Why Automating Everything Might Not Be Your Best Solution – ReadWrite
Low-code/no-code development offers a tantalizing future where almost anybody can create workflow automation to streamline operations for a more efficient, productive workplace. According to TechRepublic, 47% of organizations already use low-code/no-code platforms, with workflow automation being the leading reason. The business world is certainly ready to embrace low-code/no-code development in its everyday operations.
However, as exciting as the possibilities might be, low-code/no-code development can also be overused or poorly implemented; this creates problems in the long term simply for the sake of making things easier in the short term.
Ten years from now, organizations that aren’t careful will likely find themselves with dozens of unnecessary automated processes that run on various unstable platforms and that were built by people who no longer work at the company.
The Problem With Automating First and Asking Questions Later
In the book “Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash,” authors Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck said: “We are not helping our customers if we simply automate a complex or messy process.”
It’s important to remember that even if there’s little coding involved in low-code/no-code workflow automation, the design and management problems will still be similar to full-on software development.
You can’t get away from the fact that complex work processes are complex, and the automation of those processes will mirror that.
Messy Processes Beget Inefficient Automation
The authors went on to say: “Any process that is a candidate for automation should first be clarified and simplified, possibly even removing existing automation. Only then can the process be clearly understood and the leverage points for effective automation identified.”
Consider, for example, that you have a requisition system that requires five different approvals to move forward. So you automate the approval process. You might save employees a few minutes sending emails and filling in spreadsheets, but what if the fundamental inefficiency lies in the approvals themselves? What if you don’t need that many approvals to begin with? Automating unoptimized processes only hardwires inefficiency into the system and makes it more difficult to change later.
Assessing Whether You Should Automate With a Low-Code/No-Code Platform
To make the most out of these platforms, it’s crucial to ask the right questions before jumping straight to automation. It’s the only way to be sure you’re creating a process that will help your business maintain efficiency for years to come. Here are four questions you should ask to figure out whether a low-code/no-code automation solution is right for the job:
1. Do I know enough about workflow and process analysis to be confident in my decisions?
Used effectively, automation can streamline existing processes and free up employees’ time to work on more important things.
Used ineffectively, however, automation could cement wasteful processes into your operations and make them harder to dispose of in the future.
When Toyota developed the lean manufacturing approach, it didn’t immediately start automating everything. Instead, the company invested heavily in continuous process improvement and hyper-optimizing its workflows. Make sure you have the expertise necessary to know whether a process truly needs to exist and is well-optimized before you begin to automate.
2. How critical is a process to our organization?
Software development has a long history of quality analysis and quality assurance processes that are often missing in low-code/no-code development. It’s important to keep in mind that a lack of coding doesn’t mean there will be a lack of errors — the system will only ever do what you tell it to do.
Although the risk is generally much lower on these platforms than for developers, if you’re trying to build something for a business-critical process, it pays to take extra care and time to make sure you can get it right. In these cases, it’s often best to build several small automation systems instead of one big one. That way, you’ll be much less likely to forget about how pieces work as you’re piping data from one part to another.
3. Do I understand the need for longevity?
Typical software development tends to happen with a five- to 10-year outlook in mind, but this long view is often missing from low-code/no-code software. Employees fail to evaluate risks that might turn up in the next year or more and instead focus only on the current task at hand.
But what happens when you think out to six or 12 months in the future? Will you still be in the same position then? If not, how will you hand the project off to someone else? Beyond that, how will things look in five years? Is it likely that the platform you’re using will still be around? Short-term gains tend to overshadow these important long-term considerations in low-code/no-code development.
4. Am I okay with throwing experiments away on the journey to a workable project?
You don’t want to spend a ton of time putting together a big plan for an automation project and then building it all in one go. Instead, it’s smarter to start sooner and then work in smaller batches. These batches can provide you with a powerful learning feedback loop that will help you avoid wasting time developing features no one will use. By working on and delivering smaller segments, you can experiment and iterate to build useful and efficient processes instead of ones that don’t accomplish your goals.
Tools that enable people to automate without a deep understanding of software engineering and design principles are on the rise — which means so is the likelihood of baking inefficiencies and faulty assumptions into workflows.
Before creating something that will only be a burden down the line, evaluate the bigger picture and determine if your processes are ready for automation.
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Eco-Friendly Fleet Maintenance Trends and Strategies
As the world becomes increasingly aware of the impact of climate change, many businesses are seeking ways to mitigate their carbon footprint and embrace more sustainable practices. In the transportation industry, fleet maintenance is a key area where businesses can make significant strides in reducing their environmental impact.
