Efficiency through automation

Lockdown forced us to rethink the way we operate our business. The barrier of procrastination has been removed and we’ve had to adopt new technology and automate our processes.

Technology exists to increase efficiency, but it can be a double-edged sword. When you apply automation to an efficient operation, it will magnify the efficiency. However, automating an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. In other words, we must first ensure our systems and processes are efficient before introducing automation.

Review all of your existing technology, processes and systems to determine any that are obsolete. For example, texting for business is now the norm; instead of calling customers to remind them of an appointment, first send an automated text message asking them to reply ‘yes’ to confirm attendance. This will reduce time spent on follow ups and no-shows.

There are many benefits of improved systemisation and technology adoption:

1. Leverage. Getting more done with less effort (e.g. automated monthly management reporting systems).
2. Consistency. Guaranteeing output quality (e.g. a templated proposal or pricing tool).
3. Efficiency. Automating manual tasks using technology (e.g. auto-coding of transactions using Xero).
4. Risk management. Removing the risk of human error (e.g. an automated bank reconciliation).
5. Scalability. Systemising processes to enable growth without increasing your workload (e.g. a point of sale cashbook system).
6. Saleability. Increasing the value of your business by automating as much as possible.
7. Induction and training. Minimising hands-on training by having robust systems for new team members to follow.

The cost (and disruption) of any new technology or automation must be clearly outweighed by the benefit or time saving. Don’t adopt shiny new technology for the sake of it.

In order to achieve these benefits and avoid systems or processes which serve no useful purpose, it’s important to complete a full technology review. We recommend you do this as part of your Business Recovery Plan which reviews all business improvement opportunities, including in the technology department. Call us for more information.

“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese Proverb

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