Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) are becoming one of the most dominant tools companies have for remaining competitive and adapting to the future.  RPA is not as mysterious as it seems, and this article simply introduces the concepts – an RPA 101, if you like.

What is RPA?

Most simply, RPA is the automation of a process, using a software User Interface, aiming to replace repetitive and repeatable tasks performed by people, with a virtual workforce. This leaves the human workforce free to make judgement calls, handle exceptions and provide oversight,

This is achieved by configuring software which automates the activities or tasks previously performed by humans, and a robot is programmed to run application software in the exact same way that a person would work with that software.

What are the key Market Drivers for RPA?

  • Cost Pressure
  • Customer Expectations
  • Growth
  • New Technology
  • Outsourcing Market Saturation
  • Compliance & Regulations

Benefits of RPA:

  • Better Customer Experience
  • Enhanced Ability to Manage Cost Reduction
  • Non -Invasive Technology
  • Increased Compliance
  • Eliminate Repetitive Work
  • Enhanced Processes
  • Insights and Analytics
  • Rapid ROI
  • Improved Service Delivery
  • Scalability And Flexibility

What processes should be automated?

As a rule of thumb, do not automate a process which has not been re-engineered.  Automation of an inefficient process will not give optimal results.  Whilst there is still perceived benefit, you will achieve so much more by streamlining the process first.

Highly manual and repetitive processes

  • High transaction volume processes
  • Highly frequent processes running daily, weekly (instead of monthly or yearly, which involve lots of manual work or work prone to human error)

Processes with standard readable electronic Input Type

  • Triggered by standard and consistent inputs. The inputs should be in a readable input type like Excel, Word, email, XML, PPT, readable PDFs etc
  • Triggered by input types which are not readable (scanned images with no OCR are not prone to automation.)

Changeable Processing Method or System Change

  • The processing method cannot be changed
  • Fundamental changes are not required in the underlying technical architecture of the current systems (e.g new interface development or changes in configuration for existing systems to enable automation)
  • We strongly recommend to avoid automating a process that will be changed in the short term

Rule-Based Processes

  • Activities with clear processing instructions (template-driven), with decision making based on standardized and predictive rules

High Volumes

  • Processes with high transaction volumes (and high frequency).

Automation Savings

  • It’s recommended to automate only the processes that can provide a saving in terms of human work-effort of minimum 2 FTEs

Low Exception rate

  • Activities with low number of variation scenarios existing in the process leading to different handling procedures

Mature and stable Processes

  • Well documented, stable, predictable
  • Known operational costs

Processes every Company should Automate:

In our experience there are some processes which lend themselves to Robotic Automation almost naturally.  As discussed above, these processes still need to be assessed in terms of their repetitiveness, minimal exceptions, and computer-based work.  Below is a breakdown of good RPA candidates, per business area:

HR Services

Due to the huge amount of repetitive, often manual, administrative tasks, under the shape of form fillings, data capturing, updating and disseminating and large number of request processing, HR is a gold mine of opportunities for automation.

  • Data Entry
  • Order to Cash
  • Procure to Pay (AP)
  • Record to Report
  • Vendor Management
  • Collections
  • Incentive Claims
  • Sales Order
  • Payroll
  • Joiners, Movers, Leavers
  • Personnel Administration

Supply Chain

Supply chain problems cost companies between 9-20% of their value over a period of 6 months. The processes mentioned in this slide are typically prone to automation and represent typical area of improvement in any supply chain operations.

  • Inventory management
  • Demand and supply planning
  • Invoice and contract management
  • Work order management
  • Freight management
  • Returns processing
  • Server and app monitoring
  • Software deployment
  • Routine maintenance & monitoring
  • Email processing and distribution
  • Batch Processing
  • Password reset/unlock
  • Back up & restoration

Finance and Accounting

Finance and Accounting is another area where automation can have significant positive impact on cost savings, improved efficiency and streamline processes, when applied

  • Procure to Pay (AP)
  • Order to Cash
  • Record to Report
  • Vendor Management
  • Collections
  • Incentive Claims
  • Sales Order

IT Services

With an estimated 30% of time spent on low level tasks, IT is compelled to embrace automation as a way to focus on the initiatives that require innovative thinking, and be able to tackle with the critical organizational tasks currently consuming much of their time.

Robotics, AI, IoT, and other interesting technologies

Some early-adopters have already started seperating themselves from their competitors, by bringing in automation.  RPA is a simple, yet inexpensive way of making a HUGE impact on your organisation’s effeciency and bottom line.  Why not call us to see what RPA can do for you?  Metatrans uses well qualified staff, and uses UI Path as our RPA Tool of choice.