The Pros and Cons of Automation for Business

business meeting in a nice modern office

Thanks to advancements in technology, a number of previously labor-intensive tasks are now being automated. In the quest for improved efficiency and productivity, many companies have turned to automation. In fact, according to a global survey by the Grant Thornton International Business Report, about 56% of firms are already automating their processes or are planning to do so over the next 12 months. Software like ERP system software and the like are now being used in many processes.

There are several pros and cons to consider when thinking of integrating workflow automation into your business. Here are some important ones that you should take into account when deciding whether you should automate processes in your business or not.

The Pros of Automation

Efficiency

This is among the major benefits of automation. Implementing automated processes within a business can eliminate the most time-consuming, repetitive tasks, thereby freeing up your employees’ time for more important undertakings. Additionally, computers and machines tend to be more accurate in their work, unless a technical error disrupts workflow.

Reliability and Consistent Output

The manual processing of any task is prone to error, no matter how dedicated or skilled the person entering the data is. It is also time-consuming and resource intensive. Automating tasks that typically require significant manual input can eliminate the probability of human error. With automation, businesses can expect precise and consistent outputs. With automated technologies, what takes a person days of effort can be finished in a matter of seconds.

Lower Production Costs

Automation can eventually mean lower production costs for businesses because the process does not involve recurring costs, except for routine instructions and repairs. While the initial expense might be hefty, the investment will prove worthwhile, in the long-run.

Increased Safety

Automation removes the risks associated with many dangerous jobs, such as lifting heavy weights and working with dangerous chemicals. By automating these dangerous tasks, you can decrease workplace injuries.

The Cons of Automation

two employees looking at reports on laptop

Initial Investment

Switching to job automation isn’t free and it isn’t cheap, either. The initial investment is going to cost you. Often, the initial cost to implement and maintain the automated systems may exceed the manual costs of operation. There may also be costs related to maintenance and repair, as well as other costs of supervision and training.

Incompatible with Customization

With automation comes a loss of versatility or flexibility. A machine can only do a limited scope of tasks, only performing what it is programmed to do, unlike people, who can do a variety of tasks. Automation entails repeating the same process over and over again, often requiring standardization. One-off customization for particular customers is incompatible with some automated processes.

Job Uncertainty

This is probably the biggest concern for business owners and employees, alike. Automating business processes may eventually eliminate certain jobs, such as positions that involve repetitive, system-based tasks. Fortunately, as the need for automation continues to grow, people will still be needed to create and maintain the system.

In the end, automation comes with a range of pros and cons. To be able to make full use of the benefits of automation, you should get the implementation right, which requires effective teamwork.