Automation as a solution to the shortage of skilled workers and high personnel costs

Voit, Stefan | 28.02.2023
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The shortage of skilled workers and high personnel costs are increasing the need for automated processes to simplify day-to-day operations. This allows routine tasks to be handled in a more resource-efficient manner, leaving more time for technically demanding and quality-assuring activities.

How to successfully counteract the shortage of skilled workers with process automation

The shortage of skilled workers is not a new challenge for companies and organizations. Nevertheless, in times of increasing specialization and technologization, it continues to come to a head and hardly leaves out any industry. Meanwhile, according to Deloitte’s chief economist Alexander Börsch, the shortage of skilled workers is once again the biggest risk for companies; followed by rising raw material costs, increasing regulation as well as energy costs.

Therefore, one possibility to close skills and labor gaps that is becoming more and more important is the intelligent automation of business processes. At the same time, there is criticism behind closed doors about this trend toward automation. However, a shift in thinking is needed here to the effect that (partially) automated processes support employees and do not replace them. More than ever, the demand for automation has the primary goal of continuing to ensure productivity and effectiveness despite the prevailing shortage of personnel.

Recurring administrative tasks require more time and tie up more personnel resources than is often assumed. This not only affects IT departments, but also purchasing, HR, warehousing and logistics, for example. Precisely timed processes, including just-in-sequence deliveries, are daily practice, especially in the manufacturing industry. Since these activities always follow fixed rules and the same pattern, a standardized—and thus automatable—workflow is ideal here.

How process modeling with BPMN 2.0 promotes process understanding

In order to be able to recognize and establish the existing automation potentials in the company, the individual processes must be examined in detail. The process modeling standard BPMN 2.0 is the internationally established solution for digitally mapping frequently recurring (repetitive) processes in a company. BPMN is a visual modeling language that ensures cross-system compatibility. Such modeling offers the advantage that business processes within the organization are viewed as a whole. This creates a better overview of the processes and identifies all process participants.

The great advantage of pictorially represented processes lies in the clarity of the representation. The workflow, including dependencies, can be seen at a glance by all those involved. When redesigning a BPMN model, it is advisable to involve the operational level in time, since processes are often lived differently in practice than specified. BPMN models thus improve process understanding and are the basis for automating business processes.

Advantages of process modeling with BPMN 2.0

  • Support for complex decisions
  • Concrete target definitions (measurable performance of individual work steps)
  • Visualization of processes
  • Increased transparency and understanding for all process participants
  • Cross-departmental collaboration

How can the desired simplifications in the workflow be realized?

The workflows created in the BPMN models are then executed automatically by using the BPMN software. The engine monitors error-free and fast process execution. It informs the relevant employees about tasks to be completed, activates external data systems and executes tasks directly. Thus, no step is forgotten and the execution sequence is controlled. Another advantage of process models is that the current processing status is displayed. Supervisors can see what state the process is in and which department is currently processing the task. Processes thus run according to a defined scheme. All parties involved receive increased transparency of their areas of activity—with simultaneous automated execution of individual substeps.

BPMN is the technical basis for the digitalization of workflows.

Would you like to learn more about BPMN? We have explained the most important BPMN elements for you in a comprehensible way.

What is BPMN?


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