The Big Issues With Today’s Fleet Maintenance
There are several environmental issues associated with today’s fleet maintenance practices. Here are some of the biggest:
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Fleet vehicles are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change. The emissions from fuel combustion and the use of heavy-duty vehicles can have negative impacts on air quality, water quality, and human health.
Hazardous Waste Disposal
Many fleet maintenance activities generate hazardous waste, such as used oil, solvents, and other chemicals. If not disposed of properly, these can contaminate soil and water, posing a risk to human health and the environment.
Fleet maintenance requires significant resources, including energy, water, and raw materials. The extraction and processing of these resources can have negative impacts on the environment, including habitat destruction, deforestation, and water pollution.
Fleet maintenance activities can be noisy, especially in urban areas. This can have negative impacts on wildlife and human health, contributing to stress and hearing damage.
Land Use and Habitat Destruction
The construction and maintenance of fleet facilities, such as maintenance yards and parking lots, can require significant amounts of land. This can lead to habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity.
Overall, fleet maintenance has significant environmental impacts, and addressing these issues will require a comprehensive approach that includes the adoption of sustainable practices, the use of alternative fuels and technologies, and the implementation of environmentally responsible waste management practices.
7 Eco-Friendly Fleet Maintenance Tips
Aligning a company’s fleet maintenance approach with larger green initiatives and eco-friendly mission statements has never been more practical. Here are several helpful tips and strategies to get you started:
1. Switch to Alternative Fuels
One of the most effective ways to make fleet maintenance more eco-friendly is to switch to alternative fuels. Traditional gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles produce a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Alternative fuels, like electricity, biofuels, and even hydrogen, produce fewer emissions and can help reduce a company’s carbon footprint.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular as a sustainable transportation option. EVs produce zero emissions and are typically much cheaper to maintain than traditional vehicles. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are also an option, producing only water as a byproduct. Biofuels, which are made from renewable sources like corn and soybeans, can also be used in some vehicles.
2. Use Sustainable Products and Materials
In addition to alternative fuels, businesses can also make fleet maintenance more eco-friendly by using sustainable products and materials. Here are some examples:
Biodegradable cleaning products: Traditional cleaning products can contain chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. Biodegradable cleaning products are a more sustainable alternative as they are made from natural, non-toxic ingredients that break down quickly and safely.
Recycled materials: Using recycled materials, such as oil and tires, can help reduce waste and conserve natural resources. Recycled oil can be re-refined and used again, while recycled tires can be turned into rubberized asphalt, which can be used to pave roads.
Eco-friendly lubricants and fluids: Using eco-friendly lubricants and fluids, such as biodegradable hydraulic fluids and biodegradable grease, can help reduce pollution and protect the environment.
Sustainable packaging: When purchasing products and materials for your fleet maintenance, look for sustainable packaging options, such as products that are shipped in recyclable or biodegradable packaging.
By using sustainable products and materials in fleet maintenance, you can help reduce your environmental footprint and promote sustainability.
3. Conduct Regular Preventive Maintenance
Fleet maintenance software can be a powerful tool for managing preventive maintenance as part of a green fleet management strategy. Here are some steps to help you use fleet maintenance software to perform preventative maintenance:
Set up a preventative maintenance schedule: The first step is to set up a maintenance schedule in your fleet maintenance software. This schedule should include regular maintenance tasks such as oil changes, tire rotations, and other routine maintenance tasks that will help keep your vehicles running efficiently and reduce emissions.
Track vehicle usage: Your fleet maintenance software should be able to track vehicle usage, including mileage, hours of operation, and other relevant data. This information can help you schedule maintenance tasks based on actual use rather than just time intervals, which can help reduce unnecessary maintenance and waste.
Use eco-friendly parts and materials: When performing preventive maintenance, make sure to use eco-friendly parts and materials whenever possible. This can include using recycled oil, eco-friendly tires, and other environmentally friendly products.
Monitor fuel consumption: Your fleet maintenance software should also be able to track fuel consumption for each vehicle in your fleet. By monitoring fuel consumption, you can identify inefficiencies and make adjustments to improve fuel economy, which can help reduce emissions.
Analyze data and adjust your strategy: Finally, use the data collected by your fleet maintenance software to analyze your fleet’s performance and adjust your strategy as needed. For example, if certain vehicles are consistently underperforming or require more frequent maintenance, consider replacing them with more fuel-efficient models.
The good news is that implementing fleet management software into your company’s strategy isn’t nearly as challenging or intensive as you might think. Thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning, the upfront setup is much faster and more efficient than you may realize. This allows you to get up and running quickly.
