A single robot improves periodicity and quality of data in the company's processes
From humble beginnings in the small town of Eluru, Vaibhav Jewellers now dwells strongly on its 25 years old trust and legacy. It has today grown into a well-established brand in the jewelery business. From the year 2014 onwards, the family legacy of one showroom witnessed unprecedented growth and expansion, catapulting the operations to 13 branches across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India.
While extremely positive, this growth made it difficult to manually keep up with the growing volumes in its key backend finance processes – sales accounting, inter-branch sales and petty cash transactions.
Delays across key accounting processes mar efficiency
In Invoice Audit & Accounting within sales accounting, a key process for the company, even with a dedicated team of 9 employees, it was unable to update sales reconciliations and accounting on time. The process, which required downloading 150 reports in a day across 13 branches, validating them, reconciling them against every transaction and then entering the data into Tally, would take a whole day to complete.
Similarly, in case of the inter-branch sales process, the entries were not posted into the accounting software on time.
A similar challenge persisted with the petty cash transactions process as well, as entries of 13 branches were not getting accounted on time as it would take two man-days to make all petty cash entries.
A common challenge across all three processes was the delay in updating Accounting systems owing to manual entry of data into Tally. There were several instances of some entry getting left out or erroneous values being entered. All of which ultimately impacted the process accuracy adversely. Needless to say, the month-end reconciliation became a herculean task for the finance team, with entries still pending and discrepancies cropping up. Simultaneously the overhead manpower cost was going up continuously.
“We identified the need for automation here. This was the only factor through which a 100% efficiency versus the costs can be envisaged. Whether it was timely and accurate data updates in the system or reducing manpower costs, automation was at the center of achieving our goals,” explained Sandeep Krishna Y, AGM – IT, Vaibhav Jewellers.
Finding committed partnership with UiPath post implementation support
As head of all IT operations, Sandeep started researching on the right technology solution and found Robotic Process Automation (RPA) best suited to address his three-pronged requirements of efficiency, accuracy and cost reduction.
Finding the most suitable RPA platform to address these three key requirements was his next task. After a comprehensive evaluation of different RPA vendors in the market, he shortlisted UiPath. However, it was not before he did his own homework in terms of getting certified on UiPath, seeing their videos, learning about the UiPath Enterprise RPA platform and understanding how the application works, that he signed on the dotted line.
Sandeep was particularly impressed with UiPath’s community version and found its Enterprise RPA platform to be the most user friendly among all its peers. This shortened the learning curve and made the solution easy and fast to implement.
According to Sandeep, “Besides the short learning curve, what really clicked for us was UiPath’s low cost of maintenance and the strong post-implementation support network. Also knowing that the Bot is regularly updated and new features constantly added gave us the comfort of staying ahead on the technology curve and not fear technology obsolescence.”
Vaibhav Jewellers’ RPA journey started with a Proof of concept (PoC) for the sales accounting process to give management the comfort of testing waters before going the whole hog. With the positive PoC results helping gain management’s confidence of RPA delivering on its promise, Sandeep and his team, in co-ordination with the finance team, went full-steam ahead on implementing RPA across the three identified processes of sales accounting, inter-branch sales and petty cash transactions.
Sandeep Krishna YAGM – IT, Vaibhav Jewellers
“Besides the short learning curve, what really clicked for us was UiPath’s low cost of maintenance and the strong post implementation support network. Also knowing that the Bot is regularly updated and new features constantly added gave us the comfort of staying ahead on the technology curve and not fear technology obsolescence.”
UiPath helps speed up key processes while saving manpower costs
Within three months of implementation of UiPath Enterprise RPA platform, Vaibhav Jewellers has already started seeing drastic improvement on all three parameters it set out to achieve – efficiency, accuracy and cost savings.
Examples from across the three processes where process efficiency, accuracy and cost savings gains have created tangible business value:
Sales Accounting Process
Automation of the sales accounting process has helped bring down the process time from 9 man-days to one hour for a single day transaction of all 13 branches, leading to 1,500 man-days savings per annum. This has led to significant manpower cost savings with 4 employees re-assigned to new processes, which would have otherwise required hiring new manpower. Besides cost savings, the move from data entry to a more productive profile has helped improve job satisfaction for these employees.
The reduced latency has helped improve process efficiencies and report availability on time. The timely entry of data into Tally provides the finance team with complete and accurate visibility into the status of the accounts, which is extremely critical for the business to ensure proper financial planning.
Meanwhile, with the complete elimination of manual intervention, the error rates have drastically reduced by 90%. The Bot downloads all 150 reports, reconciles them, runs them against all checkpoints and pushes the data into Tally. It highlights any errors and discrepancies and automatically triggers mail for the audit team to look into. While this ensures any errors are caught and rectified in time, it also saves significant effort for the audit team to unnecessarily cross-check all the entries.
Inter-branch Sales Process
Automation of the process has significantly reduced the latency, with the reconciliation and entry of inter-branch sales invoice into Tally now happening daily. Every morning, the Bot automatically checks for any inter-branch sales invoice, downloads the report and does the reconciliation before posting the data into Tally. This entire process is completed within 15 minutes as opposed to 2-3 hours taken every week.
Daily update of data in the accounting system has helped present an accurate picture of the company’s accounts, daily. This has also helped with the GST transactions getting reflected in the ledger daily.
Petty Cash Transactions Process
The automation of the process has helped reduce the time taken for entry of 300 petty cash transactions every day into Tally across all 13 showrooms from 2 man-days to 40 minutes. With petty cash transactions running into 10,000 every month, the company is able to save over 60 man-days per month, running into over 700 man-days savings per annum.
Besides saving the manpower cost by re-allocating the responsible employee to other tasks that otherwise required hiring, it also helped the company utilize the manpower more productively.
Also, since the entries are now automatically picked by the bot from the excel sheet sent by each showroom, reconciled with the vouchers and posted into Tally instead of being manually entered, the error rate has reduced by almost 90%.
“Since we started our RPA journey, the efficiency and accuracy brought in by UiPath has improved both the quality and periodicity of data, which has brought significant streamlining of the financial system and planning. Add to this the cost savings and better manpower utilization through re-alignment from non-productive to productive tasks, and our business case for RPA has been more than realized,” explained Sandeep.
Future-ready with UiPath
An outcome from the success of the first round of back-end process automation at Vaibhav Jewellers is the growing traction within the organization. “As we alleviated any initial job loss fear among our employees, we started receiving automation requests from different teams. The interesting thing is that now employees want the Bot to take over their mundane data entry. Moving our employees from repetitive non-productive tasks to more productive ones where their contribution brings value has been a big employee morale booster,” added Sandeep.
Sandeep Krishna YAGM – IT, Vaibhav Jewellers
“Since we started our RPA journey, the efficiency and accuracy brought in by UiPath has improved both the quality and periodicity of data, which has brought significant hygiene factor into our financial system and planning, Add to this the cost savings and better manpower utilization through re-alignment from non-productive to productive tasks, and our business case for RPA has been more than realized.”
Buoyed by the initial success, the company has outlined more back-end processes for automation, including bank reconciliation, social media Analytics and customer data entry among others.
“Bot is the future and we depend on our partnership with UiPath to help us stay updated and ready for this future. Our commitment to RPA as a technology and UiPath as a partner will only strengthen as we identify more use cases to derive more business value out of automation,” concluded Sandeep.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 1,500man-day savings annually in the sales accounting process
- 450man-day savings annually in the petty cash transactions process
- 3processes automated
- 1UiPath Robot currently in production at Vaibhav Jewellers
- 90%reduction in error rates