Automation was initially feared by manufacturing workers and small independent businesses as the thing that would put them out of work. With expensive robots able to accurately and efficiently assemble products, the fear was that small businesses would be priced out of the game and manufacturing workers would be replaced by robots.

But in reality, automation can be a saving grace for small businesses. Automation allows SMEs to consistently produce quality products whilst freeing their workforce up for things that only humans can do.

Also Read: Retail – is the future is digital?

Automation can take many forms – from email marketing and digital marketing automation tools to bookmaking to sales and lead generation to the assembly of ships or cars. Anything that can be automated will be a job saved in the long term. Even the smallest of businesses can benefit from cutting out time-intensive, monotonous, repetitive day-to-day tasks.

Benefits of automation for SMEs

The experts at RNA Automation believe that automation can benefit every business. No matter what you make your business in, there are benefits of automating at least some tasks. Whilst a lot of automation software is available online (there’s no end to software that automates bookkeeping, or supply chain management etc) there are also larger scale automation systems for bigger jobs (like product design and production).

For instance, RNA Automation create bespoke vision inspection systems that can accurately perform quality control for 100% of products. Automation companies such as RNA can develop and produce bespoke automation systems to exactly suit your manufacturing needs. Whilst this is an expensive process, the benefits can far outweigh the cost for many businesses.

So what are the benefits of automation?

– Reduction of human error

Humans aren’t perfect. People have bad days and don’t perform at their best all day every day. However, in business when we make errors they can have big consequences, whether this is an accounting mistake or a missed quality check. Human error can cost money and jobs on a large scale. Automating as many jobs as possible will reduce these errors.

– Higher productivity levels

Bespoke automation systems might seem too pricey for small start ups. However (especially in manufacturing) sometimes you can’t get off the ground without the automation there to build your products. Better quality/higher quantity of automation systems will result in higher productivity levels, as well as freeing you up to do the things you can’t automate.

Also Read: Robots You Never Knew You Needed

Automation not only saves you time by increasing your production, but it can also save you valuable time by doing things for you that are time intensive. Small business owners seem to never have enough time. There are so many tasks to complete daily from marketing, bookkeeping, updating social media accounts, emails, sourcing clients, networking and so on. Automation can save you this time. Something as simple as using social media schedulers can automate your social media feeds, saving hours every single week.

– Safety first

Manufacturing is statistically a risky business to be in, with (on average) 3000 injuries and 9 deaths per year. Automating some production practices can minimise the danger, by allowing machines to take on the riskier jobs.

– Saving money

Mistakes are costly to rectify. A workforce costs money. Using automation can free up your labour hours and allow your staff time to focus on other tasks within the business. Machinery and software can be expensive, but you should think of it as an investment that will help you scale up your business.

What should small businesses automate?

Small businesses (whether in manufacturing or otherwise) can consider many automation opportunities. Of course, business in manufacturing could benefit from automation systems specially purpose-built for them, but there are automation systems and software that can suit even sole traders.

– Marketing & Sales

Did you know there’s software for lead generation? How about for SEO? Customer report generation? There’s software out there to do almost everything for you, so you can let your marketing tick along happily in the background whilst focussing more on the day-to-day running of things.

We’re living in a digital age, so there’s also social media to contend with. Whilst you still (mostly) have to generate your own content, scheduling software can help you get stuff done without devolving into mindless scrolling. Read this article from Forbes for more.

– Accounting

There’s a reason many businesses work with accountants rather than undertaking their own bookkeeping. Trusting experts with your finances is better than taking a well-meaning crack at it yourself, right? So why not trust automated accounting software?

– Operations

Overseeing the operations of even a small business is a full time job, from supply chain management to employee scheduling to warehouse operations. Allowing automated software to take on these jobs can allow managers more time to spend working on scaling up their business, or putting in face time with their workforce.

How can automation help my business?

You don’t need to go fully automated, but anything that can save valuable labour hours, money and time, whilst increasing productivity and decreasing risks and error can help businesses from the smallest sole trader to the largest conglomerate.

Read through this infographic from RNA automation for more information on how automation can help you.

What has automation done for your business?