Significant workplace changes and adjustments for business owners are evolving. A recent McKinsey Global Institute report highlights at least one-third of the constituent activities in around 60% of jobs might be automated.
Workforce transitions in an era of automation, analyses the number and types of jobs that may be generated under various scenarios until 2030, as well as the jobs that could be lost to automation.
Which industries are susceptible?
The potential impact of automation on employment varies by occupation and industry sector, for example, physical activities in predictable environments, such as operating machinery and preparing fast food, are highly automatable.
As the McKinsey report cites, “Collecting and processing data are two other categories of activities that increasingly can be done better and faster with machines. This could displace large amounts of labour—for instance, in mortgage origination, paralegal work, accounting, and back-office transaction processing.”
However, the report noted that, even if some jobs are automated, employment in those occupations may not decline; instead, workers may be assigned to new tasks. Jobs that require managing people, using expertise, and social connections will be less affected by automation, as machines are currently unable to match human performance.
Jobs in unpredictable contexts, such as gardeners, plumbers and child and elderly care providers, would see less automation by 2030 because they are technically challenging to automate and often command lower compensation, making automation a less appealing commercial proposition.
Leveraging automation for SMEs
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) strive to get the most out of their resources. Manual processes often abound because the perceived return on investment in advanced technologies may be beyond reach. There comes a tipping point where the cost of not automating these processes outweighs the investment required to automate them.
Digital technologies facilitate specific operational changes likely to improve overall business performance from warehousing to distribution, supply chains to human resource recruitment, price fluctuations and buying patterns, to marketing and customer service. This may mean acquiring or developing new talent that better understands digital technologies and how they best be applied.
However, to meet these future challenges, business leaders must quickly evaluate and invest in real business requirements, whilst suppressing the impulse to chase technology trends, otherwise it could be a waste.
Konica Minolta has identified five opportunities for automation in SMEs:
1. Document management
In every company there is a workflow that requires various people to create, edit, review and approve documents. These documents can be varied, including contracts, annual leave requests, and expense forms.
In a small business, it might not matter that a document is created, then manually emailed or handed to the next person in line, then the next person and so on. However, to grow, businesses need to automate this process to minimise the amount of manual handling required for each document.
2. Accounts payable
In a manual accounts payable process, someone must review an invoice (often on paper), compare the invoice to the purchase order, verify that the invoice is legitimate, and arrange payment.
When companies are dealing with a handful of invoices each month, manually processing invoices doesn’t add too much cost or complexity. However, when the number of invoices escalates, so does the amount of processing time, including the risk of errors.
Automating marketing efforts can help small businesses augment their marketing team and play in the big leagues against their competitors. Marketing is one of the most effective ways to gain business growth.
This is where an automated marketing solution can deliver significant benefits, making the company appear more proactive and engaged than it could otherwise afford to be.
4. Warehousing and logistics
Automating warehousing and logistics functions can similarly increase a company’s ability to compete while simultaneously lowering costs.
Applying robots in a facility can save time and contribute to efficiencies, as well as increase worker safety. Warehouse automation can streamline the movement of goods and let SMBs benefit from optimised workflows and pathways.
5. Workforce management
Drawing up rosters and accounting for the different skill sets and employee conditions for each shift can be a nightmare that only grows as the business expands.
Automating this process can provide rostering managers hours back in their day, reduce the risk of under-or overstaffing shifts, increase speed, productivity, improve compliance, lower costs and reduce errors. It can also account for people’s preferences and time-off requests.
Coraggio’s, CEO, Richard Skarzynski highlights,
“Leverage data analysis to deliver continuous internal improvement business plans and manage seamless more reliable operational efficiencies by eliminating poor-performing supplies, acknowledging consumer demands to improve products and service performance”.
How business manages these transitions?
Businesses will have to revamp their business processes as well as re-evaluate their talent strategies and workforce needs. Slower adoption may lessen the extent of labour shifts, however this will reduce these technologies’ contributions to business dynamism and economic growth, according to the McKinsey analysis.
“Businesses will be on the front lines of the workplace as it changes. This will require them to both retool their business processes and re-evaluate their talent strategies and workforce needs,” the McKinsey analysis report cited.
Data analytics is like taking a magnifying glass to all areas of your business investigating strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to improve operations, productivity, security and profits. Many businesses rely heavily on digital movements like technology and Artificial Intelligence, leveraging any computer software that interacts and engages in a human-like activity — for instance, problem-solving, flagging potential problems, learning and planning.
Results from McKinsey Global’s 2020 artificial intelligence (AI) survey suggests that organisations are using AI as a tool for generating value. Increasingly, that value is coming in the form of revenues.
AI apps are so sophisticated that they can take all the data obtained from various customers and employees and discover essential trends and get a glimpse into a company’s future.
