I was in my local supermarket the other day using the self-service till (a piece of process automation which I love, by the way, when I only have a few bits!) and someone close to me was complaining about
“how many self-service tills there were ‘these days’ and yet food prices were more expensive. We don’t get the personal service any more like we did with proper tills. And what were the people who used to be on the tills doing now anyway? Off in the back having a cuppa all day?”
Clearly, I’m not in the know to say what the staff at that site are doing all day, however I can bet your bottom dollar that they’re not sat having a cuppa all day!
On face value, I think there is a lot of assumption that by implementing system and process automation people just won’t have anything to do, which will lead to redundancies, fewer jobs, higher unemployment, lower incomes, and so on.
In actual fact, done the right way, as in with robust technology and using development suited to the business, automation can be an absolute game changer in terms of productivity, reducing costs and empowering people, as well as contributing to protecting the planet, in my experience.
By working with empathetic, inquisitive and innovative digital transformation developers, organisations can
- streamline their processes, saving time and money,
- reduce manual data entry or duplication,
- reduce the number of ‘deadly dull’ manual tasks that, let’s face it, no-one really wants to do,
- ensure that systems are ‘talking’ to each other and transferring data effectively & without error,
- increase visibility of output and clarity of progress to key project stakeholders,
- impact carbon footprint by moving to a more paperless and efficient data entry system,
- provide opportunities for upskilling employees, career development, employee satisfaction and well-being
The last 2 for me are absolute corkers, addressing a real ‘hot potato’ right now in terms of sustainability and investing in one of any organisation’s most valuable assets, its people.
Being mindful of the footprint of tech itself still has to be on the agenda, but digital innovation is a great way to make those initial changes in operations and strategy to become a more streamlined, robust and ‘here for the long term’ business.
And the people; well there aren’t many people I know that don’t relish being empowered. We might say we don’t want more responsibility, but being empowered isn’t all about moving up to the next level of management. It might be that being empowered leaves more time for them to be creative, excel at their customer service and communications, become more data savvy, insightful, and be able to make more informed decisions.
For me there’s no question, digital transformation and automation designed, built & implemented with the right teams can only be for the greater good.
So back to the supermarket…
I have actually found that there is probably the same number staff around and about, but the shelves are better stocked, there’s more help on hand for enquiries, and the fresh counters are better manned and quicker served.
I get that having fewer tills hasn’t meant less price increase on groceries, however I suspect they are independent of each other and food prices would have increased at the same rate irrelevant of any tech investment.
It doesn’t mean, however, that price efficiency won’t be seen in the future as the investment pays back, people move more quickly through the store, and we all get used to the fact that automation technology is here to stay which, used responsibly and in a way that betters the organisation, can only be a good thing in the end.
And to be honest, I love putting my groceries through the till myself, it’s so much fun!
PS. If you need an excellent digital transformation outfit to have a look at your business, no matter how big or small, I know just the team. Drop me a message & I’ll put you in touch.