Partially or completely automating some of your operational activities is an excellent way to improve efficiency and productivity.
In fact, it is essential for your company if you want to be competitive in your niche.
Before you can determine the best ways to implement automation in your business, you should understand how this type of technology has historically been used.
The Beginnings of Automation
While some basic automation was used in ancient Egypt, the use of automation became more prevalent during the Industrial Revolution.
Early automation in the 17th century was used in grain mills but soon spread to steam engines, furnaces and more.
In addition to bolstering output and productivity, it also helped worker safety. After all, when dangerous tasks were automated, the human factor previously needed to complete those tasks was free to do safer work.
Automation also had other beneficial impacts for employers and employees alike. Because it bolstered productivity and efficiency, the work week was reduced.
The typical work week around 1900 was 70 hours per week, and from then, it was gradually reduced to today’s 40 hours.
You can see that automation has had a huge impact on business operations across the board. It spread from the physical to the digital sphere. Today, businesses can take advantage of the benefits of automation.
Benefits of Automation Software
While the main use of automation is still in the realm of manufacturing, robotics, and automating routine processes in an industrial environment, it has also transcended into the digital realm.
Today’s automation is most commonly accomplished by utilizing various software solutions that aid businesses do more in less time.
For example, automation in email marketing, social media marketing, invoicing, climate control, online shopping carts, phone customer service and many other tasks helps to do more, get actionable insights and make data-driven decisions.
When you take a closer look at many types of automation software that are currently available, you will see that there are important and beneficial ways to automate most aspects of your operations.
In addition to enabling faster completion of tasks, it also benefits by providing:
1. Increase in Productivity
Without the automation of many regular activities, you and your team would need to complete all of your various operations and activities manually. Manual activities are generally more time-consuming and labor-intensive.
Therefore, by automating essential tasks, your skilled professionals have more free time available to work on other tasks.
Essentially, more work can be completed in less time on a very regular basis.
In some cases, this increase in productivity improves turnaround time, which can have a positive impact on customer service, your business’s reputation and on your company’s bottom line in different ways.
2. Higher-Quality Organization
Through the automation of repetitive processes in your business, you are forced to take a closer look at the flow of processes throughout the operation.
This enables you to identify where bottlenecks are in the processes so that they can be improved.
Consider how Henry Ford automated the car-making process through assembly line production. He was able to reorganize the entire auto-making process and automate many aspects of it in the process.
By doing so, he reduced the production time of a typical vehicle from 12 hours down to 90 minutes.
The rest of the industry followed Ford’s lead in an effort to remain competitive, and other industries adopted this type of automation method as well.
Essentially, automation forces you to improve process organization in different ways.
3. The Efficiency of Operations and More Output
When Ford automated vehicle production, the team could produce eight cars in the time that it previously took them to produce only one car. You can see that automating processes has a dramatic improvement on production.
This may bolster output without dramatically affecting operational costs. This improved efficiency of operations may bolster profits. In the case of Ford and other companies that adopted automation earlier, they had a strategic benefit.
Automation is mainstream and the norm now, so companies that are not actively taking advantage of its benefits may not be competitive in their industry.
4. Increased Reliability
When your team performs repetitive tasks regularly, they may lose focus or get bored. This can lead to errors, which can be costly in different ways. For example, when you need to go back and fix mistakes, time, energy, and even financial resources may be wasted.
Customer satisfaction could also be negatively affected by poor reliability.
Through automation, however, production is consistent. Quality remains high while output also increases. There is no need to backtrack and fix mistakes that have been made because they are none.
More than that quality is consistent, and this can play a role in your customers’ positive perception of your products.
You can see that reliability has a huge impact on profits, customer satisfaction, and efficiency.
5. Better Performance and Scalability
As your business grows, demand will increase. You are faced with the difficult task of finding ways for your team to work more efficiently and to perform tasks at a faster rate without sacrificing quality. More than that, you need to do so in a manner that does not overburden your resources.
Automation enables scalability.
You can ramp up production when demand is high, and you can scale down production when demand is lower. This enables you to more efficiently meet demand.
You may think that automation mostly pertains to industrial production, but this is not the case.
Automation can be used in general office operations.
If your business is not currently taking advantage of automation in critical ways, there is a good chance that your operations are not as efficient and productive as possible.
Technology is constantly evolving and improving.
Now is an excellent time to explore automation possibilities that are available and well-suited for your business activities and processes.