Richard Eglon, Marketing Director at Agilitas explains how to the use automation to streamline your business.
Like big data, digital transformation, and Artificial Intelligence, automation has become a buzzword that we see routinely mentioned in countless articles, to the point where it is easy to take for granted the numerous possibilities it is able to unlock. However, even with automation projects now being earmarked to streamline so many operations, for some businesses, streamlined automation is still seen as an unattainable reality.
Some corporate giants have made a success of implementing significant automation processes, but at the same time, there are others with dedicated departments and sizable budgets that can’t get their automation aspirations to be anything more than a pipedream. Smaller businesses are often ideally placed to incorporate automation-led initiatives, but they simply don’t know where to start. However, with time and patience, the use of automation is massively beneficial to any business.
Organisations seeking automation need to be realistic with their goals and resist the temptation to implement everything at once. Instead of focusing on the full picture, it is much better to break the job down into actionable and achievable parts.
Increasing automation at Agilitas has meant spending more time improving processes proactively and enhancing the traditional reactive service desk environment. Automation capability is making the company much more intrinsic to its customers, and with the help of MORSE, Agilitas’ intelligent inventory management software platform, the company can integrate its customers’ systems, which is of huge benefit to a software-enabled hardware services business.
Agilitas currently has six full-time developers working on customer system integration projects and this number is increasing, with automation driving its international ‘SMART logistics’ services to provide ‘planning-as-a-service’ to optimise availability of product. This also means customers reduce their CAPEX spend on products and move to a more agile OPEX/On Demand model.
Using EDI and API integration between company systems and those of its customers has enabled Agilitas to transact a higher throughput of service calls as it has eliminated human intervention, such as call handling. This means when a request comes in from the customer for a replacement technology spare, the request is automatically directed through the system to the most relevant logistics hub nearest to the customer site, allowing the part to arrive within agreed SLA. In some areas, this process is so efficient that the time from customer request to the spare part being picked and ready for delivery is less than 15 minutes.
Can anyone do it?
Automation may be a complex topic, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Yes, data volume makes an investment in automation easier to justify, and you may need some help to understand certain aspects. There are experienced professionals available in the market who can help make it easier to achieve.
Contrary to what many people believe, automation is not trying to replace human jobs with ‘robots’. In fact, in a time when employees are thinking more about their workplace fulfilment levels, the technology can free them from tedious and repetitive administration tasks and allow their time to be refocused on projects that make better use of their skills. This not only boosts productivity but also engagement with just a few changes.
When it comes down to it, automation processes save time and allow resources to be diverted elsewhere, therefore making companies more agile and requiring less staff simply administering routine tasks. However, the benefits of automation go far beyond staff productivity and workplace efficiencies, and have the potential to become a huge part of a firm’s scale-up strategy and enable businesses to grow quickly.
Increased efficiency, productivity and lower costs all translate to healthier profit margins for businesses small and large, facilitating hyper-growth. How automation transforms the economy on a larger scale remains to be seen, but the future inevitably holds a lot more for automatic ways of working.
What this really means for businesses, workers and consumers will be the subject of much debate going forward, especially in the current economic climate where automation would be advantageous. One thing that seems certain, is that if it can be automated, it will be.
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