Dan Abbate is the owner of several businesses and has bought and sold countless others that use automation to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Robotaton Corp automates company-wide business processes for mid-market companies. They focus on event-driven automation, meaning computers talk directly to other computers to accomplish day-to-day repetitive tasks with little to no human intervention.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some common issues that companies encounter that could be solved by automation?
Dan: Often the first issue we encounter is that a company is having difficulty incorporating current software systems into their business. For instance – they are having trouble with QuickBooks; they can’t get fields to populate throughout their multiple systems, etc. This is a simple fix, which we (and many others) can do. But more often than not, this segues into what we really do: which is to replace human labor with digital labor at a companywide level through our smart automation technology. This is where we shine!
One common issue we solve is for scheduling and dispatch: we increase the efficiency of dispatch activities and drivers by automating communication between the dispatch system/drivers and route management by pulling in and using data from multiple internal and external sources (i.e. real time vehicle tracking, traffic data, worldwide flight schedules, etc.). We also tie invoicing and payroll directly into dispatch operations, so that invoices and timesheets are generated automatically by a computer based on real-time information.
Another issue we solve is in the supply chain and purchasing department: we automate inventory control based on pre-determined thresholds so that when a certain level is hit, the system contacts the vendor immediately with an order and tracks its progress via email, phone and text so there is no supply interruption. It also monitors fulfillment, notifying pre-designated staff members of any irregularities or issues as soon as they appear or are forecasted to appear.
We can also solve issues in accounts payable/receivable: we automate invoicing, payments, reconciliation – everything. This dramatically increases the rate at which financial data is available, facilitating month end closings and ensuring greater accuracy.
All of these things can be cross-automated within ONE SINGLE COMPANY. These are just a few examples of what we do – it’s all custom to each business – but the goal is always the same: an automated business from start to finish, as much as technology and the specifics of each business will allow.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s a marketing strategy that’s worked well for you?
Dan: We have a variety of marketing strategies to seek out like-minded people. One of them is illustrated by this article – we reach out in the form of interviews, podcasts, and articles to try to connect with businesses that are seeking to improve their internal operations. Another thing we do is identify prospect leads via automated programs which we have created set to our specific parameters. Humans then take over once we get to a certain point, but we are able to save a lot of time and money by using technology to do the repetitive tasks. Practice what you preach, I always say!
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share your perspective regarding concerns people may have about displacing or replacing human workers with automated systems?
Dan: No one ever *wants* to put anyone out of a job. However, my feeling is that it’s better to cut 30% of your workforce and remain solvent as a business, than to hold onto a system that’s not sustainable just because you don’t want to fire someone, and then 12 months down the line go out of business completely because your company isn’t competitive. Every business in every industry is a technology business today – those that embrace it will gain competitive advantage and survive those that don’t will not. No matter what your business is, your success will be determined by how well you deploy technology.
It’s also important to realize that technology replacing human labor is the TREND OF THE FUTURE. Period. This is what is happening, and will happen, with or without you on board. This is the next step in the evolution of labor. At one point we had looms replace weavers; then we had excavators replace ditch diggers; then we had foreign workers replace domestic workers; now we have automation. This is the future. I want my businesses to survive for a long, long time, and I am willing to do whatever necessary to make my companies run as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible so that I can complete in our global market.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you provide an example of how you’re constantly improving based on feedback from clients and potential clients?
Dan: We were able – based directly on client requests – to tightly integrate our platform with other established software packages. The most requested one was QuickBooks – we heard this from multiple clients: “Please make my QuickBooks ‘talk to’ my ERP system,” “Can you please get QuickBooks to automatically discourse with my CRM system?” So we did. Robotaton works like an umbrella which sits over all these different programs – an umbrella with many arms, like an octopus, an Octo-Umbrella. So our “Octo-Umbrella” moves information automatically between these systems but it takes it a step further: it ENTERS IN NEW INFORMATION independently of any humans, improving the functionality and speed of those programs.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some trends that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?
Dan: The most obvious trend is in back-end processes. More and more companies are realizing that human error, especially when it’s in repetitive tasks and processes that are at the core of the business, can hurt a company both financially and from a reputation perspective. With this in mind, organizations are starting to automate back-end business processes on a wide scale. It’s a collaborative sort of automation which uses human direction to control the technology, but allows the technology to control the speed and efficiency of the operation.
The real goal of automation is to make the most efficient use of human labor as possible, permitting humans to do the creative, strategic, and analytical thinking – ‘cause that’s what we do better than computers.
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