The physical robot is already the casual co-worker in many factories or retailers’ warehouses or shops. But can automation play a more impactful role in these two strongly intertwined industries? As online sales in the US alone are expected to double by 2023, reaching approximately 20 to 25% of the overall retail sector, the landscape is facing numerous challenges that require a reorganization of business processes from top to bottom. Retailers, wholesalers and consumer products companies need to face head-on a host of challenges:
rising production costs, slow growth, new technology disruptions, uncertain labor availability, and most important of all, rapidly changing customer expectations. Enter Enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and its ability to transform work and boost productivity, enhance customer experience and deliver accurate and reliable results in both attended and unattended processes. CPG executives agree: 43% of them already use automation to cut costs and increase efficiency.
RPA is a good fit for processes that require filling, capturing data, updating and processing requests, increasing efficiency and cost-effectiveness. These account for approx. 65% of HR rules-based processes.
RPA enhances cycle time, speed, capacity, and asset efficiency. It also increases customer, supplier and employee satisfaction, while bringing cost savings of more than 30%.
RPA delivers solutions to both enterprise computing and end-user computing. Approx. 30% of the time is spent on low-level, repetitive tasks.
In F&A processes, RPA reduces costs, improves efficiency, accuracy and delivers significantly faster cycle times at more than 50% cost reduction.
The processes are principally manual and often spreadsheet-based, representing the second-biggest expense for the sector, and requiring ongoing data collection and analysis.
#RPA removes human errors and drives efficiency while increasing the ability to quickly and accurately track and analyze how promotions are performing.
With large amounts of sales data to analyze and action every day, these processes demand intensive effort by employees as fast as possible.
#RPA provides full audits with real-time insights, helping retailers and suppliers carry out a more effective analysis to maximize sales opportunities.
Anticipate customer expectations better by segmenting store layouts according to consumer demographics and preferences.
#RPA taps into existing databases and gives retailers access to more accurate information on a store-by-store basis.
New product and product line introductions require significant investment, as well as close collaboration between multiple departments (R&D, manufacturing, marketing).
#RPA easily automates processes related to alerts and monitoring client opinions in real time. Retailers can adjust pricing, production or inventory faster.
Even the largest companies constantly seek to improve their operations. In this case, our customer is a world-leading retail and wholesale business, with a presence in over 25 countries and more than 2 million employees globally.
Confronted with a constant increase of processes and not enough employees to handle them manually, the retailer had to rethink how its entire business functioned, down to the nitty-gritty. RPA became the logical step forward and UiPath was chosen for its power to automate a wide variety of processes across any environment rapidly and with ease.
Working with UiPath was “agile, easy as it comes, and responsive”.World-leading retailer, present in over 25 countries, over 2 million employees
Tax, Audit, HR or Citrix-driven operations are just some of the few areas where the retailer identified the best-suited processes for automation. One of these concerned the “Back office retail file report” in its Brazilian stores. All the reports from hundreds of stores closing on the day before were used so that store managers could validate the closing information for each cash register. A different type of process was related to “Tax Invoices” and involved the retailer quarterly crawling through each vendor’s website to get invoices. Time-consuming and error-prone, these activities prevented employees to be fully productive and make an impact in more customer-centric activities.
For the “Back office retail file report”, the report for each store is now stored in its dedicated individual FTP server. From there, a UiPath Robot reads the input from the terminal and gathers all the information. It then accesses each FTP server and downloads the file and finally aggregate all the reports and dumps them into a shared drive.
In the “Tax invoice” case, the process was reorganized by employing RPA Robots to automatically log into a vendor’s website. Once logged in, the Robot reads the configurable search filters, interprets the content of documents in local drives and merges documents according to their specifications.
Implementing RPA has already brought immediate results. The 400 robots implemented delivered 100% process accuracy.For the retailer, RPA will continue to drive efficiency improvements and free up employees for mission-critical tasks. Working with UiPath was “agile, easy as it comes, and responsive”, allowing them to reach the best automation solutions for each selected process. The responsiveness and support of the UiPath team were a key differentiator.
