Industry TalkRegular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.
Five promising use cases for Robotic Process Automation
The current pandemic presents a major challenge for many organisations, especially when it comes to remaining competitive in an uncertain economic situation. In order to overcome the difficulties, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is adopted by many businesses to boost their productivity, improve service and product quality and increase customer satisfaction. In RPA, a software robot mimics and automatically performs manual processes within and across applications. One of the advantages of this technology is that it does not require access to interfaces or connectors in order to automate processes in many application scenarios.
All processes that have a clear structure are suitable for automation, as long as they include fixed rules that can serve as a guide for the software robot. Here are five example scenarios in which the use of RPA adds value:
Extraction and migration of data
When companies’ legacy systems are supplemented or replaced by new solutions, data must be extracted and migrated. How well this works depends primarily on how well the old and the new systems communicate. The development of suitable interfaces and connectors usually requires a lot of effort. RPA can take on the role of the interface, acting as an intermediary between the systems and automatically extracting and migrating the necessary data. Anomalies and low-quality data are detected early, preventing potential data issues and speeding up the migration process while requiring less skills and human resources.
Employees in customer service tend to perform routine tasks that are ideal for RPA to step in. A typical scenario includes, for example, the proof of delivery process. A proof of delivery (POD) is a document that accompanies goods and confirms that they have been properly delivered. In many industries such as finance & banking or healthcare this document is an important part of customer service. Organisations usually retrieve the necessary documents and information by regularly checking their carriers’ websites – a highly repetitive and tedious task. However, this process follows fixed rules, making it a perfect deployment scenario for RPA. Appropriate solutions can automatically link the information from the delivery documents to an organisation’s internal data, speeding up order tracking and improving customer service response times.
Invoice processing is often considered a time-consuming and labour-intensive task, as it involves multiple operations performed by different employees. Moreover, the number of steps and people involved, and the fact that it is such a monotonous job, make the process far more susceptible to human error. Software, however, knows no monotony. Companies can use RPA to scan documents and automatically send invoices to the relevant departments for approval. Embedding akaBot – a tailor-made RPA – into the invoice handling and matching process saved the Vietnamese branch of a global retailer 50% of costs and 100,000 hours per year.
In the back office, manual inventory management is a particularly tedious and time-consuming process. Employees are faced with the task of carefully validating the data in their warehouse management system, as well as collecting and recording any related information. RPA can once again simplify this process by automatically adding information about new orders to an organisation’s database and at the same time sending an email confirmation to the relevant stakeholders.
Businesses spend a lot of time and resources developing compliance checklists, preparing relevant data and generating compliance reports. RPA significantly reduces this burden as it allows reports to be automatically generated from the available data. This minimises the time employees spend on compliance related tasks. In addition, the technology can easily and quickly be adapted to new regulations since bots can be easily deployed and re-assigned when more volume is needed.
Think big, start smart
RPA is not a fad. it’s here to stay. Gartner predicts that 90% of global enterprises will adopt RPA by 2022. The key to implementing RPA is to start with small projects, learn from them, and then build on these learnings. Used smartly, this technology allows organisations to increase both productivity and efficiency, avoid errors and boost customer satisfaction. With the help of RPA, employees’ time is freed up so they can focus on more complex tasks, which in turn increases employee satisfaction and creates more value to businesses.
Thanks to its ability to mimic human interactions, RPA can be used in a variety of ways. Implementing the technology into an existing IT system only takes a few weeks – so businesses will see a quick return on investment.