How to Stop Falling Prey to Manual Processes


Get Shift Done: Management

If you’ve ever had to use a purely manual process, you understand why the phrase “work smarter not harder” is so popular.

Manual processes are often inefficient, redundant, and fraught with opportunities for error. That’s not a winning combination.

In the old days, manual was all you had. Today however, there are tons of useful online solutions available to streamline and even automate your processes.

So, how can you avoid falling into the manual process trap? Here’s a four step program:

Step 1: Stop accepting manual processes as normal or necessary. “Our company has always done it that way” is no excuse to continue doing things the same way. Be sure your staff knows how serious you are about changing your processes.

Step 2: Weigh the good and the bad of a manual process before ditching it (hint: there‘s usually little to no good).

As an example, here’s a payroll calculations and processing process. Believe it or not, many companies still use the old desktop spreadsheets to do calculations and keep notes. Then some unlucky person gets to re-key the same information into HR/payroll systems.

Here’s the bad:

  • The time it takes to manually re-key data
  • The increased chance for errors (statistically a 90% chance of errors in spreadsheets with over 150 lines)
  • Unnecessary delays
  • Lower productivity
  • Lower morale
  • Increased chances of data loss
  • Can’t sharing of data easily
  • No real audit trail
  • Compliance issues
  • Data integrity issues
  • High degree of maintenance
  • Issues with multiple versions
  • No reporting capabilities
  • Information is not real-time
  • Not always easy to have multiple users access and simultaneously update access spreadsheets
  • Spreadsheets can easily become corrupt

The Good?

  • We can keep doing this the way we always have so we don’t have to waste any time learning something new.

Or is that really a bad in disguise?

Step 3: Weigh the pros and cons of real-time web-based solutions. Working within an online solutions is almost a 180 degree experience when compared to using a manual process.

The Pros: Continuing our example from above, a good solution would make it easy to streamline payroll processing, improve turnaround times, reduce resource usage and costs, create accurate reporting and reduce errors in a big way.

Companies like ADP Vista HCM, EBS or Personality by High Line offer feature rich web-based payroll solutions.

The Cons: It will take time and money to get a new solution in place.

That said, in the long run, a non-manual process will make your business lean and competitive, two big payoffs for the time and money invested.

Step 4: Keep working smarter….not harder.

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