Thinking about automation in business we picture robots in factories, right?

But this is only a small part of the story and the opportunities for business to automate a wide range of activities are astonishing.

Which makes me wonder why the level of business automation in Europe is still relatively low? Its maybe because people only see small incremental automation giving benefits of 2% or 3% or major robotic investment programmes.

But why automate?

Well, the world is facing many challenges; an ageing industrial workforce, new fast growing emerging market that will significantly drive demand (obviously providing opportunities and competition), whilst at the same time we need to be energy efficient.

Local businesses also need to respond to the challenges of globalisation and agility at the same time.

  • They have to react to new trends
  • Be a sustainable business in our tough economic times,
  • Be a sustainable business with the lowest possible carbon footprint
  • Have an effective supply chain to minimise stock levels and cash flow impacts
  •  Have an error free production / delivery / service process.

Automation in all its forms will help businesses to answer to these challenges.

But what is automation apart from robots?

Self learning scanners and character recognition technology for example that can  automate paper workflows  , reducing manual intervention by up to 50%.Machine to machine enabled systems to self control equipment based upon their environment.  It has been shown that variable drive systems can save up to 45% of energy costs in some situations. Automated workforce and vehicle scheduling and through to automated supply chain and inventory control.  The scope of what can be automated across all business processes and business sectors is endless.

So what keeps the business from doing it?

Businesses are often nervous about automation. Many people simply struggle with understanding what can be automated, others are concerned about the impact on employees and for many a short term investment focus does not sit well with the long term gain of automation. However, if businesses broaden their horizons, overall efficiency gains of up to 20 % can be achieved.   And this will ultimately create growth and more jobs.

About this author

Picture of Danny Wootton

Danny Wootton

Danny is Innovation Director for CGI UK, responsible for innovation across all divisions and delivery organisations and across the UK markets - a role Danny describes as the best job at CGI. Parts of the role include building strategic relationships with CGI’s clients around ...

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