meaningful billing data, leading to a higher rate of claims acceptance and less time spent on correcting and resending invoices. Unfortunately, legal staff have to manually search for and insert the correct code for each entry, resulting in a process that’s tedious, drawn-out and prone to human error. Automation automatically assigns the correct codes.

Check out this case study about how AUTTO is used for automating invoices.

Save Time, Money, and Aggravation By Automating Legal Processes

AUTTO is an automation platform for law firms, legal departments and GCs, helping you automate everything from file sharing to signing documents. Its no-code tool helps you build automated workflows for routine tasks and build conditions in data and documents. No coding skills are needed. The tool plugs into your system and doesn’t need IT maintenance. All you need is a browser and you’re good to go. 

Fancy trying it out for free? Sign up to our 14-day FREE trial here

How does AUTTO help Legal Contracts?

Legal document automation is a boon for law firms, paralegals, and even consumers of legal services. In the past, lawyers spent a lot of hours creating and managing legal documents. But with the invention of legal document automation tools, lawyers can now free up their schedules and focus on key business areas.

An in-house lawyer is an extremely expensive resource to be deployed on searching for Word documents and PDFs from shared drives and sending them out to colleagues or clients. What makes it worse is when the query is vague, or missing information, making it even harder for the legal team to find and share the appropriate contract.

One of the best ways to improve this process is by setting up a self-serve workflow using contract automation.

 

How AUTTO Solves Contract Generation

 

 1. The challenge: 

High turn-around time for documents which can slow down business deals. For both business users and the legal team, the manual collection of client data for the contract is time-consuming and repetitive.

How AUTTO solves this problem:

AUTTO builds in smart, dynamic forms with complex rules and conditional logic, allowing information to be collected via different question types. You can also add, subtract, and edit entire clauses, as well as calculations, empowering business users to self-serve without requiring input from the legal team.

 

2. The challenge:

Clients experience a tedious and lengthy contract signing process by having to download, sign and re-send their contract.

How AUTTO solves this problem:

Set up your free Eversign account and add electronic signatures for your documents within the AUTTO workflow, providing an effortless experience for clients and reduce friction and time to execution.

 

 

3. The challenge:

Minimal visibility on the finalised document post-signature. 

How AUTTO solves this problem:

Generated and signed documents are all stored in AUTTO and can be sent to store in our integrated document systems such as Google Drive, One Drive and Dropbox.

 

The contract workflow approval process

 

Sending a contract for approval can be painful. From miscommunication to loss of version control and long delays – the manual contract approval process has many flaws. However, given the important role that contract approval plays in getting contracts over the line, it’s a stage that legal and business teams can’t afford to overlook.

With AUTTO’s automated approval workflow for contracts, reviewing and approving contracts has never been more straightforward.

1. Draft your contract

The first step to automate the process is creating a new draft either from scratch or by using one of our pre-populated legal templates.

2. Share your draft with viewing or editing rights

You can now get input from others by sharing your draft. Let them check, comment, and add on what you did first. You can invite new collaborators by pressing “Invite User” on the settings menu located on the top bar. If you add a user, you can choose whether to give them editor or viewer rights.

  1. Go to the draft view in the editor, click settings, click publishing settings
  2. Select the user group / invitation required, then click update and okay on the follow up prompts
  3. Click the publish rocket and the publish button
  4. Go to the published view in the editor, click settings and then invite user

A task email action (with the contract attached to the email) would take care of the approval step.

For an approver their experience should be straight forward. AUTTO sends an email with the contract attached and they can approve/refuse it simply by clicking a button. 

The attached contract can be one generated by AUTTO or it can be one that gets uploaded to AUTTO for the legal team to review before signature.

 

The contract approval process in a nutshell.

The manual practice of contract generation and the contract approval process will not only be a strain on resources but could compromise your compliance and security. 

Document Automation software like AUTTO can automate the entire workflow — from creation, approval or rejection, revision, and signing. This way, your team can process contracts easier, faster, and most importantly, risk-free.

To find out how to automate your contract workflows with AUTTO, click on the link to book a free demo

Is Digital Transformation the Future?

How your business can survive (and even thrive) through digital transformation?

Digital transformation (DX) is currently the single most important force in business and innovation.  Leveraging its 13,000 agencies-strong network, DesignRush reported that companies with digital-first strategies are 64% more likely to achieve their business goals than competitors and to succeed in the Future of Work. In contrast, as many as 55% of companies that have yet to digitise believe they have less than a year before they suffer financially and begin losing market share. 

