Is it Time to Automate More of Your Business?

Have you started to automate your business yet? Before you say “No,” consider some positive areas that you’re probably not thinking about. Do you manage the finances of your business using a program like QuickBooks or are you still tracking everything with paper and pencil?

When you are considering an investment in new equipment or updated facilities, do you still study this potential purchase and its expected returns on a sheet of paper, writing only by hand? Perhaps you do this initially, but I expect that before long you are using Excel or at least a calculator. If you run a successful, growing dairy operation, are you still using paper based cow cards or have you adopted software like Dairy Comp 305?

If you answered “Yes” on any of these questions, you have already started to automate parts of your business. Whether you currently operate a dairy operation, a farming business or any other type of entity, it’s time to consider additional steps toward automation.

I regularly hear Clients saying that labor costs are rising or that potential employees are becoming less available. These two factors and the basic economics of labor efficiencies will eventually dictate more automation. I am fatigued by the ongoing discussions of the political ramifications of the U.S. lacking a positive immigration policy. Maybe this lack of supply goes beyond just that factor. Could it be that the labor supply & demand is changing in its balance, nine years after the “Great Recession?”

Further evidence of the possible need for more automation is “Skills Availability.” I was recently in a store when its registers went down. Fortunately, I was paying cash, so I could be processed okay, but… getting the correct change was another story, not exactly a testimonial to the math skills being taught in our schools today.

Here’s an idea. Start to look for items in every sector of your business that you can automate. It will pay in almost every area within which you can boost your efficiencies. If your business is the type of operation that can be “commoditized” or produced elsewhere, be cautioned that you could become a target for competition. This is just one more reason to get more efficient through automation.

Need another incentive? A recent article in Peter Diamondis’ newsletter, Abundance Insider, was entitled “Tax the Rich and the Robots? California’s Thinking About It.” A member of the Board of Supervisors for the City of San Francisco has launched the “Jobs of the Future Fund” to help California offset the societal effects of more automation. As their website describes it, “As workers are displaced, the companies continue to pay a portion of the lost tax into a fund that can then be used for education, retraining, and targeted investments in new industries.”

I thought that was why we already paid taxes, to educate and train future employees… This, in my mind, is just another reason to start to automate more. Perhaps, we can get “grandfathered” in before the Jobs of the Future Fund and its followers levy a tax on all new automation.

So, as I asked last month — if I was to ask you about your present and future labor efficiencies, how would you respond? How many units of production does your work-force produce daily? Is it more than five years ago? Are there opportunities for automation in your processes? Can you use robotics to your advantage? Even in my own business, I have started to offer more “automated services” for Clients and I believe it is the wave of the future.

I have two Clients who have expanded their dairies, and, as they added free stall barns, rather than building a new milking barn for huge money, they continued to use their older milk barn and simply add robotic set-ups in their new facilities. It’s just a different approach to expanding and applying automation without “breaking the bank.”

Please visit us at for future updates on their automation. You may just find tools in our Financial Analysis section that you can use to evaluate your own efficiencies!