4 Benefits from Automation

When workers think about automation in business, it is often with trepidation, if not outright fear and scorn. That is because the natural conclusion we tend to draw is that robots and automated processes will replace workers, decrease employment, or at least decrease employment among lower-skilled workers.

Fortunately, that does not necessarily have to be the case. This immediate line of thinking misses much of the larger picture. If implemented optimally, automation not only leads to more jobs, but also to better experiences and opportunities for employees overall. Not to mention, the benefits for businesses can be huge (not least of all because of the improved situation for employees).

The following article details four overarching benefits that automation can bring to businesses.

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Increased Output

Most business owners want to know whether automation will increase output before making disruptive changes.

Such an outcome is the ultimate aim of automation and is likely for those who implement it wisely. Otherwise, the topic would not be as popular or widely touted as it is currently. Automating various jobs and processes does lead to increased output and faster growth in most cases.

For example, when a position or task is automated, it might replace jobs in the short term. But because a company can serve more customers at lower cost and with greater efficiency, profits can expand along with the size of the business. That can lead to more hiring than would have been possible before automation.

The following is a subset of benefits from automation that contribute to increased output.

Enhanced Employee Productivity

What automated systems do best is assume repetitive, tedious, and low-skill tasks. Such tasks are usually part and parcel of many human jobs. However, they bog down workers. Tediousness takes time and energy away from the higher-level, more cognitive aspects of work.

Thus, introducing automation can free up workers’ time and increase productivity. Generally, automation of repetition in the workplace will augment existing jobs. It even spurs the creation of new positions in some cases with the spare talent, time, and money leftover.

Reduced Costs & Inefficiencies

Placing minor but time-consuming work in the hands of machines has the additional benefit of making that work more cost-effective and efficient. Often, robots or software can complete such work in a fraction of the time as their human counterparts. That dramatically reduces the costs incurred daily, monthly, and yearly. Meanwhile, the business achieves the same if not better outcomes.

Additionally, these tasks become scalable in ways they would not have been before. If your invoices are automated, it is much easier and less cause for worry to dramatically increase the volume of that work in a short time (compared to needing employees to make that adjustment manually).

Higher Quality

Another key benefit of automation is the improved quality of the products or services that are no longer the sole responsibility of people.

Here are some ways that automation in the workplace results in quality advancements.

Minimizes Errors

One issue with making repetitive tasks a person’s job is that it is likely to cause fatigue. Fatigue contributes to mistakes and inconsistent levels of quality in service and production. Even on our best days, human error is unavoidable. So are lapses in efficiency and delays.

Automation smooths out many processes typically blighted with occasional mistakes by people, which also helps to reduce the stress and workload on everyone involved. You can eliminate redundancies since there is no need to double-check work. Plus, businesses avoid the fallout costs of errors, including needing to appease customers when something goes awry.

Happier Clients/Customers

Better quality work and efficiency naturally translate into a more satisfied customer base. When you can meet client needs more quickly (and with a higher degree of accuracy), you will win their appreciation while reducing the possibility of losing business to your competitors.

A customer calling and asking about their account or asking for a document to be sent to them repeatedly are common scenarios across many businesses. Automated systems can ensure that you never lose critical paperwork. Instead, it is always at your fingertips, no matter when the phone rings. That helps make interactions more convenient and relatively painless to customers when compared with the alternative (employees rifling through their own flawed filing systems).

Stronger Company Brand

Quality improvements due to automation contribute to a company’s brand image overall. Naturally, this has a significant impact on customers and their decision to engage or not, but it also affects hiring. Job candidates and employees who enjoy a frictionless, clear, and quick application process will be more likely to think higher of the brand and inspire others to consider your company when they next look for work.

Better Safety/ Security

A third benefit of automation is its potential to greatly enhance safety and security in the work environment.

Physical Safety

In factory or industrial settings, allowing robots to handle the riskier elements of a job can protect human workers from physical harm. The types of dangerous situations that automation can improve include:

  • Welding
  • Work involving moving blades
  • Heavy-lifting
  • Chemical exposure
  • Environments where hazardous materials are stored

When businesses recruit automated systems to work with hazardous materials or equipment, it dramatically reduces the potential for grievous injuries to human workers on the job. Instead, they can oversee these systems under safer conditions or turn their attention to more complex, benign tasks.

