The pressure is always “on” for all businesses to get more efficient. Recently, on my annual golf trip in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the occasional business conversation tended to focus on work and the priority of “tightening belts”.
An old buddy from Pennsylvania, a chemist, talked about his firm downsizing, folks retiring and not being replaced and especially concerning is the continuous assignment of additional responsibilities to those that remain…..without additional compensation of course. He shared that quality is suffering, morale is at an all time low and customers are not happy. Working longer and longer hours has been the standard there for many years so in his opinion that’s not the answer.
Another friend, a supply chain executive, said that his firm is focused on automating as much of his operations as possible. The old “let’s roll up our sleeves and get it done” just doesn’t work anymore. They are actively looking for ways to invest in automation not to replace FTE’s (full time employees) but to meet and exceed their customers expectations.
Overall, my middle age friends agree, that today with the current advances in technology, automation and controls having humans do more and more work isn’t the answer. The answer is investing in technology to increase efficiency, improve accuracy and to keep customers coming back for more.