Automation is about robotics and machines that can take over repetitive tasks. But it’s also about intangible processes that can be accomplished by programmable software. The introduction of automation in the business industry is making ripples towards the future — and it’s not stopping anytime soon.
Small and large businesses can greatly benefit from automating their processes because of the ability it has to change the workplace dynamics. The most important thing to remember about automation is that it’s not contained in one specific form but many manifestations.
The main purpose of automation is to free up human resources from doing repetitive and easily replicable tasks. This is where software or machines can perform best because they can take care of the tasks while the human workforce focuses on more complicated processes.
Automating processes can be exciting, but it can also cost a lot upfront. That’s why it’s essential to make the transition slowly so that your finances won’t suffer. If you don’t know where to start with automation, then you can refer to this 3-step method to help you ease your business into the technology.
Step 1: Identify which processes can be automated
You can’t automate everything, or at least not yet. So until that day comes, you will have to deal with automating your processes one at a time. To clearly identify which areas of business will benefit the most from automation, you need to take a step back and look through your daily operations.
You can pinpoint which tasks are repetitive and can be easily replicated by a machine. For instance, your customer service department can face the same questions and queries regarding your business every day, which can be a waste of resources.
Instead of employing multiple people in that department, you can use chat robots or chatbots to answer your customers’ inquiries. You can also program this consumer-facing tool to redirect customers to an actual human who can answer their questions if the chatbot’s knowledge is insufficient.
Identifying which processes you can automate will help you grow your business quicker. This is because you can reassign your workforce to handle the more complex processes once you remove the mundane tasks from their duties without hiring more people.
Step 2: Get the necessary tools or equipment for automation
For the automation to work flawlessly, you will need the right parts, tools, software, or equipment to do the job. What you will need depends greatly on the processes you will automate, so make sure that you have identified them before you spend your hard-earned money.
Not all automation is intangible. In fact, many businesses in the manufacturing industry have turned to automation to streamline their processes. These solutions can increase efficiency, save manpower, and reduce the operational costs of production.
For example, if you’re using various machines controlled by a human operator for manufacturing your products, then you can benefit from upgrading your machine to one with a pneumatic actuator. This utilizes pressurized air or gas that can convert energy into controllable motions.
Actuators can allow you to program repetitive motions within the machine, such as opening and closing valves, moving conveyor belts, or positioning parts of a whole product. This means that you will no longer need a human to operate the machine and can instead oversee the processes from time to time.
Step 3: Designate your available workforce to other areas of business
Once you have successfully adapted your daily operations with the automated processes, you will have more free hands because the employees who were previously assigned to the tasks are now available. This means that you can accommodate more complex tasks and train your employees to perform them.
You might need to invest some time training your employees in the reassignment, but it will still be more cost-efficient because you won’t have to hire new people to perform the new tasks. Through automation, you will be able to utilize your workforce better.
Since automation, at the core, uses technology to solve menial and repetitive functions in the workplace, you can maximize the potential it has to grow your business. Automating your processes will allow you to perform other tasks that add value to the business simultaneously with the repetitive ones.
Transitioning from traditional to technologically innovative processes can be frightening, especially because there’s the factor of displacing human laborers in exchange for machines with lower margins of error. However, adapting to the market demands is necessary to grow your business and succeed in the industry.