Automation is the future for many areas of business. From manufacturing to marketing and everything in between, few roles are left untouched by the ever-growing presence of robots, artificial intelligence (AI), and other automation technologies.
For business leaders, this shift toward automation can lead to incredibly positive results and help you overcome common challenges your business faces. When employees no longer have to work on repetitive tasks each day, they can use the time they gain to contribute to more creative or dynamic work. They can take on roles that only humans are capable of. However, these large changes can be difficult to implement, especially if employees resist them.
So how can you make your move toward a more heavily automated business? Here are some tips for managing the implementation of automation in your business.
SPEEDING UP WAREHOUSE PROCESSES
In recent years, warehousing has become a heavily automated process. Since many tasks related to storage and shipment don’t require specialized skills, this is a simple area to begin your automation efforts – and the technologies you choose can be some of the smartest investments you make for your efficiency.
Warehouse automation can help you achieve a variety of goals, so choosing a specific objective is key to achieving a focused implementation of new technologies. Robotics and AI play a crucial role in warehouse automation and come with many benefits, including improved organization, increased productivity, and enhanced employee safety. Similarly, automation can also improve inventory management by automatically determining when inventory is too low or too high.
Focusing on a single goal can help your business stay financially healthy. Robots for warehouses are often costly purchases, so it may be more effective to completely automate a single aspect of warehousing than to spread your budget thin trying to transform your whole warehouse.
AUTOMATING KEY BUSINESS TASKS
Automation doesn’t just mean robots packing boxes and shipping or storing them away. It can also be as simple as automated welcome emails for new clients or tasks that instantly get assigned to team members. No matter what your budget looks like or what industry you work in, implementing workflow automation is another great way to make your business more efficient.
Workflow automation is all about setting up digital tasks to complete themselves. This includes tasks like automatically sending out marketing emails and fielding consumer questions with a chatbot on your website. Certain tools can be paired with different software solutions and apps, which can help automate tasks when direct integrations aren’t possible.
To choose the right workflows to automate, consider what tasks you do frequently. You should also think about rote and time-consuming tasks. These are typically the best candidates for automation.
GETTING MORE FROM YOUR BUSINESS DATA
AI is more advanced than ever before, which means it’s capable of far more than simple tasks. AI can also be effective at identifying patterns in data, which means it can improve your business analytics and help you draw more useful insights from the information you already have available. As a result, your team can quickly identify what steps they need to take to achieve their goals and spend less time on trial and error.
However, it’s important to recognize that this use of AI can be highly disruptive for companies and their employees. For instance, the role and responsibilities of business analysts may change significantly as they learn how to work with AI. Keep in mind that while some employees will embrace these changes, others may find it difficult to make the transition. This illustrates the importance of ensuring your team is adequately prepared for the future automation of your company, which may be inevitable for every business.
PREPARING EMPLOYEES FOR AUTOMATION
Before automating any of your business processes, give your employees time to prepare for the upcoming changes. After all, some workers are concerned that AI will take over their jobs completely. If your employees are blindsided by the quick switch to automation, they may end up feeling unprepared or start to disengage from their work.
Investing in upskilling your employees before you spend money on automation is key to a well-prepared team. Upskilling involves training your employees to gain additional skills, often including higher-level ones that involve strategic thought. When employees are upskilled, they’re better able to contribute to your company when automation takes over some of their rote tasks. On top of helping your employees avoid layoffs, this can help your company move forward without experiencing turnover, which – between severance pay, recruitment, hiring, and onboarding – can be costly.
Employees should also be briefed on any changing expectations for their duties, as well as the cultural shift that may occur within your organization. Leaders should anticipate pushback and be prepared to respond with positive explanations of why automation can be beneficial, such as by explaining how it can reduce boring and repetitive tasks.
IMPROVING YOUR BUSINESS EFFICIENCY
If you want to get your business up to speed with your competitors, you’ll eventually need to automate several processes in your organization. While automation may be daunting, you can easily get started by determining what tasks you’re completing daily, whether they’re part of your digital workflow or your hands-on warehousing processes. Once you find the right automation solution for your company, don’t forget to fully train your employees so they’re prepared for the next phase of your business.