CXO Bytes

Macro-Level Automation: Key to Boost Operational Efficiency in Organizations

In today’s rapidly changing economy, automation is becoming increasingly important. As organizations strive to remain competitive, they must think macro — both in terms of operations and scale. Automation offers the potential to reduce costs and increase efficiency, but only if it is done correctly.

Automation has been there for years now but is yet to reach its full potential. Some of the organizations have leveraged automation for small back-end repetitive tasks, or have automated end-to-end processes such as supply-chain, in-store purchases, customer experience, etc. By automating certain processes, organizations save time, money, and resources. Moreover, in today’s world of data-driven decision making, automation helps to make far more informed decisions quickly.

However, while automation can be a powerful tool — there are certain drawbacks if organizations do not think holistically. By this, we mean that organizations should not only consider their operations when assessing automation solutions, but also the operations of other stakeholders in the supply chain. Doing so is critical to ensure a seamless integration between implemented automation solutions.

Understanding Macro-level Automation

Macro-level automation is used to describe large-scale operations that involve the automation of standard tasks, machines, bots, processes, or systems. This type of automation typically involves automating an end-to-end process, or an enterprise as a whole with different automation solutions combined to create a unified automated enterprise. It involves automating large-scale tasks such as financial reporting systems, customer service tools, ERP systems, and more

Automation can range from simple tasks to more complex processes. At a basic level, automation involves setting up programs to repeat certain tasks or processes. These programs can be trained to depend on data input by the user or triggered by specific triggers, such as time, location or a specific condition. For instance, a common example of triggered automation would be setting up automatic stock market trades when certain conditions are met.

Leading Enterprises Embracing Automation to Boost Efficiency

Even large enterprises such as McDonalds, UPS, etc have leveraged automation at a wider scale to make their operations more efficient, to achieve faster results and drive growth.

  1. McDonald’s – McDonald’s has fully automated their drive-through and kitchen operations to provide faster and more efficient service. Automated kiosks allow customers to order faster and reduce long queues.
  2. Apple – Apple has deployed robots in all their retail stores across America to help with processes such as stocking shelves, cleaning, and scanning products.
  3. UPS – UPS has implemented several automated processes to keep their daily operations seamless. Automation has enabled them to track packages more efficiently, predict their dispatch and arrival time, and optimize logistics to save on fuel.
  4. Walmart – Walmart has leveraged automation to build self-checkout kiosks, robotic stocking systems, and automated pickup towers to help the store to increase efficiency and reduce rush.

Challenges with Macro Level Automation

Although automation helps organisations to derive multi-fold value out of their business and operations, investing in macro level automation without planning and thinking through could lead to some challenges, such as:

  1. Security risks: Automation introduces potential security risks, such as increased exposure to unauthorized access to important systems and data and can lead to the exploitation of vulnerabilities.
  2. Co-ordination across departments: Automation can increase operational efficiency but may require close collaboration and alignment across multiple departments, complicating the implementation process.
  3. Complexity of networks: Automation can be complex and challenging to manage, especially with large networks of interconnected systems and components.
  4. Knowledge and skills gap: Organizations may lack the necessary expertise to design and implement macro-level automation.
  5. Cost and budget constraints: Automation requires an upfront investment in platform and technology, which can be difficult to justify and afford given tight budgets and limited resources.

Key takeaway

The future of business using automation is very promising. Automation will allow businesses to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and optimize processes throughout the entire organization. As automation technology continues to evolve, organizations must ensure that they are equipped to implement it at scale and extract value out of the investment. To ensure efficient and successful implementation, organizations must stay up to date with the latest technological advancements, evaluate their existing processes and choose the best path to automation that suits their processes, thereby creating a work environment that is conducive to technological change. Doing so will help organizations to stay ahead of the curve and make their operations more agile and responsive, and will set them on a path to create a future-ready enterprise.


(This article is written by Neelesh Kriplani, Chief Technology Officer, Clover Infotech, and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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