4. Implement More Efficient Routing
Efficient routing is another strategy for making fleet maintenance more sustainable. By optimizing routes, businesses can reduce the amount of fuel their vehicles consume and the emissions they produce. This not only helps the environment but can also save the company money on fuel costs.
GPS and fleet management software can help companies optimize their routes and reduce fuel consumption. These tools can provide real-time data on traffic patterns, road closures, and weather conditions, allowing businesses to make informed decisions about their routes.
5. Promote Better Driver Education
Another important aspect of eco-friendly fleet maintenance is promoting driver education. Drivers who are trained in eco-friendly driving techniques can help reduce fuel consumption and emissions. This includes techniques such as reducing idling time, avoiding sudden accelerations and braking, and maintaining a steady speed.
In addition to driver education, businesses can also encourage their drivers to adopt sustainable habits, such as carpooling and using public transportation when possible. This not only reduces the company’s carbon footprint but can also save employees money on commuting costs.
6. Use Telematics Technology
Telematics technology refers to the use of wireless communication systems and GPS technology to transmit data from vehicles to a remote location. This technology allows businesses to track and monitor the performance of their fleet vehicles, including fuel consumption, emissions, speed, and location.
By collecting this data, telematics technology can help businesses optimize their fleet operations to make them more energy-efficient and green. Here are some of the ways that telematics technology can be used to improve fleet sustainability:
Route Optimization: Telematics systems can provide real-time traffic updates, road closures, and weather conditions to help businesses optimize their vehicle routes. By choosing the most efficient route, fleet managers can reduce fuel consumption and emissions while ensuring on-time deliveries.
Fuel Efficiency Monitoring: Telematics technology can track fuel consumption in real-time, giving fleet managers insights into how their vehicles are performing. By identifying patterns of inefficient driving or idling, businesses can take steps to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
Maintenance Alerts: Telematics technology can also alert businesses when a vehicle is due for maintenance or repairs. By staying on top of maintenance, businesses can ensure that their vehicles are running at peak efficiency.
Driver Behavior Monitoring: Telematics technology can monitor driver behavior, including acceleration, braking, and speed. By identifying patterns of inefficient driving, businesses can provide coaching and training to drivers to help them improve their driving habits.
7. Reduce Vehicle Weight
Reducing the weight of fleet vehicles can also make maintenance more eco-friendly. The heavier a vehicle is, the more fuel it requires to move, which means it will produce more emissions. By reducing the weight of their vehicles, companies can reduce the amount of fuel they consume and the emissions they produce.
This can be achieved by removing unnecessary equipment and cargo from the vehicles, as well as using lightweight materials for vehicle maintenance. For example, aluminum wheels and carbon fiber parts can be used to reduce the weight of the vehicle.
Turn Your Fleet Green
Implementing eco-friendly fleet maintenance practices not only benefits the environment. It can also help businesses save money in the long run. By reducing fuel consumption and emissions, companies can lower their operating costs and improve their reputation as a sustainable business.
Use the tips highlighted above to reorient the way your business approaches fleet maintenance in 2023 and beyond.
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5 Essential Benefits of Choosing an Efficient ERP System
The corporate world is changing at a fast pace, and advanced technologies such as ERP system is at the epicenter of the ongoing digital revolution. Businesses are more dependent on technological tools and enterprise software than ever before. In fact, these tools and software are enabling businesses to drive greater success by enhancing business processes. Are you ensuring that you have the right software and tools to help your business advance swiftly?
There is a plethora of software and solutions to choose from, and each of them comes with its own merits. But what is making a real difference is the integration of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems that can streamline processes across various verticals in an enterprise.
The use of ERP systems defines a new trend altogether in the modern workplace.
Gone are the days when only multinational companies subscribed to ERP solutions for managing processes at the entire enterprise level. Nowadays even small businesses are bridging ERP systems onboard to facilitate business advancement. To validate, as per statistics, the global market size for ERP software is expected to reach USD 96.7 billion by 2024. Finances Online further explains that more than 52 percent of organizations are highly satisfied with the decision of integrating ERP systems.
Probing further, vertical ERP, small business ERP, generalist ERP, and Open Source ERP is among the most common types of ERP software that businesses are integrating. Moreover, it is also notable that most organizations are showing a keen interest in Cloud-Based SasS ERP systems, given the edge they have over traditional ERP.
All in all, the integration of ERP systems has become one of the most sought-after change management activities in the corporate world. The question is, what are the advantages of ERP software that businesses are subscribing to ERP solutions? Let us find out in this blog.