New data streams, that didn’t exist just a few years ago, are now available due to the world undergoing a digital transformation. This means data can be collated and used in a variety of different and innovative ways to improve the operations of your business and in turn, your bottom line. Are you ready to consider viable options for your business? Some examples:
A new way of engaging with clients and customers
AI has the ability to create and deliver content at scale while freeing up your team to spend more time on creative tasks by incorporating technology to accelerate AI development, such as cloud-based data platforms, application programming interfaces (APIs), microservices, and modern DevOps practices. One of the easiest ways to invest in AI to improve customer service is with a Chatbot. Whether it’s on your website or as simple as Facebook Messenger this is particularly useful for businesses that don’t have a customer service team Chatbots save time for staff and improve customer experience by speeding up response times, working for your business 24/7.
Using customer-centric marketing to create personalised messages and content ensures the consumers is receiving exactly what they want and desire.
For example, eBay turned to artificial intelligence and tested AI-powered copywriting solution Phrasee using natural language generation and deep learning. Phrasee is capable of learning a brand’s voice and automatically writing optimised email subject lines, Facebook ads, and push messages reaching millions of customers-all in the matter of a few minutes.
Track customer interactions to maintain a sustainable competitive edge
AI is a critical enabler in the pursuit of customer relationship management (CRM) platforms tracking customer interactions to facilitate the end-to-end process of capturing every customers point of entry (a click, transaction, milestone, indicator, or sensor) guaranteeing consequent actions, decisions and interactions are more specific and effective. This empowers companies to take a more systematic view by establishing a continuous loop of learning and improved performance.
Additionally integrating AI into CRM tools, like Salesforce and Keap, enables businesses to further automate tasks, aggregate sales insights and deliver actionable predictions. CRM platforms provides businesses with insights to optimise lead generation and train sales teams. Marketing campaigns can also be adjusted based on customer feedback whilst mitigating company risk by investing in the most effective strategic planning moving forward.
Future proof your business while staying ahead of the competition
It’s imperative for businesses to stay abreast of what their competitors are doing, however this can be a time-consuming, manual process. Incorporating AI enables you to seamlessly track digital activity of other businesses across social media, websites, video content and more.
Artificial Intelligence is driving greater consistent, proactive, relevant and timely communications by augmenting interactions with real-time recommendations to up-sell and retain consumers, generating a competitive advantage by increasing customer lifetime value.
For example, Crayon is a market analysis tool that gathers data regarding competitors and then distils into easily digestible reports. Leveraging these insights enables businesses to stay at the forefront of industry changes and respond if required, ensuring they remain ahead of the competition.
In conclusion, artificial Intelligence has the capability to filter through massive amounts of data which previously would have proven too tedious or feasible or simply not possible, to draw actionable conclusions and make business decisions to improve operations. In doing so businesses obtain a greater understanding of their customer journey and are better positioned to creatively apply the right technology at the right time, enhancing customer relations through effective timely engagement and building greater rapport.
Whether you run a large multinational or a small family-run business, insights will drive key business questions, such as trends and patterns highlighting ‘How can I improve customer satisfaction?’
Data-driven analytics is a top-down, holistic perspective of an enterprise’s operations. This is one of the most prolific ways for companies to gain insights providing real customer preferences and behaviours, rather than relying on assumptions!
In essence, data leads to insights; business owners and managers can morph these insights into decisions and trigger actions to improve and future proof their business.
What is Coraggio?
Being a business owner can be challenging and may include facing unchartered territory. However, it doesn’t have to be lonely at the top. Making the right decisions to future proof your business deserves more than the occasional conversation with a mate. It deserves to aggregate the experience and a shared knowledge of collective awareness from fellow executives to stay ahead of the curve.
Operating a company typically presents complex issues, sometimes on a daily basis. Imagine if you could leverage the experience from an extensive group of industry peers to improve your decision making and future proof a sustainable business, whilst being held accountable?
Also imagine if you gained the peace of mind to seamlessly access these answers and navigate business challenges, simply by connecting with entrepreneurs and gaining knowledge from business leaders? This is the strength of peer to peer leadership mentoring and impactful, meaningful relations.
Coraggio offers a mutual exchange of expertise, ideas and a support system enabling you to capitalise on a give-and-take dynamic amongst advisors who have walked the path before, mitigating risk to your business.
Leading business owners and entrepreneurs join Coraggio to become part of a highly effective business community facilitating leadership, guaranteeing accountability and sharing innovative ideas within a cohesive and confidential national network.
This mutual exchange of Member’s expertise tangibly results in sustainable revenue streams, increased cash reserves and productive outcomes to future proof your business.
Coraggio Chairs are industry leaders, Members are forward-thinking advisors and all Advisory Boards are dedicated to the ongoing success of their fellow Member’s businesses, offering Fearless Objective Advice – that’s the Coraggion Spirit!
Afterall, in the words of Henry Ford:
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”.