My parents gave me a Polaroid camera on my 13th birthday. It was exhilarating. I took endless pictures of friends, outings and tween-induced costumes with the push of a single button and watched anxiously as the white film disappeared into a colorful, captured image right before my eyes. It was instant gratification. Mostly, that is. Changing film packs, buying new pieces and lugging around the equipment put a slight damper on my growth as a photographer, and soon the array of mishaps outweighed the once beloved gift.

Today, I can capture any image I want at any imaginable moment; I can edit, filter and share it, put it on a stick to reach new heights and store it without ever losing color or quality. Taking pictures today puts shaking a Polaroid to bed, and there is one simple reason for that.

Automation. I don’t need to wait for development or re-stock a film of any type. Both our simplest pleasures and our most intricate operations have gained growth and satisfaction due to automation. While there’s an undertone of nostalgia attached to my old snapshot contraption, that is quickly overshadowed by time-efficiency. In our present fast-paced world, manual operations lack appeal.

The same can be said for shipping automation products and the possibilities it provides for both the buyer and seller. From a selling end, the time and money saved is tremendous. It takes an experienced operator an average of 14 minutes to book a freight shipment once price shopping and booking have been taken into account; with automation products, the necessity for full-time logistics employees diminishes, and businesses save around $26,500/year* on this cost alone, while still averaging 25 shipments per day. This provides huge growth opportunity for your company without needing to add more resources.

The scalability and efficiency outcomes for the seller also positively impacts the shopping experience for the buyer. Automation keeps customers from abandoning shopping carts by providing instant, accurate shipping rates at the point of sale and calculating rates based on location, delivery method and carrier instantly. As a buyer, having this information without diving any further than placing a product in your online shopping cart is a resource necessary for actual purchasing.

If I had to guess, I would estimate that my polaroid camera is at least 12 times the size of my smart phone. Similar to the idea that time is money, so is size and space. Shipping automation also includes packaging practices, which includes multi-product packaging and delineating the most space-conducive package instantly. The smaller the dimensions, the lower the shipping rate—whether the buyer or seller is paying, this is another profound perk in automated shipping.

The hundreds of Polaroid pictures I took over a decade ago? They are nowhere to be found. Aside from stereotypically falling into the category of a careless middle-school kid, my former self is at a loss. There is no way to track those physical photos, unlike the various clouds, computers and communication devices that store these images today. Tracking, whether it be pictures or shipment information, is key in automatic practices. Online customers track shipments in various carrier modalities, but with the right software, retailers can access tracking information for all shipments, regardless of carrier, in one, easy-to-read place.

The simple pleasures and intricate operations are full of new-age possibilities thanks to automation products. When it comes to shipping automation, these products are what allow businesses to grow and develop. Without them, the possibility of a bright and colorful image is hidden under a permanent film of white.

*logistics employee paid $18.00 per hour