Businesses are improving profits and productivity through the use of large-scale automation; your business can experience this, too. Earl Foote, with Nexus IT in Park City, UT shares his insights into the role of robotic process automation in modern enterprises.
Increase Profits, Productivity Through Automating Processes
Ninety-five percent of organizations that have implemented robotic process automation (RPA) say it has led to increased productivity, according to a Deloitte study. Eighty-one percent say RPA has reduced their production costs. In many cases, RPA can perform processes 20 times faster than humans, according to Inc. 42. A robot is about one-third the cost of an off-shore employee and robots also can work around-the-clock without tiring and while making few mistakes. Given these advantages, implementation of RPA or expansion of current RPA is a high priority for many organizations, especially those with repetitive processes.
The first step in implementing RPA is to identify those repetitive processes, describe the process flow using steps and rules, and then develop an automation plan by mapping each step, Inc. 42 says. Once the process is mapped, the robot is trained and tested. The robot then must be included within the workforce and new operating models created that include the robot, Inc 42 says. The company then must migrate to a scalable IT architecture.
The Deloitte survey indicated that only 4 percent of organizations are currently operating 50 or more robots, an increase of only 3 percent over 2017. Yet, if organizations are to fully benefit from the increased productivity and profitability that automation brings, they must find a way to easily scale robotics to include all or most of their administrative and business processes.
Bridging the Gap
One way to move toward more widespread use of robots is through an automation platform that bridges the gap between Application Programming Interface-based automation and User-Interface-based automation. This enables the individual user to turn routine tasks into automated ones by recording and playing back human interactions with software that doesn’t support API. This will allow even the automation of processes that use legacy software.
Creating the Vision
Another challenge organizations face is lack of a clear RPA vision and strategy. To meet this challenge, management first determines which processes will be automated, why, and over what timeframe. They then communicate this change and its benefits clearly, involving employees in learning how to collaborate with robots. The strategy also might include retraining of employees.
Despite the challenges, some businesses have been able to implement large-scale automation and are pleased with the results.
- Telefónica O2, a large U.K.-based firm, has been able to automate 15 different processes using more than 160 robots. The company reports that its return on investment in RPA has exceeded 650 percent, according to Inc42.
- China-based Cambridge Industries Group has already replaced half of its workforce with robots and is continuing to automate. In addition to labor cost savings, Cambridge has been able to save on energy costs because the robots can operate in dark warehouses.
- More than 100,000 work in Amazon’s warehouses worldwide. Amazon, however, still employs more humans than robots because robots lack the problem-solving skills required for many tasks.
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