Client: SF SUPPLY CHAIN  Region: apac Industry: LOGISTICS

RPA Enable SF Supply Chain to Build Ecological Service System

With a focus on both high-quality service and efficiency, SF is actively expanding the scope and depth of its services, and improving its ecological supply chain service systems.

SF Supply Chain amalgamates world-class supply chain expertise from Deutsche Post DHL Group and extensive domestic infrastructure and solid customer base from SF Holding to deliver top quality turnkey supply chain solutions to cross-industry enterprise customers, involving hi-tech, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), retail, automotive, engineering and industrial manufacturing, life sciences and medical sectors, covering Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao markets.

Amidst the trend of digital transformation across the entire industry, SF Supply Chain optimizes its business with RPA intelligence, which is used for warehouse data operations, exploring a path of digital transformation that meet its own needs while improving warehouse management.

Strengthened requirements for service capabilities, compared to B2C business

Unlike B2C traditional express, SF Supply Chain is characterized as a high level of non-standard customization according to the service features of the supply chain. As the needs of the upstream and downstream customers are so diverse and change frequently, the operation process of data platform interaction is extremely complex and involves a wide variety of systems.

Performing routine operations on the data in warehouses, for example, involves a great deal of repetitive work, such as data interaction between WMS and the third-party system during the process of receiving, shipping, and making inventory, printing documents and labels, KPI report statement creating and display, document review and archiving. These tasks take up too much time and energy for data operators, which impairs their capability to produce more creative and knowledge-based work.

This is where RPA, an important tool for data processing, comes into play. SF Supply Chain has been introduced and implemented RPA technology since 2018, primarily used in warehouse data operation business.

Innovation funnel model accelerates RPA lighthouse pilot project

The digital project of SF Supply Chain has always followed the “innovation funnel” model, which starts with “innovative ideas”, then goes through “proof-of-concept”, “product development”, and finally “regional deployment”.

For RPA project, with the support of the Digital Committee, SF Supply Chain COE team, taking the selected ten flagship sites from the “lighthouse pilot project” as the base, works jointly with the operation team to verify the benefits and feasibility of one-stop service , from “demand analysis”, to “scheme design”, “review and approval”, “development and deployment” all the way to “after-sales and maintenance”. Through the trial operation of the pilot project, the Digital Committee found that RPA technology can bring substantial improvement on efficiency and dramatic cost reduction. In the future, the team will continue to optimize the COE process, stick to the concept of remote research, development and deployment, and extend the large-scaled and modular RPA to other sites across the nation.

So what about the result? Let’s take the delivery process in one of the SF Supply Chain sites as an example. After the adoption of RPA technology, the delivery data operation in the system, originally required 2 FTEs, was handed over to the robot. With the average order over 10,000 monthly, the robots had taken over all the highly repetitive and time-consuming work, which not only greatly improved the delivery efficiency, but also improved employee satisfaction, enabling employees to devote more time on developing core skills.

In addition, the extremely low error rate of RPA also avoids manual operation errors such as order data and packaging data entry errors, which lays a good foundation for improving customer service.

Future-oriented, on-going Digital Upgrade

At present, SF Supply Chain is committed to the digital transformation and upgrading of its supply chain. With many years of experiences serving various major industries, SF Supply Chain has built a digital architecture, based on their collection and assortment of enterprise business models and work-flows. Through a sophisticated understanding of the entire supply chain, SF Supply Chain has been able to help its customers to control costs, improve efficiency and the operating income.

As a key component of SF Supply Chain digital strategy, RPA project has entered the phase of rapid deployment in the operation departments on a large scale. At the same time, COE team is also developing robot business modules dedicated to supply chain operation, such as order printing, receiving processing and wave picking, to better serve diversified supply chain customers through standardization and modularization of product services.operation, such as order printing, receiving processing and wave picking, to better serve diversified supply chain customers through standardization and modularization of product services.

Felix Yang, head of digital acceleration project of SF Supply Chain in greater China, also shared his experience in RPA deployment. He said frankly, “Open and creative thinking leaders and change-minded employees are important factors to succeed in promoting digital initiatives including RPA. Adhering to the principle of ‘optimization before automation’, the users streamline, optimize and standardize the operation process first before they continue to research, promote and deploy RPA or other digital technologies.”

SF Supply Chain hopes to take the advantage of RPA technology to provide more complete and high-quality services for more industries including FMCG, automobiles, medicine and high-tech, as well as for upstream and downstream businesses related to operation. Through a win-win cooperation with UiPath, SF Supply Chain has incorporated RPA technology into implementation of company’s digital strategy, interconnected with other intelligent products. Automation, sharing, and transparency of data processing have been gradually achieved, and the digital upgrading in the company has been accelerated and improved in all aspects and areas. In the future, SF Supply Chain will continue its efforts to incubate more RPA projects and help its business grow steadily.

UiPath integrates RPA deeply with artificial intelligence, providing customers with an excellent automation experience and enabling enterprises to proceed towards a truly full digital transformation. In addition to its strong local support capabilities, UiPath can provide enterprises with expanded resources and services through its marketing, community forums and partner programs. These are what SF Supply Chain valued.

Felix Yang
Head of Digital Acceleration Project, SF Supply Chain, Greater China

 

BY THE NUMBERS

  • 10,000orders per month handled by robot
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