3 Great Reasons To Automate Your Business
Is automation the future and how can you integrate this into your business?
You may have seen the recent news that Grocery giant, Ocado have started to invest in automation. They’ve just recently dropped $13.8 million into Oxbotica – an autonomous driving start up from the UK. Earlier this month, Ocado and autonomous fulfilment start up, Kroger also celebrated the launch of their first robotic ‘shed’. Kroger’s robots are capable of fulfilling orders equivalent to the sales volumes of 20 stores!
It may seem like Ocado is throwing a lot of money around, but when you think that 10% of the total cost of a grocery delivery comes from the logistics, it’s clear to see why they’re playing the long game.
Ocado is known for their forward-thinking nature. It’s sort of their thing. They’re a good example of why businesses should be looking to automation.
So, let’s take a look at 3 great reasons why you should start using automation in your business and how to get started. Here we go:
1. Time = Money
Yes, we have all heard that and honestly, nothing kills a blog-post faster than a cliché, but stick with me for a minute! When was the last time you actually sat down to look at the maths behind that equation? Let’s do a quick exercise…
- The small, mundane or seemingly insignificant tasks that you and your team do.
- How often those tasks are performed in a week (if they are performed by multiple people, add up the total).
- How many minutes it takes to do those tasks.
Now the fun part (alright, I know it’s not fun, but let’s just get through it.)
- For each task, multiply the total number of times that task is performed by the duration it takes to complete it (in minutes).
- Take the average annual salary of an employee and then divide that by 117,000 – this is how many minutes there are in a working week (yes, I did Google that.)
- Multiply the total number of minutes spent on those tasks by the pay-per-minute rate of your employee. This gives you the weekly cost of all those tasks.
- Now for the grand finalé. Multiply the weekly amount by 52 to get your yearly cost.
Now look – I’m not trying to teach you how to suck an egg here (whatever that means). You probably already know this deep down, but I just wanted to bring this figure into focus and get you thinking about it. Every year that you put off automating these common processes, you’re just wasting money.
The chances are that your business is very complex, so writing down a few examples like we did above isn’t going to cut it. In order to really pinpoint where you have automation opportunities, my recommendation would be to go and get yourself a process mapping consultation.
This way you’ll be able to get a full overview of what’s being done, by who, how long it takes, how often it’s being done and where automation opportunities might sit.
2. The Perfect Employee-Bot
Now. I’m not trying to conjure up visions of the Terminator movies here – but there is a big case for automation when you consider it like an extra employee. Once you have trained your automation to do what you want and set it off on its tasks it becomes the ultimate employee.
Automation never sleeps. It’ll work for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It’s never going to be sick or need to take time off for the kids.
Automation is always paying attention to its tasks. No missed emails or delays because it was too busy.
Automation can multi-task so well that it can actually do two things at once – can you say the same for a human employee?
Automation isn’t going to complain about doing the same mundane tasks over and over. It’s just happy to be performing its assigned function.
And the big one:
Automation doesn’t engage in awkward small talk and tell you about how awesome its bank holiday weekend was.
3. Laser Precision
I’m sure that you’ve all fallen afoul of this before – people make mistakes. When it comes to manually entering data or human intervention in a process: `to err is human`.
Automation can also work to manipulate your data for you. For example, if anything needs to be worked out, aggregated or otherwise mathematised, automation can do this in a flash! Giving your automated system the functionality to do this often cuts out yet another spreadsheet that you’re using (and we’ll talk about ditching those in another post).
When people are manually entering data into a system, it’s so easy to make a mistake. A typo, a wrong number, the wrong data in the wrong field. Putting a decimal in the wrong place could cost you your job! By using automation for capturing and passing data around your system, you’re going to reduce the chances that a mistake will be made along the way.
You can also use automation to implement checks and balances. Having automated processes that sense-check your information will have a huge impact on cutting down the necessity for human intervention. Software companies have been using automation for a long time to perform testing (such as unit testing) to ensure that their code functions and returns the results that they would expect it to.
Getting started with automating your business isn’t always straightforward. There are a lot of questions: “What should I automate?”, “What software should I use.”, “Can I automate using my legacy systems?” and the list goes on.
My wholehearted recommendation would be to have a chat with someone like Rob from A2Z who’s a business consultant that specialises in process mapping. Not only because I’m targeted on getting new leads, but because he’s a wizard when it comes to this stuff.
However, if you’re not ready to go there yet, here are some things that you’ll need to get started:
- Take a look at your business and start to understand each of your processes. Work out who they’re being done by, how long they take and why they’re being done.
- Try to identify tasks that are mundane or repetitive. An example of this might be manually creating reports each month or sending our emails to new clients.
- Once you’ve identified what tasks you’d like to automate, start to review the software that’s available. This step is a little tricky as there are a lot of options out there. It’s important to make sure that you get a demo of the software and have a clear understanding of the features and pricing.
- Find a deployment partner. Unless you’ve got the in-house skills to hook up your systems and initiate all this automation, you’re going to need to find a good partner. Make sure that you do a little research and get in touch with them to find out if they’re going to be a good fit.
And now you can just kick back and relax as your automation starts to do its thing.
Why not read our blog for some free insights or get in touch with us if you have questions.