Headlines about recession, inflation, and hiring woes can make even the most seasoned business leaders nervous about their contingency plans. And questions about whether a recession or economic downturn may be coming and how our employees and businesses will adapt are at the top of leaders’ priority lists today.
Shamrock’s CEO, Rob Albright was recently joined by Kent Baker, Senior Vice President of Merrill Lynch to provide a current-state economic update, highlight what that means for businesses in the near-term, and discuss practical strategies for future-proofing your organization.
We’ve distilled the top discussion points and key takeaways for your continuity and future-proofing needs in today’s business climate – read on!
Is a recession coming?
Kent and Merrill Lynch partner with a conglomeration of investment management companies, including BlackRock, Vanguard, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and others for varying economic opinions and validation on what to believe.
In short – it’s not a stretch to say we’ll expect a recession in the US in the first half of 2023. ML’s recession dashboard is produced monthly and rates economic levers such as housing permits and claims, wage growth, truck shipments, money supply, among others in a stop light-like fashion: green, yellow, and red, indicating economic health respectively. On June 30th the dashboard displayed 6 green and 2 red indicators, slowing to just 2 green and 6 red in December via shortages and delays introduced for critical economic components.
Although Merrill Lynch is expecting at least 2 more interest rate increases, by the end of 2023 it’s expected that rates will begin lowering. Similarly, inflation appears to have peaked but will remain stubborn in some areas, such as foodstuffs, which affects consumers in a big way.
While it’s likely that we will enter a recession in the US, ML doesn’t believe it will be as bad as the recession Europe is facing currently, and certainly not near the “Great Recession” of the late 2000s. In the technology sector specifically, Goldman Sachs’ predictions have come true regarding hiring freezes and layoffs in big tech, and the theme now is getting more done with less.
How can I future proof my business?
It’s important to consider how your business will weather unexpected challenges – be they economic downturns, staffing shortages, a pandemic, etc. The right process, supported with automation, will enable you to do more with less.
In our webinar, Rob discussed two key areas we commonly discuss with our customers that serve just this purpose:
- Growing your business without adding headcount
- Eliminating time-wasting activities
Growing Without Adding Headcount
Labor shortages and inflation can compound an already short-staffed workforce. Add in process backlogs (humans are not good at or suited for menial, repetitive tasks), human errors and oopsies (they’re inevitable, and exacerbated in teams that are overworked), and staffing turnover, and it might seem that increasing headcount is the obvious answer – more people to work through backlogs, more Quality Assurance folks, more staff knowing more things.
But the reality is that today’s automation tools allow you to address these issues – and many more – while retaining and refocusing your existing, knowledgeable workforce. Robotic Process Automation (RPA), can mimic a human worker and complete many of the mundane, repetitive tasks that humans traditionally attend to. This allows your team to focus on higher-value tasks for your organization, while reducing backlogs, avoiding bottlenecks, ensuring radical consistency, and easily scaling with increases in volume. After all…robots don’t need breaks or time off!
Eliminating Time-Wasting Activities
Hand-keying information, siloed and inaccessible data, excess paper, and slow, manual processes put a kink in your team’s productivity and introduce unnecessary bottlenecks in your business. Not to mention all the emails, physical mail, faxes, and other incoming documents, which contain key data that can (and should) be captured, standardized, and leveraged by the organization.
Intelligent Data Extraction allows your documents to be classified with key pieces of information and text extracted, which can then be integrated directly with downstream applications. Staff are no longer required to hand-key all of this data (potentially with errors), or waste time sorting, delivering, and tracking a piece of content. Instead, supported with an automated capture and workflow solution, their time and energies are focused on the higher-value work they’re capable of.
Planning Your Automation Journey
Getting started with your automation journey can be a challenge. At Shamrock, we leverage a proven system that marries process excellence with process automation, providing a foundation on which to scale your business efficiently and effectively.
Consider what parts of your process might be broken or inefficient today (Process Discovery), and where you can leverage technology to address those issues (Automation Analysis). Create your Digital Transformation roadmap, incorporating key goals and plans (and contingency plans) for the organization that are supported by technology over the next 3-5 years. The roadmap serves as your guide to assess key areas in your business that are ripe for automation.
Now is the time to prepare your organization for unexpected downturns. Change in business is inevitable, but with the right process and tools at your fingertips you can weather the storm and refine your competitive edge.
View a full recording of Kent and Rob’s discussion during our “Future Proof Your Business Among Marketplace Uncertainty” webinar here.
At Shamrock, we’ve been helping our customers transform their business processes since 2009, and offer a comprehensive suite of technology and process know-how to help get your started on your Automation Journey.
Talk to us today about future proofing your business!