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How automation can future-proof businesses

09 Oct 2020

Article by Pitney Bowes vice president and country manager for Japan, Australia and New Zealand Stephen Darracott. 

It’s estimated that, by 2030, between 25 and 46% of job tasks in Australia could be automated, according to a report from McKinsey & Company.  While the country is currently in the midst of a recession, automation could theoretically be the key for Australian businesses to make positive economic changes through the integration of new services and products that help increase productivity, and the creation of new and better-paying jobs, according to Pitney Bowes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the working environment in Australia, and it has also demonstrated the workforce’s ability to adapt to change and embrace new technologies. For many businesses, this provides an opportunity to review current processes and systems and assess the potential to automate tasks, empowering workers to spend more time on other priorities.

The mass migration to online, remote working that companies experienced this year forced many business decision-makers to reassess their processes and determine the best way to optimise their workforce.

To successfully streamline processes and better prepare businesses for the future, executives need to critically identify areas to automate that could otherwise threaten business success or productivity, or become a pain point in the future.

Areas where mistakes can easily be made open companies up to increased risk. For example, mismatched customer details resulting in the wrong billing information being provided to customers breaches confidentiality data protections. This could be circumvented by automating mailing processes and including barcode scanning to minimise the risk of human error.

Investing in technologies that facilitate more accurate delivery information, such as automated address printing systems, can help to minimise the risk of incorrectly mailing items and breaching privacy by mismatching customer details. 

Deploying automated database management software can also reduce the time and money spent on repetitive tasks, such as manually updating customer address databases, which can help to streamline customer communications and management.

Manual processes, such as data entry, can be easily impacted by human error, which can significantly affect the bottom line. Organisations must automate these processes where possible to reduce risk.

Similarly, automating manual shipping processes can help simplify parcel shipping for companies that rely on shipping and postage. Investing in software solutions that automate the tracking and receiving process can help to streamline this process for both senders and receivers. It can also help to provide more accurate status updates for deliveries and maintain clear records of chain of custody of inbound packages.

More companies have started to experiment with automation in response to the pandemic, streamlining working practices to improve the current productivity levels of workers and ease the stress across businesses. However, it’s also an opportunity to overhaul practices to ensure business resilience for the future.

Automation lets companies increase productivity while reducing costs, which can be attractive for executives, particularly in times of economic crisis. By streamlining processes, through deploying new technology solutions and automating simple tasks, workers can focus more on improving customer service and productivity, and identifying other growth opportunities.