Imagine if the planet slowed down just a smidge resulting in an extra hour each day. That's 365 hours a year of EXTRA time. What you could do with that! Projects would get completed, you would spend more time with your kids and family, get in shape, and take some "me" time.
Short one superhero who could fly around the planet fast enough to slow it down, we're stuck with our 24 hours.
For most of us we spend that time split between sleep, family/friends, and business (earning an income). What remains as our business time feels crunched and sometimes expands into our sleep/family time. Our companies have installed faster computers, assembly lines, hired additional staff, and retrained/updated business processes. Net result - lots of money spent, higher expectations of doing more with less. Nothing wrong with that if it's in the right place with the right people and the right expectations.
Some optimizations are more obvious and others less. Purchasing a semi trailer to move goods from one location to another instead of taking multiple trips with a smaller vehicle seems pretty obvious. Saving 20 to 30 clicks of a mouse may be a bit less obvious. Clicks count and over a business year, those clicks adds up.
In order to do our "job" we develop routines in our businesses that become second nature and automatic. These routines work, they are simple, and give us some satisfaction of getting things done. Click this, type that, copy/paste, print and done. What's a few seconds? For one time, just that... a few seconds. But expand that out to 100 times per day of a task that only takes 6 seconds to do, that's a whopping 10 minutes!
Only 10 minutes... seems reasonable. How about over a business year? That 10 minutes adds up to over ONE WEEK. What would YOU do with an extra week this year?
Don't believe this numbers? Take 10 minutes a day, an average work year of 260 days to get 2,600 minutes divided by 60 minutes per hour for 43.4 hours or 1.1 weeks! Crazy huh?
Let's put some dollar values to this equation and assume an employee makes $15/hour. In dollar value the business will save $650/year (in cash), possibly more by eliminating data entry mistakes. Two employees doing the same tasks, $1300/year.
Do you have employees that earn more than $15 an hour and/or tasks that you might be able to automate and save even more time.
How about this:
One employee making $30/hour saving one hour per day, will save 6.5 weeks and $7,800.00 per year! How about an employee making $100/hour - in one year automating 60 minutes a day will result in a savings of over $25 thousand dollars!
What is Software Automation?
Software Automation is creating a process that'll happen automatically or with a single click. We automate things all the time - I no longer click "send and receive" to get email. It just arrives. It also just sends when I write it. Nightly backups are automatic. So are weekly software updates (assuming you have them turned on.)
Let's take "Send and Receive" as an example... in the not too distance past, you sat down at the computer, found your email program and clicked "Send and Receive" to connect to a server and download your email. While your email was downloading you were likely sitting there watching each email subject header populate. Likely not doing anything else as it only takes a bit of time to get your email. Today, email is just automatically downloaded and available when you hear the "email arrived chime" or when you are ready for it. It's there on your terms, when you are ready for it, not waiting for it download.
Assuming that clicking "Send and Receive" takes on average a minute each time, and you do that 10 times per day, there's your 10 minutes.
What to Automate?
That's up to you. What do you do multiple times, the same way, every day? Do you process orders from the internet that require data to be entered in multiple locations? Do you have to request a label from FedEx, print it out, and request a pickup? Are you sending notifications to employees in the field based on an internal trigger?
Automation can be as simple as running all your applications that you need when you turn on your computer. Managing your passwords in a central program so you can just double click to get your password to log into a website.
The most common automation is transferring data from one application to another. An order comes in via email, data is copy and pasted into accounting, data is then copy and pasted into a label. A PDF is generated as an order confirmation and attached and emailed back to the client.
Where do you start?
Pay attention to what you do during the day, is it on the computer, is it repeatable, how many times each day? Does it add up to a week by the end of the year? What would you do with an extra week?
Connect with an automation expert at Inline Technology to review your business process and document your routines. An extra set of eyes on what you do daily will quickly find areas that can be automated.