One of our clients and I have been discussing how we can help increase productivity further.
With Cube, sales agents and managers are now less dependent on combined spreadsheets and have all the relevant information for reporting in one place. The necessary information for campaigns and activities is presented to users in a single page and easily updated by users. Registering customer response is done with a few clicks and then it’s on to the next right customer.
This is a big improvement when it comes to activity logging, and it’s certainly a positive shift towards doing more of what really matters – having valuable contact with customers.
In terms of true efficiency, though, we’re just getting started. Getting information to pass from one system (for instance, Cube) to the production backend, which in a bank or insurance company might be a legacy system from the 90s, usually requires a varying degree of manual labor.
Looking up. Pointing. Clicking. Maybe the odd copy-paste. Repeat.
Here’s an example from our client:
Every week, around 150 sales arrive from an external sales channel – some weeks less, some weeks more.
These 150 sales are rows of customers that have agreed to buy a certain product that arrive by e-mail in a spreadsheet. How automated the generation of this e-mail is, is another matter.
Each row in the file has a customer ID that is looked up in the client’s production system. This is usually done by copying from the spreadsheet and pasting into a search field in the production system.
When the correct customer has been identified, a process starts that involves clicking through numerous interfaces and copy-pasting various bits of information from the spreadsheets to their corresponding fields in the production system.
For this client, the process of putting one customer from the spreadsheet into the production system requires around 47 clicks.
47 clicks might not sound like much (or it might sound absolutely unbearable), but on average, there are 150 repetitions of these 47 clicks every week. That’s 7050 clicks per week, and if we give a generous estimate of 1 second per click, that’s 117.5 minutes, or about two hours.
Two hours per week, of course, adds up to a whole day a month or around 5% of a normal working month.
This is a 100% redundant task, though, and it’s not alone – how many of these tasks are done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis?
A quick estimate based on observations with the same client revealed that some employees spent over 50% of their time every week doing these kinds of redundant tasks.
How much time could be saved automating these tasks, and what kind of value could be added to your business by putting it to better use?
What kind of competence do you want to build within your workforce – easily replaced robotic labor, or creative human skill? Who would want to have a job replacing a robot these days?
I know what I’d prefer: robots should do the repetitive, mindless tasks that add little to no value in themselves.
Free the humans!