Robotic Process Automation

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is used to automate the manual processes of any software application.  Software has been developed to allow users to connect to any application and work with that application by receiving output and entering input to/from that application.  RPA can integrate the use of multiple applications in the same automation.

RPA is relatively new to the business market.  Our 23 years of business experience and automation experience allow us to provide very high-level RPA solutions.  Most RPA developers do not have the expertise we have. We have already been called upon to create complex RPA robots where other RPA developers did not have the knowledge to create those robots.

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Our Process

Our approach to providing RPA solutions for any of your company’s business processes:

  1. 1Assess the business process with a Subject Matter Expert
    • Is the process consistent and predictable?
    • Is the process anticipated to change soon?
    • How long is the current process vs. the anticipated timing after RPA?
    • Are there upstream or downstream processes that should be included with the automation?  Can any of these processes be anticipated to change, or be removed, due to better timing, accuracy, etc.?
  2. 2Create a solution plan by determining the process flow and how the RPA process is to be built.
  3. 3Build the RPA process (robot) in a development environment.
  4. 4Have the Subject Matter Expert, and any other users, test the RPA process in a QA environment.
  5. 5After all testing is confirmed and approved, move the RPA process to a production environment.

Who Can Benefit from RPA?

RPA can benefit virtually any business which uses data to empower their teams to make strategic decisions. Our RPA services are increasingly sought after in these industries:

  • Banking and Finance
  • Mortgage and Lending
  • Accounting
  • eCommerce
  • Automotive
  • Energy
  • Airline
  • Software and Technology
  • Retail and Grocery
  • Agriculture / Industrial / Manufacturing

The Benefits of RPA

The benefits of RPA are vast and often immediate.

  • Robots can be set up and then run on a scheduled basis or on demand.
  • Robots perform processes on separate computers, allowing employees to not tie-up their own computers so they can work on value-added tasks.
  • Robots can be built to leverage the use of Excel Automation, allowing full end-to-end automation solutions to be built with necessary – and often minimal – employee interaction.
  • Significant time savings – processes, reports and analysis are available much sooner. Business processes can be performed any time of the day.
  • Accuracy – calculations and performance are consistent and correct. This can remove downstream work related to handling of errors.
  • More productive and cost-efficient employees.
    • Robots allows analysts to be analysts and managers to be managers.
    • If you remove tasks that normally take employees hours to perform, you can remove the need for excessive overtime.
    • Repetitive task related jobs can also lead to high employee turnover.

Case Study: The Power of RPA in Action

SCENARIO

An automotive company creates purchase incentives for vehicles.  The incentive administration department prepares some incentives using a mainframe system and some incentives using a browser-based system.  

The mainframe system process was prone to error and required a lot of time for employees to track down errors and update the mainframe system with the correct information.

The creation of the incentives, in the browser-based system, usually took the entire month because there are over 100 of them to create and employees didn’t have the time.  To create one of these incentives involved entering data through five different screens in the browser tool.

Automotive dealers were not receiving payments for incentives in a timely manner.  Because of errors and incentives not being created, dealers may not get paid until one or two months later.

SOLUTION FOR BROWSER-BASED SYSTEM

Our company created an automated Microsoft Excel process that sets up the incentive data in an Excel table. The fields in the Excel table coincide with the fields in the browser-based system which were used to create an incentive.

An RPA process was created to use the Excel table and create an incentive for each row in the table.  After creating the incentive, the robot uses the PDF feature in the browser-based system to create a PDF of each incentive. The PDF is used for verification and approval purposes.

A dashboard was created in Excel to provide the workflow of the process. The Excel automation sets up the data. Then a user can press a button in Excel to execute the RPA process. The RPA process executes on a different computer. Depending on how many incentives are created, the RPA process can take 5 to 40 minutes.  Because the process is being performed on a separate computer, the user can work on other value-add processes.

SOLUTION FOR MAINFRAME SYSTEM

Our company built an automated Microsoft Excel process to convert the data received from Marketing into a file that can be loaded into the mainframe.  A process that took 2-3 weeks was reduced to one day!  As a result of the automation, there were no longer errors in creative incentives. This allowed downstream processes, related to errors, to no longer be necessary.

TOTAL SOLUTION BENEFIT

The following benefits are recognized for the combination of RPA automation and Microsoft Excel automation for the automotive company:

  • All incentives are created at the beginning of the month, within the first day or two. This allows dealers to get paid much sooner.
  • There are no longer errors in the incentives that are created. This allows employees to focus on other tasks, rather than tracking down errors that were identified by dealers.
  • Dealers are getting paid significantly faster, causing dealers to be very happy with the incentive administration department. You cannot put a measure on this benefit.

We hope this scenario and solution provides a great example of how RPA automation and Microsoft Excel automation can be combined together to create an amazing end-to-end solution. Most RPA developers cannot automate Excel, especially not anywhere near the ability that our company can.  Many RPA developers have told us they wish they could automate Microsoft Excel. They cannot build quality end-to-end processes without having that skill.