The terms small business and automation are two words that you wouldn’t often associate with each other. It is undeniable that when it comes to automation, many would immediately think of big businesses that have very high efficiency and productivity.
However, this does not mean that there is no room for automation in small businesses. In fact, automating some processes may be one way for small businesses to expand without increasing expenses that much. Also, rejecting automation may mean letting others “automate you out of business”.
The usual benefits of business automation – faster operation, consistent quality, lower error rates, and continuous production – are applicable to small-, medium-, and large-sized businesses. Even if your business is a small one, you would still enjoy the benefits that automation has to offer.
If you are a small business owner who is welcome to automating some of your manufacturing processes, fear not – automation does not need to be a huge and scary transition. Here are some tips to make the move as seamless and hassle-free as possible:
- Start with something simple and small.
It may be tempting to go for the big and difficult processes – the ones that humans want to do away with. However, automating complicated processes is a big headache. Remember, you are delegating these processes to a machine, so it is best to go for something simple and small. Identify tasks that are rote and repetitive – the ones that do not require any special human skill.
- Cultivate an automation mindset.
The ability to analyse processes and identify specific tasks that can be automated is something that requires practice. Build the automation mindset in your small business by training your employees to be able to identify the steps in each task that they are doing. Provide assurance to your employees that automating some tasks does not mean that they will be out of a job soon. Instead, what automation does is filling up the bottom rungs of the ladder and creating space for them at the higher rungs. Automating the rote and repetitive tasks will also give them opportunities to come up with better ways to improve processes.
- Do not just automate because you can.
Once you have identified the tasks that can be automated, do not automatically do so. Ask yourself and your employees first – do you really need this specific task, or can you do away with it? Can you change something in the process so that this step can be skipped altogether? Maybe automating some tasks will eliminate the need for some of the other tasks. Even if you are automating the simple and small tasks first, make sure that these indeed need to be automated.
- Consult automation experts.
Do not hesitate to go outside of your business and consult those who are experts in automation. This will help save you time and will ensure that you are moving your business towards automation efficiently.
- Learn from similar businesses.
Find out what other businesses in your industry are doing and learn from them. This does not mean copying how they’ve automated some of their processes but learning about theirs and customizing it so that it serves your business.
About the Author:
Rana Tarakji is an entrepreneur and a contributing writer at OneSEO and Pdfsupply.com who lives in Beirut, Lebanon. Rana Tarakji is passionate about digital marketing, startups, helping entrepreneurs grow, and empowering them to live their dreams. She has worked as a digital marketer, a technology co-founder and business developer, and a writer.