The customer has a large global presence and sought to automate repetitive and laborious tasks to drive efficiency, productivity and accuracy across various service lines: Procure to Pay (P2P), Order to Cash (O2C), Record to Analyze (R2A), Supply Chain Management (SCM)/ MDM & Tax. All these while keeping the same systems and applications in order without altering the business process flow and steps.
Together with implementation partner Capgemini, a robotics Center of Excellence (CoE) was established. After a Proof of Concept (POC) was successfully implemented, the project was taken into full scale using a complete UiPath Attended & Unattended automation strategy for agent-assisted work as well as back-office intensive activities, where Citrix-based processing represented a main component.
By the end of 2017, UiPath had delivered productivity gains the equivalent of 85 FTEs through the automation of 62 process activities. The normal cycle time was reduced by 60% and the UiPath Robots now complete tasks 3 times faster than advisors. What’s more, the solution provided an ease of scalability to extend the virtual team of co-workers.
Implementing Enterprise RPA allows retail and CPG businesses around the world to focus on what really matters: their customers. Employees get the relevant customer insights in a matter of seconds and deliver personalized services. Financial accounting, new product or new client set up,
customer support, joiners and leavers processes, payroll, supply claims, management reporting, store maintenance are just a few areas where the UiPath Enterprise RPA Platform can put its powers to good use, with proven results at scale. Here’s how:
Implementing a transformational technology like RPA requires speedy and easy implementation. The Platform is equipped with Studio, a powerful and intuitive designer tool that models complex business processes with countless templates, reusable libraries, and desktop, web and Citrix recorders that capture every user action on the screen. With Citrix being a part of daily online retail operations, in processes related to optimizing supply chains or product life cycles, UiPath Robots achieve Citrix automation 8 to 10 times faster than the competition. Our Robots automate any process with speed and 100% accuracy, as well as any data source from any application or web form. To top it all, the UiPath RPA Academy, the first open online training platform for RPA users, ensures your employees master the fundamentals of working with UiPath rapidly.
From processing claims and customer service-related operations to any high-volume, standardized processes related to invoicing, accounting, supply management or data processing, UiPath supports both attended and unattended Robots in a single Enterprise RPA Platform. Working either separately or together in a myriad of retail-related tasks, they deliver results faster, leaner and with unmatched precision.
For those peak trading periods, scaling is essential. The Platform’s flexible architecture allows it to use any retailer’s infrastructure, be it cloud, on-premises or desktops. The Orchestrator centrally manages, deploys and scales automations, prioritizing work on demand to meet service level agreements. As retailers implement RPA in more than one department, they need privacy and security between separate automation projects. With a feature called multi-tenancy, retailers can implement RPA in more than one unit or geography, without compromise to data or other corporate assets.
Automating invoices and any other document in a semi-structured form is no match for UiPath’s Robots as they read, process and classify non-standard data using Intelligent OCR. One of our global retail customers needs to process millions of invoices of many different types every month.This feature completely solves the issue, with powerful machine learning algorithms that train Robots to remember different document layouts and then match new ones against them.
Retailers put emphasis on thorough audit reports, as it allows them to gain critical insights on sales volumes, stock levels, pricing, compliance, product damage and more. With UiPath, companies can master retail compliance with logging, monitoring, and a full audit trail. All Robot and user activities are trackedand stored in log files in the Orchestrator, that integrates ElasticSearch analytics. Add Kibana integration to the mix and you have access to precise audit information reported in customized dashboards, increasing your audit efficiency. Use these insights to target specific areas for improvement and optimization.
In a changing retail environment shaped by squeezing pressures from ecommerce companies, leaders are innovating with Robotic Process Automation
Discover the benefits Robotic Process Automation can bring across the organization, from the retail supply chain to the back office to the shop floor