It is a fundamental truth that growing a business means encountering challenges. A one person business with a few clients can be flexible and there is a certain level of demand for bespoke personal service. For a business to grow to 10, 100 or a thousand people it needs structure and repeatable processes to deliver the same service / products on a large scale.
The Traditional approach to support business growth is to consider Outsourcing, Simplifying processes, Standardise processes, Consolidate activities, De-layer activities, etc.
When the workload increases, there will always be an element of giving employees a heavy workload but that can only be a short term situation to meet particular processing peaks. For workload increases to be sustained, either more people have to be involved or more automation has to be deployed.
For a business to support growth, automation needs to occur at every part of the business, which could mean automation of production lines, automation of warehouse operations, automation of logistics, automation of “Front-office” sales / marketing as well as automation of “Back office” processing.
Many surveys indicate that highly automated businesses are more likely to see revenue growth and although automation has a capital cost, the incremental processing costs are often very low which enables businesses to become more cost effective as they automate at large scale.
Bigger, better machinery with more capacity is normally the approach in manufacturing operations to support more workload.
To achieve business growth, automation has to deliver real change. In “Office” environments, the adoption of computer applications (ERP, CRM, HR, Finance) has been shown to deliver benefits. Many of these applications still require significant human activity to operate effectively. This is where the next level of automation can be applied. Software Robots can be used to deliver the repetitive work required when engaging with computer applications, freeing people to undertake the more advanced activity which requires human skills.
As businesses grow and the overall workload increases, there are often peaks that need to be accommodated, this often means that backlogs build up. To avoid such backlogs, stocks of goods can be held to smooth out the delivery timescales or automation can be used to scale activity by operating for hours per day or by using more machines / robots.
Without examining any business specific features, it is clear that automation should be considered for every department if a business wants to achieve and sustain growth.
There are Government grants available for business who wish to address the challenges of increased workload by investing automation.