How can you be Digital-First’?

Well, there’s a method to successful digital transformation which McKinsey encapsulates in  five key factors: 

1. Leadership factors

Impactful leaders are committed, enthusiastic, wholly change-driven and digitally-savvy. 

“Top leaders realise that it’s imperative for senior management to keep up with everything from AI to e-commerce to data analytics, or they risk the company’s viability and their own careers,” says the Executive Monitor report from Boyden Global Executive Search that surveyed 1,200 CEOs. 

You need leaders who are agile, committed to change, and ready to invest – recognising that investments do result in payback over time. Research by both McKinsey and Boyden demonstrates that organisations that hire digitally-savvy leaders into the C-suite, such as chief technology officers, are more likely than competitors to report successful digital transformations. 

2. Creating the workforce of the future

PwC suggests that by 2030 we’ll see four possible “worlds of work”. There’ll be the Red World of innovation; the Blue World where corporations dominate; the Green World of a strong social conscience; and the Yellow World where companies recognize that humans come first.  To succeed in this Future of Work, PwC insisted that:

“Leaders need to own the automation debate and realise that Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will affect every level of the business and its people. It’s too important an issue to leave to IT (or HR) alone.” 

 Indeed, McKinsey found that companies that digitised for this world of the future, not only hired digitally-savvy persons, but also upskilled their staff to align with the goals of their transformations. Most companies also had “integrators” who served as bridges between the company’s traditional past and its digital future, integrating new digital processes into existing ways of working. 

3. Facilitating new ways of working

Digital transformations require cultural and behavioural changes in areas that include accelerated collaboration, calculated risk taking, continuous learning and open environment.  As McKinsey found, organisations that reported improvements in even one area, such as customer centricity or agile business processes, were more likely than competitors to report successful transformations. That was particularly so when stakeholders and employees were encouraged to contribute their own ideas on where digitisation could support the business.

4. Upgrading tools the workforce uses every day

Almost all organisations that reported success told McKinsey how upgrading their day-to-day tools contributed to structural change. Examples include streamlining repetitive tasks and paperless processes with automated processes such as automated emails, NDAs,  legal forms, documents, approvals and so forth across desktop, web and mobile. You can create and manage all aspects of your automations from a central portal, across stakeholders and on the go. Businesses that use AUTTO’s no-code automation platform report that it helps make information more accessible across their organisations, gives them more time to market and innovate, supercharges their services, and removes human error from their processes, among other benefits. British-based financial crime consultancy, FinTrail, for instance, said that AUTTO’s no-code solution helped triple its membership and reduced their workload by 75%.

5. Communicating via traditional and digital methods

Effective communication may well be one of the single most important factors when it comes to digital transformation. The same 2018 McKinsey report found that successful transformation was at least three times more likely when staff were fed a compelling change story that dramatised why digital transformation would generate profits. McKinsey’s survey also showed that managers influenced when they communicated with a sense of urgency, providing teams with clear roadmaps and accompanying metrics. 

Wrap-up

Digital transformation is one of the biggest risks your business will ever face – and one of the biggest opportunities. Over the past six years, it has mostly been the traditional companies like travel agency Thomas Cook, Revlon and retailer Arcadia Group that filed for bankruptcy. Those that embraced digital transformation – consider Vodafone, Shell, Bayer, and Audi – reported they made tremendous strides forward. Change is risky – but clinging to dated methods and processes almost certainly augurs disaster. 

Digital transformation is here to stay. Embrace it, and you will be rewarded with faster revenue growth,  customer loyalty and a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Using tools like AUTTO’s no-code automation platform is one step closer to becoming digital-first.  

Responsible Automation – With Great Power comes Great Responsibility

With the rise of no-code platforms, we are seeing a shift in how organisations develop and use technology. Gone are the days where all IT infrastructure sits within the IT departments – we’re all technologists now and all have access to tools to make our day jobs easier. But what impact does this have on the business if it is not managed correctly?

Platforms such as AUTTO puts power at the fingertips of knowledge workers to help develop business solutions. They give organisations a quick and easy start to becoming digital-first and put the user in control.

No-code brings a shift in how technology is delivered to the business – and that means there are a number of risks if left unchecked. With governance and security the primary areas to focus on, the role of the CIO has to change and adapt to prevent a free for all, where IT activity becomes siloed and ad hoc. 

