Determine the automation task that will result in the highest return on investment:
1. Compare your list when ranked by total task time, and then by total annualized cost, and choose 3 tasks that rank both high in cost and low in task time. These items are likely to give you the highest return on your investment because high associated labor costs will be saved, and programming costs will be lowest. High labor costs could be because of the payrate of the employee, or because of the number of employees performing this same task.
2. If cash flow doesn't support the initial investment for the item with the highest ROI, reorder your list and start with the tasks that have are low in time, regardless of the associated labor costs. Taking one small but affordable programming task at a time, you'll work your way up as efficiencies free up cash.