Just a few years back, there was never-ending talk of how automation would steal jobs and render half the world unemployable. Scary stuff, right? Thankfully, these forecasts of doom have all but fizzled as time has gone on. Automation isn’t taking everyone’s jobs; it’s actively revolutionizing the way people work for the better.

It’s a little silly even to talk about “automation” in the abstract when it means so many different things to so many different businesses. To get a good sense of what the automation revolution is looking like practically, you need to observe the trends industry by industry.

Here are five sectors where automation is currently making big waves:

1. Lending

The housing market is booming, but some may say the world of private mortgages is lagging behind the latest trends and technology found elsewhere. Document generation, payments, reports and other tedious processes could all be done in a fraction of the time they currently are if lenders would broadly adopt automation. 

Document processing isn’t the only part of the lending process that could stand to benefit from automation, though. Mortgage Automator, a loan origination and servicing software company, recommends that communication be automated as well. When borrowers are automatically notified of upcoming payment dates, meetings and other key information, nothing can fall through the cracks. The more successfully the industry makes automation moves like these, the more people will be able to get the money they need efficiently.

2. Healthcare

Covid-19 has the healthcare industry against the ropes, but automation is helping it come back stronger than ever. As doctors, nurses and other professionals are asked to deal with greater patient numbers, they need a strong infrastructure to back them up. That’s where automation comes in.

Automation actually makes the biggest impact in healthcare in places you might not think of. Enterprise automation platform Docuphase reports that 86% of all errors in the industry are administrative in nature. This means that even simple automation programs that can seamlessly transfer and verify data can make a huge impact on the overall success of patient experiences. 

3. Logistics

In theory, logistics sounds like a simple thing to work out: get the right items from point A to point B on time and intact. The reality is far from being this smooth. The world of logistics has long resisted full-scale automation due to all of the complications and unknowns that can appear during the distribution process. As computing technology has continued to grow in strength and efficiency, though, the time has arrived for automation in the industry. 

A McKinsey report notes that part of what’s powering the revolution in logistics is the rise of e-commerce. E-commerce purchases come prebaked with timestamps, location information and myriad customer data, and automation can funnel that information straight into the distributor’s systems. With automated data exchange like that in place, efficiency will improve exponentially. 

4. Manufacturing

Far from spelling the end of jobs in the manufacturing sector, automation is proving to create more of them. In Tesla’s “super-automated” factories, for example, scores of young engineers and assembly line experts are being brought in to fine-tune production down to its most microscopic levels.

Of course, not all enterprises will be able to afford the levels of production fine-tuning that Tesla can. One of the biggest opportunities for automation in manufacturing is issue notification, where systems on the brink of malfunctioning can immediately notify supervisors to come and give things the correct fix. This can keep efficiency high without requiring an army of whiz kids to make it happen. 

5. Transportation

Last but certainly not least is transportation. The self-driving car hype of the past few years has quieted down some, but automation remains a significant—and growing—force in the transportation industry. Already advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are slamming on our brakes and helping us stay in our lane, and their capabilities will only get more sophisticated. 

While it may be a while until vehicles are doing all of the navigation by themselves, ADAS are making vehicles and fleets worldwide safer and more efficient. And once automated semis, planes and even drones are fully operational, the costs of transporting key goods will diminish significantly, paving the way for a new era of global commerce. 

While no industry will go untouched by automation, no two industries will be automated in the same way. To see what might be next for your industry when it comes to automation, look toward those that have already taken the leap.

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Roland Millaner

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