Automating your work order process is essential. But you can’t afford to make any mistakes.We want to make sure you get the most from your automated work order process.

Automation can:

  • Reduce errors during fulfilment
  • Expedite your supply chain.
  • Lead to greater profits over time.

But if you don’t do things right, you’ll be losing money before you make improvements. You have to collect the right data and then know how to apply it. You need to have a solid, proven process before it can be automated. After the planning is done, you’ve got to pull the trigger and launch; and if you don’t need to take a risk, don’t do it. Invest in a solid, tangible solution.

Check out these 5 mistakes you need to avoid when you automate your work order process:

1. Don’t Just Collect Data – Use It!

We live in a wired world. Consumers use their phones and electronic devices every day to automate their lives. They order products from websites and track their package’s delivery in real time. The warehouse that fills the order is connected to the Internet of Things (IoT.) Electronic communications drive all aspects of this work order process.

At each point, data can be collected. Your warehouses automation can provide feedback through every stage of production. Keep an eye on operations from afar while you expand your business. Make sure things run smoothly and address issues in real time. If your data says that you’re not doing well in a certain area, focus your resources there first.

For consumers, it starts with retaining contact information, preferred payment methods, and their ordering history. But the analyzing and application of customer data is where you’ll make real improvements.

Learn what drives your consumer by analyzing when then buy. Find out who they buy your product for. What purpose does it fill? How does it make them feel?

Data like this can be collected from your app or other through digital interfaces. Launch a customer feedback survey. Target the consumer experience during the fulfilment process. Learn the pain points your clients may face.

In an era of email and social media, you’re only a few clicks away from a direct conversation with your user base. Communicate with them and learn what they want.

2. Perfect Your Process Before You Automate

Automating your operation won’t solve all your problems. You must have a solid workflow in place before your look to automate. Perfect your work order process before relying on hardware and software to do the work for you.

Identify points of weakness in your fulfilment process. These could be:

  • Production bottlenecks.
  • Improper inventory management.
  • Errors that produce waste, shrinkage, or other loss.

Create procedures to test your process. Measure rates of success and failure. Eliminate any inefficiencies.

Create a standard that your process must adhere to. Only then will your be ready for automation..

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Ship – You’ll Learn as You Go

It can be tempting to spend too much time in the planning phases. Things can always improve on paper. But, sometimes you won’t know if your system works until you launch.

Guy Kawasaki, famous entrepreneur, philanthropist, and author of Art of the Start, says start-ups need to “ship a beta” before they “ship the real thing.” There’s only so much you can learn, predict, or plan for during development. To really test a product, service, or process, it must go to the masses!

After you figure out what your automation solutions are, don’t delay in their implementation. There will be hiccups. There may be employee learning curves, extra costs, or other bumps in the road. These will be opportunities to learn and improve.

Face these and other (unforeseen) challenges head on. Improve your business model and supply chain in the process.

4. Invest in Your Robots, Keep Your Workforce

As you make improvements in your automated process, it’s important to appreciate your workers. They’re the ones that run your daily operations and keep your company alive.

You can rely on IoT and M2M communications to take care of most of your work order process. But you still need an able-bodied human operator to monitor the system. If you value order consistency, you’ll also need a human QA (quality assurance) inspector to make sure there are no mistakes. Know the jobs you need real people for. Value the staff in these positions.

Assure your employees that automation doesn’t mean they’re losing a job. Transition workers in obsolete positions into other departments – like customer service, marketing, or transportation. If there will be downsizing, take action fairly and directly.

5. Don’t Take a Risk When You Don’t Need To

What is the best investment you can make? What automation procedures are obtainable for you? What capital is needed to make it happen? What kind of ROI can you make?

Start with these questions. Define clear goals for your new automation. Look for tangible solutions and reliable investments.

We advise you start with the right electronic foundation. Like a field service management software that automates your work order process.

Remove the paperwork and prevent mistakes from happening. Track every stage of your order from inquiry to invoice. Collect all of your data in one place for easy analytics.

So remember, data is only as useful as what you do with it. Take a deep dive, understand it and see how you can use it to make the customer’s life easier.

Once you’ve figured out what it all means, change your processes. Make it quicker, easier, more accessible. Whatever you can do to make the customer journey better or quicker or more efficient. Don’t just stop when it’s a little bit easier, keep going and keep refining until it is as close to perfect as possible…But, don’t wait around forever. At some point you just need to get started. Don’t do all this refinement in your head. Start it, try things out and change the things that don’t work.

Take the things where your employees aren’t using their brains and automate it. People hate doing boring, repetitive work, robots love it. They eat that stuff up. Focus your employees on doing smart things that will make you money, not just on getting meaningless, boring tasks. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it.

Finally, don’t go crazy. There is a lot of power in automation but don’t let it go to your head. Start small and slowly build up.

Keep these steps in mind on your automation journey and you’ll avoid the sleepless nights that many before you have suffered on the road to automation success.

Are you having trouble automating your internal process? Don’t worry! Send us an email or request a FREE DEMO today! Business automation is just a fraction of what InField Clipboard offers. Check out some of the custom solutions we offer to our clients.