When is the right time to implement new technology?
Dave was not a good driver but he liked expensive cars. Naturally, when a luxury-brand automobile maker introduced their new $120K sedan, he bit. Weeks later, it was the most expensive collision he could ever imagine.
Technology can be used to make something great out of something very good. However, that something must be very good to begin with. Before investing buckets of money into equipment, robotics or another software vendor that needs to integrate with your current software and brings more support fees, the current systems, processes and workflow should be established and saturated. The right people should have the right assignments in that workflow, confirming a fully optimized yet ‘not cutting it’ environment. In other words, before investing in machines, it should hurt to not do it. Tech is your ace-in-the-hole, final move.
A solid foundation without automation should be in place and the team should have confidence troubleshooting that foundation. Tech allows us to scale a great human-powered system that is bursting at the seams and incapable of growth, without compromising safety or efficiency. It should unlock the next level of potential instead of replacing an inaccurate or inefficient person.
On that note, the role of tech is not to replace people, but to allow the operation to enrich its high-value human relationship features of the service.
Tech should help people do their job better instead of just change how they do it. It should automate the repetitive aspects of the task, thereby opening up new possibilities for greater customer interaction and relationship building.
Putting a machine into an underdeveloped system will only yield a more expensive inefficient system. Since people run the machine, the people need to be good at what they currently do to translate the safety and efficiency that it could bring.
If Dave would have learned to drive well before investing, he might still be driving his higher priced luxury today.
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