Pros & Cons of Automation

Should your business be automating its processes? With the rise in the cost of labour and the ever-growing shift towards technology, we take a look at the pros and cons of automation.

Pros…

  • Automation improves efficiency. Machines and computer systems can work much faster and for longer than human beings, with less waste.
  • Particularly for larger scale routine tasks, automation can free up a lot of time for staff members to focus on more skilled work.
  • Automation can reduce numbers of day-to-day staff required in a business, saving money and time-consuming hiring procedures.
  • Automation can help a business remain competitive and innovative within its field.
  • Computer processes are precise and repeatable, which improves and ensures consistency.
  • For processes that involve dangerous tasks with the potential to cause injury, automation can improve the safety of employees.

Cons…

  • By removing people from a process, a business can lose the human touch. If the function that has become automated deals with people directly, this could alienate the customer.
  • Similarly, automation can put your company at risk of providing poor customer service – you simply can’t negotiate with a computer.
  • There can be huge costs for initial set-up of an automated process, which might outweigh the benefits of its use.
  • Computers are inflexible and automated process can’t adapt without reprogramming, which can be costly and time consuming.
  • Automation causes job losses. Particularly for larger companies there’s an element of corporate social responsibility when introducing automation to the mix – how many will lose their livelihoods as a result?
  • Automation can remove the appeal of a product. In manufacturing – particularly in more luxury or specialist goods, automaton can reduce the product’s worth due to the loss of craft.

All in all, there’s no simple answer to whether automation is right for your business. Some businesses just wouldn’t survive without automation, whereas for others the costs outweigh the benefits.

For a company providing back office support, we feel that people should retain responsibility for certain processes. As a company that deals with human beings and people’s lives on a daily basis, we pride ourselves on strong customer service and ‘the human touch’.  That’s not to say that automation isn’t the way forward, but for Back Office Support Services, business remains firmly in human hands.

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