Get it right though, and no-code tools will be an enabler. Businesses don’t have to worry about having big teams of developers, they don’t have to worry about version control, because that is handled by the platforms themselves. The days are long past when almost any IT project required coding from scratch: slow, difficult to build and with painstaking testing and iteration.

Now, it’s possible to access a single tool with multiple functions and functionalities all from one central platform. Tools like AUTTO, help businesses automate repetitive tasks by digitising business processes through workflows – freeing up the one thing that is most important – time.

In short, through no-code, technology has become simple – it’s how you apply it that brings it to life.

Barriers of Adoption

While it solves many problems, no-code does raise other challenges – like how you fit it all together. A big part of the task is how you integrate these platforms with your existing legacy systems. You need to ringfence legacy so that you don’t break it. So finding a tool which allows you to connect to existing technology is key. 

What all of this means is that the skills needed have changed. It used to be about having lots of coders and developers. Now, it’s about how you fit everything together – so there’s a much higher need for enterprise and business solutions architects. It’s given rise to a new term as well – Citizen Developers.

It also opens a new doorway into technology careers for people who may have been put off by the highly technical nature of many tech roles. Apprenticeships and boot camp-style skills programmes, such as the PMI’s dedicated Citizen Developer certification program, can equip talented individuals with the tools they need to implement no-code solutions quickly, without compromising on responsible design and governance methods. 

Where does No-code sit within an Organisation?

In the past, the CIO or IT director would have focussed on overseeing complex multi-year projects. Now, the role is about overseeing more rapid iterative changes and governance – ensuring there is a clear framework for activity, that activity is coordinated, and that there is connectivity between applications.

A lack of control also introduces security risks. Given today’s alarmingly prevalent cyber threats, it has become simply imperative that strong and consistent security protocols, resilient infrastructure, and robust data protection and privacy processes are in place.

Meanwhile, it is Citizen Developers who are driving the business forward in terms of new capabilities, functionality and solutions. It is the role of the IT department to safeguard the way that business owners adopt new tooling, providing oversight and ensuring no-code development is safe and responsible.

The Future of No-code Solutions

The covid-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for change. This acceleration of digital transformation through no-code, the move to cloud and other major trends mean there is still much to do for IT teams in building a robust and safe digital enterprise.

Automating Legal – What are you waiting for?

General Counsels and in-house lawyers are under more pressure than ever before – with an increase in workload volume, a greater demand to deliver advice, manage risk and ensure legal compliance for the business, there’s very little time left to practise law. 

With the Legal sector being considered as Tech sceptics, is it time to start looking at ways to evolve through the digital revolution or risk getting left behind? 

On Thursday 23rd June a group of like-minded tech and legal professionals met online to discuss the drivers and barriers to adopting technology within the legal sector. 

The morning started with introductions from our partners, Off Road Legal and the conversation started by considering the normalisation of automation. 

Adverts are popping up on buses and on TV which is showing acceptance in white-collar industries; everyone is starting to understand that automation can help. “Obviously, factories and blue-collar industries adopted automation a while back, but recently there has been a shift to white-collar automation that is here to stay,” said Peter Impey, Co-Founder of Off Road Legal. 

This begs the question of why is automation not accelerating at the same speed within Legal as in other areas of white-collar work?

 

The Drivers of Change 

Ian Gosling, CEO of AUTTO, followed, “Over the last 10 years we have seen a big change within digital transformation in Law.  It has been driven by the rise of Legal Operations led by  CLOC (Corporate Legal Operations Consortium).  CLOC’s Core 12 framework gives us a good basis for looking at all the pieces you need to have in play to move towards having a modern digitally transformed legal function,  and how those pieces connect.  In my experience, for change to be successful people, process and technology need to align with the business model.

The main driver for adopting technology is operational excellence.  Andrew Wingfield Co-Founder of Off Road Legal went on to explain “The client expects more and that is a major external driver for change.  Those demands are being met by new entrants to the legal market, the big four consultancies, technology-enabled competitors, and listed legal businesses all driving change.  How will law firms win in this situation, if they don’t innovate with technology?”

Legal operations is a discipline, if you instil it in a legal team, whether they are private practice, inhouse or a legal operations team, it’s a mindset of understanding the importance of process, legal, data, and using technology to get the best results. The drivers behind adopting technology for law firms and legal functions within a business are completely different and I think that has to be recognised,” said Jeremy Hopkins, Legal Operations Specialist, Contentsquare.

