The where, why, and how of document workflow automation for SMBs
If we’ve learned one thing going into 2021 it’s that agility is an asset. Businesses that prioritized digital transformation found themselves better equipped to handle the unprecedented changes and challenges of 2020. The future of work is still evolving and will for some time. That said, customers preferences are also changing. Many of which are opting for digital delivery if given the choice. Solely relying on paper communications puts SMBs at a disadvantage versus their more digital forward competitors.
Where: Critical SMB Use Cases
Process automation is all about using technology to eliminate human or manual tasks to drive operational improvements. A simple review of existing methodologies used to prepare and send critical customer communications can help businesses determine the potential benefit of replacing inefficient manual processes with automated outbound document workflows. The following areas are specific use cases and prime candidates for process automation. As recovery approaches, SMBs will also have to integrate and reconcile hastily added short-term digital channels into the technology mix and potentially even replace short-term channels with more scalable solutions.
Managing Outbound Customer Communications
Many businesses experience delays in sending customer communications and are often forced to rely on employees from other parts of the company to help prepare mail during peak periods. Employees are often involved in manually sorting documents and double-checking or triple-checking to ensure that envelopes have the right materials. By automating outbound document processes, SMBs can reduce the time and effort spent on a large disruptive mailing from a few hours to a few clicks.
Automating Invoice Delivery
Accounts receivable (AR) workflows (order-to-cash processes) are critical to any organization. Businesses must receive payment and pay out their suppliers and employees. Many SMBs wait too long to send invoices because of either process or operational capacity issues surrounding the invoice workflow. The activities required to generate, prepare, process, and send invoices require significant effort and may be inefficient.
Optimizing Cash Collection Processes
Strong cash flow can often mean literally keeping the lights on. Many finance teams struggle to accurately report on cash position and collections metrics such as aging reports and days sales outstanding. Data is pulled from a multitude of sources and stored in Excel spreadsheets that must be constantly updated and distributed to internal stakeholders. Precious time and resources are wasted on the day-to-day cash collection process including emailing, calling, resending invoices, and reconciling disputes. Modern output management and AR software solutions can help SMBs better predict cash flow by identifying customers that may need additional attention to get invoices paid and provide alternative methods of payment to accelerate receivables.
Why: Drive operational efficiency and agility through document process automation
As recovery approaches, SMBs will have to reconcile hastily added short-term digital channels into the technology mix and potentially even replace short-term channels with more scalable solutions. Many SMBs still rely on repetitive manual processes to send critical transactional documents such as statements, notifications, and contracts. By optimizing document workflows, SMBs can meet important business needs, lower operational costs, enhance customer experience, ensure compliance and security, and redeploy internal resources to other, more strategic areas within the organization.
How: Scalable, flexible document automation platforms
Quadient solutions increase your digital dexterity and allow your organization to more easily pivot to changes in the business environment. Whether your goal is to support a hybrid workforce, increase customer experience, or improve the financial health of your business all of the above you can achieve it through process automation. Quadient has a wide range of intuitive solutions that can be easily integrated into your ERP or your existing legacy systems. To learn more about why process automation and multichannel delivery is crucial for SMBs, download our IDC Technology Spotlight.