Friday, June 17, 2011

Beware of the Heinous ATMs

It is astounding that America could elect as its President a man who is blaming ATMs for slowing the economic recovery.
 "You see it when you go to a bank and ... you use an ATM, you don't go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport, and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate," the president said. 

It is obvious that the fate of our economy has been entrusted to a man who knows less about business than a five year old running a lemonade stand.
His ATM example is off for several reasons, but foremost is that ATMs were a regular part of life well before  the economic downturn, and based on their cost-effectiveness it is doubtful that at any point since that anyone in the banking business has even remotely considered removing their ATMs in favor of bank tellers.   ATMs have had exactly ZERO impact on the economic downturn or the recovery.
Secondly, he fails to comprehend that every component contained within the impenetrable boxes has to be manufactured by someone with a far greater skill set than your average bank teller.  I am not in the ATM business, but it is easy to see that inside every machine there is a small computer, a scanner, a remote access device (modem/comm. Device), human-machine-interface (control screen), steel case for the machine, and hundreds of metal and plastic pieces that have to be injection molded or stamped in order to get the machine to function.  All these parts then need to be assembled, tested and shipped to their installation locations.  I think it is safe to say that each ATM supports dozens, if not hundreds of jobs.  Not to mention that they are way move convenient than most bank tellers were only available between 9:00 am and 3:30 pm.
ATMs add to the banks’ profitability, and thus allow banks to make better investment decisions with those dollars; decisions that add to profitability and higher paying jobs.  Perhaps they would even want to buy more evil ATMs.  Or hire a securities analyst rather than an entry level employee who has a skill set about the equivalent of the TI 30 calculator.   Or open another branch, which would in turn create construction jobs and more ATM jobs.
In business, jobs that can be replaced with capital equipment which is ultimately more cost effective and efficient have always been the target of automation.  Cotton Gin.  Harvest Combines.  Motorized street sweeping machines. 
It is way too late to lament the loss of the cash counter at the bank window.
The reference to the airline kiosks though shows just how out of touch Obama is with the real world. 
If I have a choice between the “friendly” ticket clerk and the kiosk, I am heading to the kiosk.  Because the President has not likely flown on a commercial airliner since before his Chicago organizing days, he has no comprehension to what degree most of us disdain airline travel today.  TSA (no more need to be said), Surly clerks, surly passengers, surly parking attendants, and surly airport cops make taking a trip about as fun and time consuming as having back-to-back root canals done.
In two simple sentences our President shows the world that he knows NOTHING about business and that he is completely out of touch with that part of the population (90%?) which has to travel by commercial airliner vice luxury jet or Air Force One.
Who in the country would vote for this guy, and why in the world would they think for a minute he was capable of managing us out of financial crisis?

3 comments:

Amit said...

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