 

Barriers to Adoption

When it comes to adopting new technologies within any organisation there are always barriers to change. People have tried introducing new tools before, for example, Contract Lifecycle management tools,  and failed.  This raises the question, do people fail around the tool instead of the tool failing? Have you ever used or been given access to a tool but you either didn’t know how to use it or chose not to use it and continued doing what you normally do?  Eventually, the tool takes the blame.  To successfully change the people, the process and the technology all need to be aligned to deliver.   This can be especially difficult to manage if the change is externally driven and not internally led.

The technology itself must align with the change. 

 

Overcoming the Barriers to Change 

The legal industry is traditionally conservative and often a late adopter of innovation.  How do law firms and legal professionals adapt to a more competitive and demanding environment?

Trying to get to the result fast using a big bang model of change is risky and a better approach is to implement smaller pieces of the overall digital process. “It’s all about incremental change – small changes that will lead to overall bigger changes and bigger impact for the business,” said Ian Gosling

One way to implement incremental change is the use of no-code tools which enable incremental change. These allow teams to adopt new ways of working that are low risk, low cost, and still show big results.  A no-code environment gives control of the change to the legal team, allowing them to own the transformation of their work.  This can help make digital and operational transformation internally-led, helping overcome barriers and concerns about technology and change.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this event and our Partners Off Road Legal. If you would like to find out more about how automation can help your business, request a free demo below and one of our automation experts will get in touch.  

How the Rise of the Citizen Developer Enables the Scaling of Automation Across the Legal Sector

As defined by Gartner, a citizen developer is a persona for an employee who creates application capabilities to be used by themselves or others – for example, forms, automations, connections to other systems.  The increase in citizen development is part of the trend towards the democratisation of IT – people who don’t sit in the IT department being able to access sophisticated technical capabilities without technical or development training. These people are working within individual business units and are using no-code tools to rapidly develop applications. They simply don’t need advanced technical training. They need an analytical mindset and an understanding of their subject matter, but they don’t need to be developers. And they are on the rise – with an ever increasing younger, more tech savvy workforce wanting to develop their own applications. Gartner further showed in 2021 that 41% of organisations already used a platform for citizen development, while another 27% expected to use one within the next 12 months.

What are the implications of this for legal? Who are the new citizen developers in law? We’ve heard from a number of them in this white paper. In a GC’s office, they are the legal ops specialists who sit in the legal innovations department and their role is, with input from the legal experts, to assess the challenges the department faces and begin to develop these applications. In law firms, it’s not the front-line lawyers developing these applications (although as we’ve shown in this paper, they will have a massive contribution to make) but rather the Legal Tech teams. 

We are witnessing the rise of multi-functional teams to develop solutions. Lawyers or people with legal expertise plus IT departments who arrange and secure the correct platforms for delivery, join with citizen developers or legal technologists. The latter of these, take the expertise of their lawyers, assess the solution that needs creating and then are developing them on no-code platforms. And no-code is a massive growth area – Gartner predicted a 23 percent expansion within business Worldwide during 2021.  

The implication for cost reduction by moving this functionality out of pure IT development and into legal is massive. Automation is now in the hands of the citizen developer making it possible to automate areas that previously could not as the gains in time simply did not justify the investment.

Why Scale your Shipping and Logistics Business with Digital Process Automation?

There is no doubt that the shipping and logistics industry is facing a challenging yet opportune time. Spiralling fuel costs, labour shortages, sustainability, new government regulations and, of course, the small matter of a global pandemic, have contributed to unpredictable, highly disruptive waters.  But, as The Economist neatly put it recently, “the era of predictable unpredictability is not going away” – with challenges come opportunities. The pandemic has seen shipping volumes explode as consumer demand continues on an unprecedented level. The industry has invested heavily in response to this – we’ve seen the rise of robotic technology to automate processes from picking to packing, inspecting to container stacking. However, what of the fundamental digital processes and documentation that sit behind the physical movement of goods? The instructions to partners, the insurance documentation, the verification of processes, the letters of credit, the accounts payable invoicing? Are these time and energy intensive processes keeping up with today’s volumes?  Will ‘the way you’ve always done it’ be enough to keep pace with growth now and in the future? Could you improve operational efficiency and save money by automating these processes? 

