One of the things we try to do is automate as much of the backend work as possible. We recently managed to automate our order entry into Quickbooks (i.e. the orders from our site download direct into QB - thus reducing the punch in time which was getting significant). We've also got shipping 90% automated, with only the packing and weighing of the boxes and box sizes being the last bits we have to do.
One thing we haven't done - which was brought to mind by 3 hours of work today - is the updating of stock levels. That is, when new stock comes in, we still have to manually edit each product to show the new stock quantities.
Now, there's technically a way to do it (I believe) by downloading the stores current stock list and then editing that XLS/CSV file before uploading the entire file. It'd be much, much faster, especially as I work in Excel anyway.
So I'd just need to say edit 'Settlers of Catan' in the Excel sheet, matching it with the new quantities and upload it, disregarding the need to search for, open, edit and save individual files in the backend.
The problem of doing this comes from a few different areas - different SKUs used by different distributors for the same product means I manually have to watch for these changes and correct them.
Also, since this is an addition to current stock, I actually have to write some code in Excel so that it just doesn't replace stock quantities (e.g. if I have 2 copies of Settlers of Catan in-stock and I buy 5, I don't want it to replace it with 5 but actually do 7).
The last reason why we haven't gotten around to this is pure fear. I don't have a 'test' site to work on. Any changes I make goes live - the developers do, but I don't have access to that site normally since it's always getting tweaked and it's better for me not to have that access. So I either have to schedule time to do this with the developers with full backups ready or schedule time on the test site to make sure it all works out well. And still be mortally afraid something goes wrong.
Currently, it's not a major problem, but come Christmas, it's going to be bad. So that's another thing on the list I need to look into. Gah!