Automate Your Business Or Go The Way Of The Dinosaur
01 Jun, 16 | illumisoftadmin
If you own a business, you are primarily concerned with two things:
time and money.
Your business may be in fairly good working order, but it also might be in serious need of automating. Automation of business operations is something that business owners put off because of the perceived costs, but by not automating, you may not have a business in the future. Businesses that automate are seriously outstripping and outperforming ones that are not automated. This trend will only get more pronounced in the future.
To help illustrate this point, let’s take the example of car sales.
In most car dealerships, the process of buying a car takes around 3 to 4 hours. Most people who buy cars dread going into a car dealership for this very reason. Also, most car dealerships have not embraced automation in a meaningful way.
Let’s look at one process in most dealerships that could be automated but currently isn’t: capturing a VIN.
Salespeople have to manually write down the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN of an automobile when doing a trade-in or buying transaction. Here’s what that looks like: a salesman accompanies the customer to a car. The salesman has to open the driver’s door, crouch down and then copy the VIN to a piece of paper. If one digit is copied incorrectly, he will have to go out again to the car and re-copy the number. After he has written down the VIN, he enters this number into a computer. Again, there is another chance that human error will occur. By now, most software programs will be able to check the validity of the VIN, but there are still programs that don’t double-check it. If the VIN is incorrectly entered into the computer, more disasters await the customer and salesman.
So far, he has spent between 15 to 20 minutes just getting the VIN into the customer’s data file. There’s another area later on down the pipeline, during the finance stage, where the incorrect VIN will be dealt with. After the paperwork gets printed off, signed and the banking institution is secured, the finance manager or the bank might double check and notice that the VIN is not valid. At this point, the finance manager would need to double check with the salesman to confirm that the VIN is correct. If the VIN is found to be incorrect, then all the paperwork would need to be reprinted and re-signed by the customer. This would take at least another 30 minutes to resolve. The customer will be fuming by this point, especially if she finds out that her salesman made a mistake, and most likely, will not leave a favorable Yelp or Google review.
Here’s the crazy thing about this time-wasting, manual process: on practically all VIN stickers on vehicles today, there exists a scannable barcode right alongside it.
If this step was automated, it would take literally 2 seconds to correctly input the VIN into a customer’s file using a barcode scanner attached to a tablet. Additionally, if the software system that input the barcode was an intelligent one, it would automatically know the year, make and model of car and then generate that for the customer file. Automating this step would save an enormous amount of time and even more importantly, would entirely remove human error from the equation. The end result would be that no more customers would be getting angry due to excessive waiting caused by human error. This alone could save a company an enormous amount of money.
So, you may be asking yourself why you need to automate now? Well, it’s pretty clear: if you don’t automate the parts of your business that can be automated, you most likely won’t be in business in the future. I don’t say this to scare you. It’s just the current reality we’re living in.
As far as the auto sales industry is concerned, the amount of high tech companies lining up to engulf the outdated, snail-paced traditional dealership model is beyond imaginable. Check out Carvana to see what I mean. They’ve turned the dealership model upside down and even offer customers the ability to pick up their purchased car in a giant vending machine run by a tiny staff and robots. They have automated everything imaginable in the car-buying process and most importantly, have entirely removed the existence of the dreaded car salesmen.
In the Carvana model, the car is purchased online and human interaction is kept at a bare minimum. The few people who do interact with customers can laser focus on the customer’s needs and make them feel super important. People who have been previously burned at the dealership are choosing this type of highly automated car-buying process. But Carvana is relatively tame when compared to the self-driving car model that Google is currently developing.
This is just one example how automation is changing the landscape of one industry. The reality is every industry is already being automated or is heading towards complete automation. I have some ideas about how to automate your business which I will explore in upcoming articles.
My name is Dan Prince and I’m the founder of illumisoft. You can reach me via email at [email protected] or my cell phone at 816.564.9595. Feel free to reach out and ask me any questions you may have about business automation or anything else.