Office Security

Most of us are familiar with antivirus software, but even more sophisticated options now exist that can handle next-level cybersecurity issues. For example, you can invest in machine-learning programs which monitor the e-mails of everyone in your company and identify anomalies that may indicate a budding cyberattack. It would take countless person-hours for employees to perform this function, and they would likely not pick up on subtle pattern changes as AI security software does.

Better Compliance

Computer systems and automation are enormously beneficial in the realm of compliance. Companies utilize tech programs to streamline everything from project management to accounting. One of the best things about integrating technology this way is that it enables fantastic record-keeping, which can be essential for regulatory compliance. Furthermore, simply changing a rate in a software program or allowing automatic updates will ensure that your company can keep up with all regulatory changes. That virtually eliminates the risk of anything falling through the cracks due to human error.

Better Employee Experience

While employees are the group that the public fears will be most disadvantaged, they may stand to gain the most. These are ways that automation directly betters employees’ work experiences:

Increased Happiness

Automating mundane tasks can lead to greater job satisfaction and happiness while working. When you reassign those tasks, all that is left is the creative, cerebral, and dynamic assignments, which help employees feel more valued and fulfilled. Happier employees are more productive, so this is a win-win for them and the employer.

And the good news doesn’t stop there. Positive attitudes in the workplace tend to be infectious (just like negative attitudes). Thus, the ‘good vibes’ may proliferate beyond just the initial impact of an automation advance. This effect can extend to new employees, as they may view the company more favorably if surrounded by pleasant coworkers. All this contributes to better employee retention, which reduces costs from hiring and open positions.

Saves Employees’ Time

Research suggests that many employees spend multiple hours each day on administrative work, even if their overall job should be higher-functioning. Tasks such as labeling, responding to endless emails, searching for information, filing paperwork, and processing documents can all be managed faster and with fewer errors through automation. That saves a lot of time for employees and helps prevent them from becoming bored and burnt out.

Better Hiring, Onboarding, and Interview Experience

A lot can be said about how automation improves the long-term work environment for established employees, but it would be a mistake to overlook how it impacts the hiring process. Companies can benefit from systems that track applications and directly manage the initial candidate-sorting phases. That can save recruitment teams a lot of time and effort while winnowing down to the best-fit applicants. These processes also respect the time and energy of applicants, since fewer of them experience a long waiting period with low chances of acceptance.

Turnover most often occurs within the first month or so after an employee is hired. Onboarding software that gradually guides a new hire until they reach the point of full productivity addresses this problem. Automation helps in this scenario partly because the software will clearly map out the path to progress for the employee, note when they reach milestones, and keep everyone who needs to know informed. That kind of communication and organization is both reassuring and useful, boosting workers’ success through onboarding and beyond.

Conclusion

Automating can seem like a daunting prospect to many companies because it typically requires a high initial investment. That is true whether it involves implementing a whole new software suite or purchasing expensive machinery.

However, the long-term benefits can greatly overshadow the short-term pinch. Savings from additional time, greater efficiency, fewer errors, and happier, more productive employees add up.

Businesses that make this leap stand a better chance of growing profits and expanding than their competitors. Therefore, it is well worth it for corporate leaders to examine where their organizations need improvement, whether an automated solution exists, and if it is warranted. Doing so could be instrumental to removing unnecessary roadblocks and unlocking previously unattained goals.

What roadblocks is your company facing? Have you looked into the ways automation could possibly assist you? Now might be a great time to start!

Billy

Web Developer

Billy is a Wordpress Developer with an eye for design. His knowledge will help our company website and client sites meet their goals. Billy and his young family have just moved to Ashland Oregon, and are looking forward to exploring the area’s amazing beer, wine, and food. He also has a passion for synthesizers and drum machines.

Lucas Sant'Anna

Developer

With a background in Operations Research and Data Analysis, Lucas is a Brazilian programmer that likes to get stuff done quickly and reliably. In previous jobs, he implemented industrial job scheduling, fleet management and detailed long-haul route optimization – among other data-driven processes – to reach objectives of increased profit and reduced wasted resources. His goal is to make Zoho fully automated and with more meaningful data for spot-on decisions.

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