The Real Value of Automation

Automation is a very hot topic these days. Individuals and whole companies feel that they need to automate. With less and less time, automation is one of the main reasons why people are interested in new technologies and systems. At the same time, I often meet clients who wish to automate almost everything. As a general rule, many of them haven’t reflected on why they want to do it and what they may achieve by doing so. Let me share with you, in this short article, a few thoughts to help you understand this subject better.

Every change makes sense when it brings additional value, whether it’s measured in time, money, emotions, or feelings – there must be something you want to go after. Otherwise, why would people make any change at all? It’s the same with introducing automations and systems or features that enable them.

So let’s take a look at a few examples of different automation features within a translation project, to understand why one would consider implementing them.

Vendor Management

Vendor Management is a cool feature. It’s great to have all vendor profiles in perfect order. But its real business value depends on how you’re going to use it. If you can easily filter the vendors that match certain project criteria, and contact them automatically, then it means that you can start your projects faster. That’s great news for your client and project managers.

If you use automations to ask vendors about their availability for a new project, then it means you can stay in touch with a much wider group of them, as opposed to those preferred ones used by your project managers. Sending automatic job offers means that the vendors newly recruited by your vendor manager will actually get a chance to start cooperating with your company. In that way you are also staying in touch with a much wider pool of vendors. Believe me, this will be of huge value when incoming projects start flooding in..

Moreover, you can optimize the selection of your vendors (their price and quality) not only within a small group of regularly used vendors, but also within a much larger group that you keep in your database. The bottom line here is that you can decrease your average costs and reduce delivery time while keeping the same quality. Just imagine a 5 or 10 percent saving on all total vendor costs. That’s really making a difference.

Project Management

Automations within project management can also mean lots of other things. Whether it’s automatic generation of purchase orders, e-mails sent to vendors or clients, file handling or calculating project revenues or costs – it all translates to savings.
First – shorter turnaround times for your projects and faster delivery to clients.
Second – lots of companies look for the sheer amount of time saved by project managers, which can be used to manage other projects. That means that project profitability increases on every job you do, and you can manage more projects and generate even higher profit with your existing staff. This makes your company more efficient and less exposed to being squeezed on price.

Through dedicated online portals, you virtually become available and operational 24/7, shedding the need and even the cost of keeping people in your office around the clock.

The real value and the real goal of automation

All the above taken together, or individually, result in a better positioning of your company and what it can offer on the market. You can differentiate yourself from your competitors, win new business and grow. Just think about how much new revenue you could get from your existing clients if your offers, prices, delivery dates or availability improved? How many new clients would you win against the competition? What business growth would you aim for? … 20, 30 percent annually? That is the real value and the real goal of automation.

Now, it’s up to you to decide which automations to implement first, which ones should come later and which ones are simply not meant for your organization and the way you work. Each of them will surely translate into a different business value. Choose the ones of most impact, prioritize and act on them… today!

Andrzej Nedoma
Andrzej Nedoma is the Co-founder and CEO of XTRF Management Systems, a global translation management platform provider for translation companies of every size, in-house corporate language departments, and public organizations. His company helped hundreds of translation and localization agencies in 30 countries to leverage their potential. Andrzej was awarded with the Polish Entrepreneur of the Year 2006 title in the category “Services”.

He has been building his translation industry expertise since 1996 as a business development manager and as a Managing Director for a leading Central European translation company LIDO-LANG Technical Translations which was eventually sold to Sepro Group from Spain.