Why do we hold on to the traditional manual process? Many people get stuck in the past because of our need for certainty. We want to be certain that things will get done. We were traumatized with previous attempts of automation and/or horror stories that we heard from companies that we know.
But continuous toleration of the manual process leads to poor growth rate, staff turnover, huge profit leaks and personal improvement that affect our cash flow and even survival of the business.
So what are the steps to loosen our grip to the manual approach so we can move forward to automation and digitization?
1. Believe on its Benefits. Real-time and accurate information, on-the-spot accountability and increase in productivity just to name a few. But you will have to spend some efforts on case studies of specific benchmarks on how it benefited the business to have some sense of faith on automation.
2. Assess your needs. The next step to letting go of the manual process is to assess your needs. This is one of the most challenging parts of letting go. Does it take time to prepare your purchase orders and invoices? Do you get your reports late?
When we get accustomed to these problems, then we don’t really notice how they impact us on a daily basis. You don’t realize that you’re stuck on that process. By assessing your exact needs, then you can start making progress in letting go of what you do in the past and welcome the age of automation.
3. Do it yourself if possible or assign someone who will take the lead. This depends on the size of your company and the resource that you have. If you’re the owner of a small company and you pretty much run a flat organization, then it is ideal that you talk to the vendor and implement it yourself. If you have a number 2 in the organization or somebody who understands the whole business process, then make him or her accountable to the successful implementation of automation.
4. Automate in tranches. You don’t have to automate everything in one big bang. You can talk to your vendor about how to automate in tranches. One implementation we are doing right now is we do the go-live per department. We start in accounting, then inventory and then sales order and job order month after month. If you are a smaller business, you can start with just printing of forms, then management reports, then control and approval setup and then financial statements.
5. Commit. The ultimate breakthrough happens when you condition your mind to let it go and achieve results. Allocate a budget in automation, assign proper resources, research, consult and learn the execute.
In many aspects of life, it is really difficult to let go of old habits or practices but I hope that the steps above may at least open your mind to start innovating your business and your life to the next level.