Office Machines & Equipment | Advantages or Objectives | Disadvantages


Use of machines has become an important part of the functioning of a modem office organization. They are also called as labour saving devices. There are a large number of office machines, which can be used for different operations in the office. Novel machines are found out due to the development of technology and science and they are introduced in modem offices at a faster rate. Computer era has now started.

Mechanization of office - Advantages and Disadvantages
Mechanization of office – Advantages and Disadvantages

With every business house realising the need and necessity for efficiency and productivity in today’s competitive market, computers have a very bright future. A wide range of related and refined office machines and equipments are available in the market.

The task of selecting the best machines and equipments is the responsibility of the office manager. He should select the right type of machines and proper equipments. Since such machines are very costly, they are considered as long-term investments. Hence, due care should be taken by the Manager in selecting the machines otherwise the business firm should bear the loss due to his faulty selection.

Leffingwell says,

Most offices now have more machines than they actually need. It is, however, very doubtful if every office has the right kind of machine in the right place.

This being the case, the office manager should exercise due care to avoid such unjustifiable losses to the firm, which pays his salary.

Advantages or Objectives of Using Machines

Mechanisation or introduction of machinery has certain well-defined objectives. They are also considered as its possible advantages. They are the following:

1. Savings in Labour

This is the main reason for installing many machines in an office. If a machine saves labour, it is possible to turn out more work in a given time than before the machine was used. Savings in labour results in a reduction in pay roll expenditure. In simple words, a machine should be capable of avoiding the salary expenses payable to five or six clerical staff.

2. Savings in Time

Savings in time is another major advantage of mechanisation. The use of machine is invaluable for jobs, which have to be completed within a specified time. Examples are preparation of wage sheets, dividend warrants etc. The value of some machines, in fact lies in that feature alone.

3. Promotion of Accuracy

Mechanisation ensures accuracy. The machines give a mechanical accuracy and save much labour time in checking back as well as the possible annoyances caused by errors. However, human error in operating the machines can still create problems. As such the men operating the machines should not commit any mistake.

4. Minimising the Chances for Fraud

Sometimes, machines are installed though they do not save labour or time, but due to their intrinsic value in minimising the opportunity for fraud. A good example of such a machine is the cheque-writing machine. It is used in offices even when the number of cheques to be issued is quite small.

5. Avoidance of Monotony

Some kind of work is so monotonous as to constitute drudgery. In those cases, office machines have special value in helping to eliminate distasteful work These machines will relieve the employees from monotony and boost up their morale. Such machines will provide considerable satisfaction to them

6. Provision of Service at the Whole Organisation

Very often mechanisation shall be considered as economically viable because the services of a single machine are made available to the organisation as a whole rather than to a single department.

7. Services beyond Human Capacity

Some large machines perform two or more operations simultaneously. For instance, large accounting machines write figures, add them up at the same time and then move the paper ready for the next. In addition, by the use of carbon papers, several documents can be written, with identical information at one posting. This, of course, may be done manually but machines create as many twenty copies of a document simultaneously. Analysis can be obtained at the time of entering in ledger accounts. These things are in fact beyond human capabilities.

8. Efficiency in Performance

From the management point of view, greater control is possible and more information in a condensed form will be made available to them as quickly as possible. Hence, it can take prompt decisions. Prompt decisions are essential to meet the business challenges of the present day. All these factors will ensure greater success to the company in achieving its cherished goals.

9. Uniformity of Office Records

The records of the office will become uniform with the use of machines and give a better appearance. Moreover, mechanisation facilitates standardisation of office routines and procedures and therefore a better co-ordination of work.

Disadvantages of Machines

The use of machines, of course, offers many advantages, yet it suffers from a number of drawbacks. Most of the drawbacks are concerned with their use rather than the machines themselves.

1. Huge Investments

Most of the modern machines are very costly. Moreover, all machines have no enough workload even in very big offices to make them a worthwhile investment. Some machines require specially trained operators. All these factors make mechanisation a costly affair. Even financially sound concerns are still hesitating to install sophisticated machines due to this handicap.

2. Lesser Flexibility of Office Systems

Machines make it necessary to mechanise the office systems and thus the systems shall become less flexible. Particularly when the office work requires a high degree of skill and the making of many decisions out of the routine, then the human labour is generally better than a machine

3. Chances for Obsolescence

The obsolescence factor of office machine is very high because of the rapid changes that are constantly being made.

4. Uneconomical

There should be enough workload to make optimum use of the machines. If the machines are not used to their fullest capacity, they become uneconomical. Idle machines mean idle capital.

5. Specialised Staff

Some machines require trained and experienced operators. But those people cannot perform other works in the office. Moreover, they cannot perform the work which needs great intelligence. For instance, even when an accounting machine is installed in an office an accountant is still required.

Moreover, the absence of one operator causes accumulation of work so that two operators are to be employed, even though one man is sufficient. This factor causes further strain on the financial resources of the company.

6. Dominance of Machine

Unless great care is taken, the machine will become more important than the work it produces. The machine gives more information than actually needed by the office manager. In fact, much of the information is never used by anybody.

7. Breakdown of Machine

Some machines may breakdown frequently due to faulty operations. Particularly when specialized staff is not employed to operate machines, breakdown of machinery shall be frequent causing undue hardship and accumulation of work.

8. Problem of Training Office Workers

Whenever mechanisation programme is undertaken, the existing staff should be trained to operate the machine. Otherwise, extra workers should be appointed. This will enhance the office overheads. Moreover, when sophisticated machines are installed, the training may be long and costly.

9. Recurring Expenses

It is already stated that the company should incur heavy expenditure while installing the machine. Besides, additional expenses have to be incurred on maintenance and operation. Therefore, keeping a machine will certainly increase the office cost unless the business firm is large enough to utilize the machine to its fullest capacity.

Taking into consideration the above points, the office manager has to decide carefully about the installation of a machine and strictly adhere the criteria before taking any decision in this connection.