To Automate or Not

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Often in Business Development or Sales the word automation pops up at some point of time. Automation is a word sometime we may use too easily not knowing what we are diving into. After the word automation is used than other words like productivity, innovation (whole other story) and most popular integration. Sadly few have understood the real essence of it all, blame it on the sudden availability of “money” or “funds” over the years; resulting in a promise and a turn around as fast as you can shout.

Productivity is usually followed by the word automation or the other way round.

“I want to automate this process”

“Automating my Point-of-Sales with my Accounts Management System and…”

I would say question the reasoning and count the value, don’t get emotional and don’t get drawn in by the jargon.

Lets look at a Point-of-Sale (a.k.a POS; a.a.k.a. the cashier machine) being synchronised to an accounts management system.

This process now requires my staff at the end of the day to consolidate the sales for the day: (Scheme of processes involved)

Breaking Down Automation

THE OLD WAY

  1. Close shift at the Cashier
  2. Print the z-report
  3. Count collections and reports from other payment systems and verify
  4. File it accordingly
  5. File is collected by the admin some other day
  6. Admin adds total sales to Accounting Books

~30mins (On Site)

~2 hours (Back Office)

THE SLIGHTLY MODERN WAY

  1. Close shift at the POS
  2. Count collections and reports from other payment systems and verify
  3. Email auto sends to company admin and management team
  4. Admin uploads to Accounting System

~15mins (On Site)

~20mins (Back Office)

NEW FANCY WAY TO ACHIEVE PRODUCTIVITY

  1. Close shift at the POS
  2. Count collections and reports from other payment systems and verify
  3. Directly added to the accounts system

~15mins (On Site)

~0mins (Back Office)

> Cost of Investment: $8k

$8k / 20mins (Time Saved at Back Office) = $400 a min

Number of outlets = 1

This makes no sense.

A. You have a paid Admin person, regardless this is a simple task they can do.

B. 20 mins savings! $400 a min? You are nuts!

What am I to do?

So what would I do instead? I would continue with my SLIGHTLY MODERN WAY. And take that $8k and invest in digital marketing ($8k can’t buy you much on Above the line and Below the line marketing, but if invested correctly can be of great value).

This may generate maybe 50% more sales, which will allow me in 6 months to open outlet 2, and another 6 months outlet 3 and 4 and so on.

NOW I need to manage and consolidate 5 outlet sales data, and I want and need real time information on the sales. This is when i’ll AUTOMATE.

Why? Because I have the cashflow, because I want to expand, and to satisfy my ego because I can.

Let me know if this was helpful in any way.

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