Still not sure? Consider this example.  Research from Drewry Shipping Consultants estimates the container liner industry carries 60% of the goods (by value) moved internationally by sea, deploying 5,100 container ships worldwide on approximately 400 scheduled liner services, most of which sail weekly. This generates a global transport revenue of some $166 billion a year in transport revenues. But it also creates 1.26 billion freight invoices.  Each of these has to be issued, verified, paid and reconciled.  Astonishingly, the majority of these are still handled manually, making it a costly and onerous process, rife with errors.  The level of automation of invoice reconciliation and settlement is very low, particularly among small and medium size players. Drewry states the cost of these process inefficiencies represent $34.4 billion a year.  

Imagine an easy-to-create and run system that could massively simplify this.  A process that makes it faster, more accurate and less resource heavy. Technology is available today to easily create a workflow to reconcile bookings, invoices and payments automatically, linking all stakeholders, ensuring digital records are kept for verification. All stakeholders can see it, track it and have the digital evidence.  

But this is just one example. The reality of a modern-day supply chain is that every element of the process still generates a huge volume of documents. In fact, it’s estimated that every year, 12 billion documents are processed in ocean forwarding alone. Business leaders in the shipping and logistics sector should be looking at digital automation as a chance to change, to scale up and future proof their business.  

Typically, the generation of shipping documentation has been handled by people because the cost of digital automation was simply too high and too complicated to create. However, today the use of cloud-based low-code and no-code automation platforms means that companies in shipping and logistics can build, operate and support an automated system with non-technical staff and budgets from a few thousand pounds  a year. It has opened intelligent automation up to companies that could not previously afford this kind of tech. Platforms such as AUTTO have a lot of flexibility and yet also allow control, audit trail and monitoring and allocating tasks to your team. These systems will automate document production, calculations, task allocation, approvals, data transformation, integrations and update records. Potentially packing lists, bills of lading, certificates of origin, invoices and letters of credit can all be automated. 

As software completes tasks within seconds instead of hours it cues staff or another automation to begin the next task – the overall pace at which your business responds increases. This means not only time spent doing a task is reduced but the ‘time elapsed’ between when a job was requested, and when it is completed drops rapidly. As your customers (both internal and external) are becoming more used to an ‘Amazon Prime’ business culture of immediate fulfilment, then the ability to deliver quickly is a competitive edge. 

As an industry run increasingly by robotic process automation, leaders of shipping and logistics businesses should also be looking internally to ascertain which operational processes could benefit most from digital automation.  We at AUTTO help businesses  make operations leaner – improving customer satisfaction whilst using as few resources as possible – by helping you to create your own digital automation workflows. A few simple changes can really transform your business.  With the challenges and opportunities currently facing the shipping and logistics industry, now is the perfect time to start to reap the benefits of adopting this leaner approach to operations using digital automation.  We’d love the opportunity to talk to you more about how your business can benefit and provide you with a free trial of AUTTO. https://www.autto.io/free-trial/ 

If you’d like to understand more about our approach to lean operations using digital automation you can download our white paper here: https://www.autto.io/three-step-guide-to-lean-operations/ 

1 https://www.economist.com/leaders/2021/12/18/the-new-normal-is-already-here-get-used-to-it?frsc=dg%7Ce

2 https://www.solent.ac.uk/research-innovation-enterprise/documents/china-centre/global-maritime-weekly-digest-08-05-2018.pdf

3 According to in a Billentis report last year, of all the invoices issued worldwide, a jaw-dropping 90% of them are still processed manually

 

Happy New Year (or is it?) – How Automation is driving the Future of Work

This week sees the big return to work after the Christmas break.  But after the last of the celebrations are over is the real hangover your lack of enthusiasm for work?  Has time off made you reflect and realise certain parts of your role are over repetitive, uninspiring and just taking up too much time?  Are you considering quitting your current role and finding a job where you feel more engaged, more valued and one where you feel more excited to turn up every day? You are not alone. Globally business is witnessing what has been termed “the big quit” – in the UK alone the number of open jobs rose to a record high of 1.1 million in the three months to August 2021¹. Employee burnout is also on the increase – research shows a 15% global rise this year increasing to a jaw dropping 81% in “non-thriving” company cultures.² 

 

The good news is that the effects of an almost two-year global pandemic have thrust digital transformation on employers and a recognition of the need to use this digital investment to keep their valuable staff.  Leading employers are becoming increasingly genuine about putting the employee at the centre of the business.  They want to keep them engaged, create space for critical thinking and problem solving and use their time and talents to develop the business.  Some are embracing automation as a way to take away those ‘time-rich, imagination-poor’ yet critical tasks from employees.  

