What are the real-world challenges of automating a business?

A look at how to manage the move to automation

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Ninety percent of the employees at Changying Precision Technology Company in Dongguan City in China have been replaced by automation. The mobile phone manufacturing company, which once had over 650 human employees, now has just 60 and the rest of the work is done by 60 robot arms that work 24 hours a day. The results are impressive: a 250% increase in productivity and an 80% drop in defects.

While companies around the world debate the merits of automation and worry over the loss of jobs, Changying has embraced the possibilities of the technology completely with great benefits. But while the productivity gains are impressive, the process of moving to automation, regardless of industry, requires careful management. It resonates with most employees’ greatest fear: that they will be replaced by a machine – and it means the c-suite needs to consider exactly how they make this move.

How much of an issue is job loss in the road to automation?

As more and more look to automation in everything from finance to HR, manufacturing, and customer service, the need to manage investment in automation sensitively becomes even more vital. One of the greatest concerns about AI is centred on job loss and announcements of the implementation of automation can cause fear among employees who think they are being replaced. Automation, though, does not have to mean much or even any job loss; it can be a complement to human capital within the organisation.

The automated office of the future may lead to robot colleagues and more baristas, but not fewer jobs. Office 2021: Why robots won’t end drudgery or steal our jobs

Oded Karev, VP and head of advanced process automation at NICE, says automation increases productivity, eradicates errors and reduces employee attrition. “It ensures flawless execution of many businesses process, which means employees’ time is spent serving customers rather than correcting errors,” he says.

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