Key benefits of ERP Systems for businesses
1. Massive optimization of productivity
The ultimate objective of every enterprise is to drive the highest productivity across every vertical. However, when your employees work on recurring and repetitive tasks, not only their individual productivity takes a hit, but the efficiency of the entire organization takes a setback. This explains why businesses increasingly spend on automation tools to streamline repetitive tasks like invoicing. Even marketing automation is one of the thriving corporate trends.
All in all, the greater the automation in an enterprise the higher will be the productivity. Having said that, this is where we must look at one of the greatest benefits of integrating ERP systems. To substantiate, ERP systems come with incredible and reliable automation capabilities that can help your organization achieve its business objectives at a greater pace.
Moreover, with AI integrations as per the latest developments, the automation capabilities of ERP systems are much higher than ever before. To substantiate, as per Netsuite, employers are now happily investing in advanced ERP solutions that come with intelligent AI or machine learning capabilities.
Needless to say, artificial intelligence is the way forward for enterprises, and the blend of ERP and AI is worth embracing. This combination will certainly give your business an unparalleled competitive advantage.
2. Real-time analytics
Having timely access to analytics that can help you constantly enhance processes is nothing short of having a competitive advantage. In fact, everything in the modern enterprise world revolves around analytics. From analytics on customer engagement to analytics on inventory management gaps, you need analytics at almost every step.
This is where ERP comes up with another great feature that you should definitely not ignore. An efficient ERP system can generate real-time quantitative analytics that can lead to better planning, execution, and monitoring. Besides, the best part is that with an ERP, you can create data analytics capabilities in your businesses without even having to hire a dedicated team for data analytics.
Moreover, real-time analytics will also ensure that there is a smoother workflow management and will also aid in effective collaboration between teams. Especially if your project teams work remotely, it is essential that there is real-time sharing of data analytics for project success. ERP does not only automate data generation but also data reporting in a presentable and lucid form. However, in the ultimate sense, the positive impact of ERP is subject to the efficiency of your change management process.
3. Greater cost-efficiency in operations
Irrespective of whether you are a budding startup or an established business, operational costs will always be a top concern for you. The correlation is quite simple, the lower the operational costs the higher will be the profitability. Now, the question is, can ERP help you in bringing down operational costs? Well, the answer is a big yes and it is time you acknowledge that.
To validate, as per Datix, ERP solutions can help organizations reduce operational costs by 23 percent. This clearly indicates that you can save a major chunk of operational costs by investing in the best-in-class ERP solution. The sooner you bring ERP onboard, the greater the savings.
4. Magnification of data security
It is a well-known fact that the contemporary corporate world has a massive dependence on big data. Every business process in the modern corporate world has data engineering and analytics at the forefront of things. Data security has become a top concern, especially when cyber-attacks and data breaches are more advanced than ever before.
One of the most compelling reasons why your business needs ERP is the set of advanced data security features. When an ERP is integrated into business processes, you can set controls for accessibility to confidential data. To explain, you can control who can access sensitive information and who cannot.
Otherwise, in the absence of an ERP system, you will have to spend fortunes on cyber security and data security solutions. ERP gives you multidimensional benefits of optimized business processes along with credible data security measures.
5. Enhanced flexibility
Does your organization have a traditional on-site working style or a hybrid working style? Are you planning to move your employees to permanent work from home? ERP gives you great flexibility irrespective of your organization’s working style. Simply put, ERP can be easily integrated even in remote working cultures or hybrid cultures and will also help you to avoid employee burnout (seodiggerz dotcom “help employees avoid burnout). You can implement an ERP system with great ease and put it to work from the word go.
Besides, ERP systems also offer great flexibility in terms of future scalability. If your business is expanding and you want to add more users in the future, ERP systems offer the room to do so. Room to expand has to be the most important feature you should be looking for when you choose an ERP system. Not every ERP system may come with an effective scope of future scalability. Still, you will find a lot of ERP systems that do offer scalability features and you must choose from them.
ERP systems are changing the way businesses approach their operations and key objectives. Besides, ERP is much more than a planning resource and offers immense value in terms of optimizing business processes.
Integrating ERP for your business can be a real game changer. The sooner you subscribe to it, the more advantageous it will prove to be for your business. Make sure you choose an ERP software that is best suited for your enterprise.
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Choosing A Bank For Your Startup: Here’s Some Things To Consider
As a newly established startup, there are some key elements that your business requires to ensure your short and long-term success. A well-detailed business plan, a launch plan, early funding, and the right talent and equity from founders are all among the basic ingredients that can help get a startup off the ground.
Aside from the basics, finding the right bank, and pairing it with the right bank account is a consideration many startup entrepreneurs and small business owners often overlook during the initial induction phase of their company.
