In every industry, bosses and employees are feeling the squeeze of inflation. Prices are rising and employees are increasingly dissatisfied. It might feel like the wrong time to invest your resources into an ambitious new project like robotic process automation. You might think it’s better to wait until the economy recovers, and you feel more confident in your profits.
But in fact, robotic process automation (RPA) might be a wise investment for the present moment. We’ve identified four problems companies are likely facing during this inflationary period and outline how RPA can help mitigate them. There are no easy fixes in an economic environment like this one, but RPA offers businesses a relief valve to continue operating at a high level of efficiency even under pressure—as well as the potential for explosive growth into the future.
INFLATION CHALLENGE #1 – Less-than-Optimal Staffing
How RPA helps: In a period of economic uncertainty, companies can be forced into layoffs, finding themselves falling short of the staff they need to ensure top performance and efficiency. As a result, existing staff may be overworked, leading to important tasks falling behind. Increasingly, companies are finding that staffing shortages cause them to suffer from decreased productivity. Nearly two-thirds of executives say that their companies are struggling as a direct result of labor shortages.
For both the rote and complex tasks that staff have to handle on a daily basis, automation can provide a solution. Robotic process automation can easily convert tasks which might otherwise consume hours of employee time into silently running background processes. If a human touch is needed, appropriate personnel can take over from RPA at the right moment in the process. This allows companies to better leverage their existing staff and make the most of their resources.
INFLATION CHALLENGE #2 – Stressed Employees
How RPA helps: Let’s look at the other side of the first problem. Employees who spend most of their time carrying out repetitive tasks may lose focus or motivation. In the current environment, that can lead them to decide to try their luck elsewhere—further exacerbating staffing issues. According to Forbes, 47.4 million workers quit their jobs in 2021. Ironically, a high-inflation market can give more bargaining power to employees, making it more important than ever for companies to invest in their staff’s happiness if they want to retain talent. That means taking employee stress seriously.
When you automate the tasks that employees used to spend countless hours working on, you free up employees to spend more time on tasks that matter to them: tasks which engage their full capabilities and serve the higher-level needs of the company. It also provides an opening for employee development, developing new skills which enhance their performance in their current role or open the door for them to take on new roles. Be sure to communicate to your employees that you’re not trying to replace them: you’re enabling them to devote themselves to work that they’ll find truly fulfilling, instead of repetitive tasks like data transfer or navigating between unrelated systems. This is what it takes to make sure your employees stay happy, motivated, and dedicated to your company—and automation can help.
INFLATION CHALLENGE #3 – Rising Costs
How RPA helps: In conjunction with the advantages outlined in the first two problems, automation can prove to be a huge benefit in terms of cost margins. The upfront costs of automation are significant, but not insurmountable, and the return on investment is substantial. The average payback time for automation, according to Forrester research, is generally under a year—and within three years, most companies see massive returns.
How? By simplifying the daily tasks that employees engage in, automation lets you do more with less. You can reorganize your workflow to reduce inefficiencies and reassign your team members to tasks which produce more value. With more value coming in and reduced spending going out, you can keep your business in the black—even in times of economic volatility.
INFLATION CHALLENGE #4 – Decreased Consumer Spending
How RPA helps: Automation can improve the customer experience. Speed and reliability are of the utmost importance in distinguishing yourself from the competition. As customers discover the excellent service you provide, they’ll be less reluctant to devote a greater part of their limited budget to you. At the same time, your reduced operating costs may allow you to offer better prices, further swinging the pendulum in your favor. Investing in automation makes it easier to satisfy your customers and make sure they’ll stay loyal, even in tough economic times.
That’s how investing in automation can help you meet the challenges of an inflationary economy. But the benefits extend far beyond that. Greater speed, faster processing, accelerated productivity, improved employee experience, and increased cost-efficiency: these advantages of automation will set you up for explosive growth and innovation after economic volatility subsides. RPA provides seamless scalability, meeting greater operational demands as a company grows while continuing to produce high-quality work.
This is a critical moment for businesses. Executives in all industries are looking for their next move. While it may not seem like the best time to make such an investment, putting your company on track towards incorporating RPA into your workflow might be the wisest move you can make. If you want to get an edge over the competition, the time to make the investment is sooner, rather than later—and even better than sooner, now.
Want to learn more about the benefits of automation for your business? Contact us today.