The Elements of Successful Business Automation
BY BRYCE F. ELLS Management Consultant, San Francisco Office
Presented before the Stockton Chapter of the National Office Management Association, Stockton, California—October 1960
ONE OF OUR CLIENTS whose firm is installing punched-card equipment recently said to me, "You have to think differently with punched cards." This is literally true of any new application of business automation.
The client about whom I am speaking is a well-qualified accountant with considerable experience in industry, yet when engaged
in supervising a new automation system, he found problems he had never previously considered.
His difficulty was mainly in not thinking of the work planned as a production job that should be done on a relatively fixed schedule. He also had not been careful to plan for the exceptions that occur in most manual systems but that in a mechanized system must be reduced to a pattern of logic.
Business automation to be successful must consider a proper balance of components of the program. The primary factors that must be considered are:
• The job to be done.
• The personnel to do the job.
• The equipment to be used on the job.
• The adequacy of controls to be used on the job.
STUDIES OF THE WORK TO BE DONE
The study of the work flow and the actual operations being performed
in a manual system will often be confusing when taken at the individual office worker's level.
For example, a description of a certain job by a clerical worker may sound something like this:
I get the green tickets every morning from Mary. I put all those with a five in front of the serial number in alphabetic order and add the amount on the bottom of the tickets. I give the tape to Bill and file the tickets in the vault. I don't know what Bill does with it. The tickets I have left I put in my right hand middle drawer and Mr. Smith gets them around the end of the month.