Following the collapse of California-based bank, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), in early March 2023, startups and organizations that were caught in the middle of the catastrophe showed many other entrepreneurs and new business owners the importance of partnering with the right financial institution.
Although the fall of SVB has sent shockwaves across the economy and banking sector, for many small startups it’s crucial to find the right bank that offers them a range of tailor-made products and services. Banks that equip businesses with the right tools and resources, other than financial support and backing, can help small startups leverage financial capital to build towards a long-term goal.
While the broader economy is still battling with stubbornly high inflation and soaring interest rates, startup owners will need to consider some key aspects when choosing a bank for their business going forward.
When it comes to finding the right bank for your business, size matters, and in this case, the authority a bank has within the financial system.
Many large banks often provide capital resources for specific businesses depending on their industries. In some instances, more established banks will often have a range of products and services that cater to a wide variety of businesses, regardless of whether they are early biotech startups or small-scale eCommerce businesses.
Although smaller community banks may be centered around the direct market, focussing on providing businesses in the area with the right capital and resources, it’s often riskier to place long-term bets on these institutions, especially if you’re considering expanding in the coming months or years.
Look for banks that have a longstanding track record of operations, and have provided customers with the right services to get their business going.
Location. Location. Location
Another thing to consider is the location of the bank. If you reside in a rural part of the country and have limited access to bank branches and ATMs, you might want to consider partnering with a bank that’s widely available in your area.
Although a lot of today’s banking is done online, for small startups and businesses it’s a safer option to choose a bank that they can directly find in their area in case of any disputes or discrepancies.
Different Products And Services
As already mentioned, not all banks will offer the same type of services to their clients. Some providers will have a range of businesses-related products, with less focus on individual banking solutions.
Then some banks may offer attractive business loans at low-interest rates, but product selection may be somewhat limited. The easiest way to approach this is to list a few services you may require for your business and to match this with a bank that can provide you with the right solutions at affordable pricing.
Fees And Costs
Another thing that comes to mind when choosing a bank is how much you will end up paying in fees and additional bank account charges. There are no standardized or base-level fees for opening bank accounts, and prices will differ across the board.
In some cases, banks will have pricing structures that are designed to cater to small businesses and new startups. Typically these services and products have more affordable fees, less additional costs, and come with a limited selection of banking services.
With so much of the banking and financial ecosystem relying on digital infrastructure, it’s important to think about how these digital features will enhance your business, its performance, and forward-going growth.
For startups, it’s always better to side with a bank that provides them with native digital tools such as a banking platform for online transactions, and other digital integrations. These services not only make it a lot easier for startups and small businesses to communicate with institutions, but it also gives them direct and on-demand access to the tools they require in their day-to-day operations.
Navigating ongoing interest rate hikes has been a challenge for many new startups and businesses, especially for those that have taken out loans during the early months of the pandemic when interest rates were near zero percent.
Now that the so-called free-cash era is over, it’s difficult to find a financial institution that can provide businesses and individuals with interest rates that can help them grow their savings.
Online banks often provide more attractive interest rates, but these should be approached with caution, especially for new and young businesses. Shop around, and see which bank can offer you the best possible interest-rate deal. Not only will this help you find the most applicable bank, but it’s also a way to weigh out different options.
Customer service is another aspect worth considering. Some banks don’t have brick-and-mortar stores and purely rely on digital communication such as instant messaging, chatbots, and artificial intelligence (AI).
If you’re comfortable with using these tools to resolve any problems or issues before being put in contact with a human agent, consider your options carefully.
You’ll want to make sure that you have access to the best customer service agents to help you resolve any disputes or answer any queries. On top of this, some banks may provide around-the-clock service, while others may limit these operations to designated business hours.
Check Your Credit
A low credit score may often mean you have access to a limited range of products and services. On the other hand, the opposite is true for those individuals that have a higher credit score.
Larger banks will often want to partner with business owners and their companies that have a stronger line of credit. Other smaller community-orientated banks may be more lenient towards locals that have lower credit scores.
Your credit score will impact which loans you can apply for and what interest rate is offered to you. It’s often advised for startup entrepreneurs and small business owners to check the credit requirements of their banks and to see whether or not they qualify for the necessary services they require.
Finding the right bank for your startup at a time when household names are falling apart can leave any business owner and startup entrepreneur feeling uneasy. Having a few options is always better, and making sure that you partner with the right people that will help your business grow while fostering a longstanding relationship is crucial for any young startup.
Consider the needs of the business, and how the services and products these banks offer can match them. It’s best to shop around at first, to widen your options and to see what is available.
The more information you have, and know what you want for your startup, the easier it will be to find a bank that checks all the boxes and delivers financial services specifically tailored for your new business.
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