 

‘Business automation is getting software to do some work so that humans don’t have to.’

Automation software loves the work that people hate. It is good at speed, repetition and accuracy. “No-code” platforms like AUTTO make automating key business processes and documents easy.  Automating these tedious but nonetheless important daily tasks of every company will free up your time – our customers tell us about 75%.  Investing in a technology that can replace the hours you spend, for example, laboriously cutting and pasting into a spreadsheet or sending out endless emails, proves an employer is invested in you and wants you to feel more valued and empowered to make decisions for the good of the business. Routine documents such as order processing, contracts, invoices, sales activity reports, quote generations, T&Cs, licenses and more can all be replaced with automation. If technology can take care of the mundane, repetitive tasks, that frees up your time to focus on more challenging, creative projects. 

 

Platforms like AUTTO are so easy to use that non-IT staff with no programming skills are being given the automations to identify and create – after all you are at the coal face of your business and know which processes need changing.  With AUTTO anyone can automate in a few hours with our simple no-code platform.  No technical expertise is required. You can take any of your unique business processes, easily learn the system and, like Lego building blocks, automate them.  

 

Automation is driving huge change in the employee experience of work. Perhaps as you return to work this year you should be asking your employer what investment they are making in automation – after all, it is in effect, an investment in you.

 

References:


¹Office of National Statistics 2021
²O.C.Tanner Europe Global Culture Report 2021

2021 – The Year Resilience Ruled and how Digital Automation will Fuel 2022’s Need for Lean

So as another pretty challenging year draws to a close, we see those businesses that have taken practical steps to strengthen operationally are those that have responded best to the market’s prolonged volatility.  Continuing to build this resilience into 2022 will be crucial. With last year’s accelerated trends of remote working, e-commerce and digitisation now firmly considered the norm, smart businesses have realised they must now introduce a leaner operational platform to weather future storms to maximise customer service and reduce waste.  As businesses learn to live with the “new way” of doing things the scalability digital automation provides to help meet this end goal will be pivotal. 

 

A lean operational approach should be at the top of every CEO’s Christmas list. This approach – where the central business goal is to focus on providing greater customer satisfaction whilst using as few resources as possible – requires leaner processes and procedures.  By digitising these processes, many successful businesses in 2021 have already been able to track, monitor and efficiently manage their growth. Critically, by automating routine tasks as much as possible, they have left themselves breathing space to scale-up, and if necessary, easily scale down as market demands change.  

 

The cost of automation has previously been too high or too unique to a particular business. But the low-code automation solutions now available democratise technology making automation more accessible to the everyday business user.  The use of cloud-based low-code (simple scripting) and no-code (drag and drop) automation platforms, means that companies can build, operate and support an automated system with non-technical staff on a budget typically of just a few thousand pounds a year. Given the challenges of constricted budgets and fewer IT resources to support internal processes (as IT is simply still too busy digitising the whole business!) line-of-business teams should be looking at self-service by turning to low-code solutions to automate business operations, documents and knowledge quickly and easily. 

 

Similarly, one of the critical benefits of digitisation is the ability to scale up or down quickly and seamlessly.  Cloud-based software gives organisations the option to increase or decrease capacity with the click of a few buttons of a website. 

 

One of the advantages of digitisation that perhaps we had not appreciated so much until this year is that modern cloud-hosted digital services do not care where you are in the world.  They don’t care if you are at home or in the office as long as you can log in. Not every employee in every business can work from home, but there is no doubt that the more digitised savvy companies found this transition much more straightforward.  

 

 Lean automation can deliver time savings of 75-99% on routine work, and perhaps more significantly, increase accuracy.  While it is overstating the case to say most businesses can be completely automated ( these kinds of gains can dramatically increase a team’s capacity.  That means when your company finds itself back on the now familiar rollercoaster ride of recent months over 2022, your teams will have the time and ability to navigate and successfully manage the ups and downs.

NEW WEBINAR!

An Intro To AUTTO

How to Automate a Complex Process without Writing a Line of Code

  • Date: 31 March 2022
  • Time 14:00 BST
  • Host: Ian Gosling, Founder of AUTTO

Hi there,

AUTTO is a no-codebusiness and document automation platform. No-code means you can build tailor-made automated processes without having to be a developer.

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