Editor's note: Written by an individual contributor, this "success story" is a fictitious but whimsical look at how Santa might use RPA.
At UiPath, we erase boundaries between ourselves and our customers through shared knowledge and growth. “There is nothing more important than the success of each and every customer and partner,” said Daniel Dines, founder and CEO at UiPath.
Being part of the Customer Success team gives me the privilege of working with many of our customers, accelerating product adoption by maximizing the speed to value. Over the last few years, we’ve been involved in a lot of digital transformations for a variety of companies, but even we were amazed when Santa Claus himself asked us for help. For such a unique customer, we switched from customer success to Christmas success due to our special goal: make children around the world happy.
Let me tell you more about this Christmas success story.
HoHoHo Inc. is a multinational toy manufacturing company. It was founded during the 16th century with headquarters in Santa Claus Village, North Pole. In 2017, it ranked in the number one spot on the Fortune 500 list. The products and brands the company produces include toddler toys, dolls, cars, superhero figures, building blocks, board games, etc. You name it and this toy company likely manufactures it.
The company is present in 40 countries and territories and sells products in more than 150 nations. It operates worldwide. In terms of revenue, they are the largest toymaker in the world.
Why Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
The company’s main goal is to deliver gifts to around 200 million children spread over 200 million square miles. This means that there are about 75 million homes to visit. Since the average distance between homes is 1.63 miles, the company needs to cover 122 million miles. To cover this distance on Christmas night, Santa Claus’ sleigh would need to travel at an average speed of 5,083,000 mph!
How is it possible? We don’t know and, honestly speaking, we don’t even want to know. It’s magic!
However, Santa Claus is facing increasing pressure from the market and his “customers.” The challenge involves the rapid change in consumer-centric ecosystems, from the rise of e-commerce to the proliferation of digital devices.
How can technology help Santa focus on his core business, which is making children happy? How can it remove the undifferentiated heavy lifting of mundane, repetitive tasks?
The answer is RPA.
UiPath Enterprise RPA Platform empowers employees to increase productivity and efficiency. By automating a big part of the manual back-office work, HoHoHo Inc. envisioned reallocating time and attention toward adding value for their little customers. Software robots can automate routine tasks. The robots would permit elves to focus on more strategic work and have more time to be creative.
First, the company automated only a few processes. Then, they worked with key stakeholders from different business units to showcase the business value of RPA. After a final meeting with the chief toys officer (CTO), and the chief elf officer (CEO), all the processes that needed to be automated were agreed upon.
Onboarding seasonal workers
Santa does not work alone. He counts on his elves, but, during Christmas, he needs more help. When hiring new employees, besides the mountains of paperwork involved, the process tasks are very time-consuming. Because human resources (HR) processes are high volume and repetitive, RPA has the potential to improve them. By using unattended robots to improve efficiency and accuracy, the HR processes are done in a more structured way.
Letters to Santa: Reading and classification
How many letters do Santa and his elves read? And in how many languages? The letters process was cumbersome, manual, and made elves wade through handwritten text, paper documents, and email text. Intelligent optical character recognition (OCR) digitizes documents and images, such as handwritten letters, check-boxes, and cross-outs that were challenging for legacy OCR systems. Taking advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) in document classification and data extraction makes processes easier.
Let’s imagine that a child gave a new “shipping” address. RPA and AI increased accuracy and added the paper-recorded client histories to the children relationship management (CRM) system. Now, it’s easy to understand exactly which car model should be delivered to little Tom and that the delivery is to a new address.
Purchase order creation
Purchase order (PO) creation is a critical process for HoHoHo Inc. that demands high accuracy and on-time delivery. If the PO doesn't go out on time, the delivery is delayed, leading to millions of children crying and whining.
Now, UiPath robots run daily to manage the supplier bids. They help prepare the bids and award them to the suppliers. Once the bids are finalized, they create the PO, create the contract with the suppliers, and validate the pay app for the bids. This is how the company has 100% accuracy and ensures that the car model for Tom has been ordered.
When companies are as large as HoHoHo Inc., different vendors and regions create complex invoice systems. Furthermore, invoices need to be as accurate as possible. Manual processing is resource-intensive, and requires elves to input, match, and check data.
The main challenge with automating invoices is that these documents often don’t come in a consistent, standard template. Every invoice can look different. Critical information such as the price or invoice number can be in a completely different place.
A second challenge is addressing complexities found in real-world documents. These rarely come perfectly printed and cleanly scanned in the highest resolution. UiPath Receipt and Invoice AI, developed by our world-class machine learning (ML) and AI team, is the solution.
By implementing the UiPath Enterprise RPA Platform, Santa saves time, money, and materials with his invoice and shipping processes.
RPA Center of Elves
How to properly skill the elves to become RPA professionals? Whether it’s a certified RPA developer, RPA solution architect, RPA business analyst, RPA implementation manager or even an RPA infrastructure engineer, UiPath Academy has everybody covered by offering free learning resources.
Gaining this expertise allows the team to nominate automation processes in their business areas to the core Center of Elves (CoE) team. Then, they can assess the technical feasibility and potential ROI of automating each nominated process.
Since we started our RPA journey, UiPath has been saving us around 1,500 elf days per month across the business, in addition to the pinpoint accuracy and on-time deliveries that resulted following the RPA implementation. This has helped us save costs as well as use our manpower productively by reallocating team members to more value-adding processes.
- Santa Claus
UiPath helped the company automate 28 processes. This drove key business outcomes around productivity, efficiency, and cost savings while directing HoHoHo Inc. on a strategic path to digital transformation.
HoHoHo Inc. is now evaluating the latest release of the UiPath platform, which will help customers to manage the full automation lifecycle, from planning to measuring the impact of each automation. But there is something impossible to measure: the happiness of a child with their Christmas gift.
Gaspare Marino is a customer success manager at UiPath.