As the US labor market continues to evolve, process automation offers companies a way to do more with less.
According to Jim Wanner, CEO and founding partner of Key Mark Inc. at Liberty, the technology and processes behind automation have advanced significantly since he founded the company in 1996.
The company specializes in automation across a range of industries, including financial services, healthcare and manufacturing. Wanner explains that as more companies implement automation both to make employees more efficient and to accommodate a shrinking labor pool, the nature of work of these employees evolves.
“It will depend on who is trained and who is not,” says Wanner.
He estimates that these changes are already impacting around 30-35 million people whose jobs are being radically redefined or cut and says much of this change is driven by technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.
According to Andy Kurtz, CEO and Founder of Copy in Greenville. The company offers software and technology solutions to businesses and government agencies to streamline processes such as accounts payable, inventory tracking and workflow management.
“Accounts Payable – AP – automation has become a very big topic,” says Kurtz.
Tracking invoices and matching them to purchase orders is a natural area where technology can help businesses and their employees be more efficient, Kurtz says. Such a “low hanging fruit,” where the process is relatively simple and repetitive, is a logical starting point for a business looking to automate.
“You have to be able to do it effectively,” Kurtz says.
Wanner says automation linked to efficiency lightens the burden on employees and thus reduces the risk of burnout and costly mistakes.
He adds that in a tight job market where employee retention is a business priority, using technology to manage monotonous tasks can make a real difference in helping employees work smarter, not harder. .
Shrinking labor pool
Kurtz says that as the 1920s progresses, companies will be faced with an inescapable fact: fewer workers to fill more and more jobs.
This is a reality highlighted by the Great Resignation and is forcing companies in various industries to re-evaluate how they interact with employees.
As companies have shifted to remote work settings, the need to move data to the cloud has come to the fore, Kurtz says, creating opportunities to automate internal processes to support remote work. .
Kurtz and Wanner say this is why education, especially technical education, will grow in importance. As technology continues to improve and automation becomes more widespread, having employees who can use this technology will be critical.
“There’s no doubt that education and a well-educated workforce are key,” Kurtz says. “I think automation will definitely replace some functions and roles, but it will create new ones.”
Wanner says how American businesses — and colleges — adapt will determine the nation’s position in the global economy.
“I believe if the United States doesn’t do it, someone else will.”