Technology has continued to open up a world of possibilities. Things that were once thought of as pie in the sky have come to pass, and many things that were beyond our imaginations just decades ago have now resulted in a paradigm shift that has changed the way we all live today. The shift represented by the information age is one in which data is at our fingertips. Before then, the gathering of data and retaining it was the challenge of the day. We now have so much data at our fingertips, the challenge has shifted to sorting through data to make sense of it and utilize it.
A recent study by University of Texas at Austin professor Kara Kockelman and the University of Utah’s Daniel Fagnant titled “DYNAMIC RIDE-SHARING AND OPTIMAL FLEET SIZING FOR A SYSTEM OF SHARED AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES” delves into detailed data about today’s traffic patterns. It then uses a computer simulation to predict what would happen if drivers switched to taking rides in self-driving taxis. With technology developing as it is, the possibility of self-driving, autonomous vehicles could very well become a reality and could be economically feasible if the data plays out as predicted.
So, what does this mean for your business?
If workable models can be made for traffic and driving, then there are likely processes currently within your company that could benefit from automation. Unlike a self-driving autonomous taxi, much of this technology is already available, and many already are looking for robotics jobs to help push it even further than before. Asking yourself a few questions about your processes can help you evaluate whether it is a process that could benefit from automation.
The steps to identify whether a process could be automated.
- Internal, External, or Both? Examine the process and see who is involved in it. Is it a purely internal process? Is it an outward facing process that your customers utilize?
- Database Interaction? Does the process make use of your data within your database, is it an inquiry for a particular piece of information? How do you access that data? Do customers need access to it? Does someone internally have to pull it? It is helpful to map out the process from cradle to grave.
- Where can you simplify? Take a look at the mapped out process and the steps involved, where can you eliminate steps? Is there a choke point where the process gets held up at? Does the process go directly to where it needs to go, or does it make a number of stops along the way, perhaps someone identifying what type of process it is before sending it along to the next step.
This is keeping things at a high level. A couple of examples would be useful in illustrating these points.
- Do you have a receptionist that answers calls and transfer them to the appropriate department such as Sales, Technical Support, or Accounting? Think about automating that process.
- Do you ask your callers to enter their account number before they speak to a representative, only to ask them again for their account number once the call is answered? Connecting your phone system with your database can prompt a screen pop to come up with the customer’s account number and information, eliminating the need to ask for it again.
Minimizing customer interaction and streamlining processes will make your organization more efficient and better fulfill the needs of your clients. Take a look at your processes and challenge them with an open mind with the steps outlined above. Perhaps your phone system can become a self-driving taxi.