Recession? Time for automation?

Recession? Time for automation?

Sweat the Assets – Apply Headcount Freeze – Scrutinise Every Expenditure.

With the UK economy flat / in a gentle recession, the usual management techniques start to be used.

Underneath the headlines, some businesses will be thriving and others struggling.

How does the existing investment in Automation help?

Robot Capacity and Utilisation

When an initial investment in automation is made, the focus will have been to automate a number of tasks within a business process.

The Automation will have delivered an ROI and benefits to the business operations. In most cases the capacity deployed from a single robot will not have been fully used.

24 x 7 is a lot of capacity. The equivalent of 4.2 people working a 40 hour week. With the Automation software in place, the development of additional task Automations comes at a lower incremental cost.

Building more Automations to fill the available capacity will make a business stronger.

30 minutes a day for a team of 4, is circa 40 hours a month. Each Automation can incrementally free up time for a team to focus on the really important work.

To use the full capacity, it must be possible for the work to performed by the Automation overnight and during weekends.

Sweat the Assets – Keep Legacy Systems

Many businesses have legacy systems which are core to the operations. It could be an AS/400 application, a Windows PC application or an in-house developed solution.

Getting budget for a refresh is always difficult, but when money is tight, the temptation is to delay the replacement.

Building Automations to perform tasks on legacy systems might seem like further investment in something with a limited life. Actually, it can provide an effective route to migrate in the future.

Once the Automation is in place, if it is designed in a modular style, it will be relatively simple to replace legacy system interaction with the interaction on a new system.

Headcount freeze – Cannot Recruit

Directors often implement a headcount freeze when market conditions look tough.

Life happens – somebody goes off on maternity leave, somebody has an accident and is off sick, somebody gets called for jury service, or a more permanent change when somebody resigns.

The business work continues but there are less people to complete the tasks. This is a great opportunity to use Automation.

Instead of considering the work that one person performed, perhaps there are tasks that everybody in the team performs. Automating common tasks can free up time so that more specific tasks can be re-allocated across a team.

When the person returns to work, if it is desirable to re-allocate the work, it is easy to switch off an Automation.

Migrate away from expensive SaaS providers

With every cost being scrutinised we have seen some SaaS providers being deemed too expensive. Often part of “In-house” versus “Outsource” discussions.

The migration from a SaaS provide can pose particular challenges as they often have good import facilities to support client on-boarding but do not provide any assistance for businesses that want to terminate the service.

By definition SaaS solutions have a GUI interface, this can be utilised to build Automations to extract the data.

Data extraction can be a very boring tasks to undertake manually, which can lead to data errors, but it is an ideal set of tasks for a software robot to perform as an Automated solution.

Automations can also be an effective way of keeping systems synchronised until a complete termination is achieved.

Article Author

David Martin

Managing Director, Ether Solutions




About The Author


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