Does RPA involve Physical Robots or Digital Processes?

When we talk about automation, most people probably think of the physical machines and robots used in the industry. In the supply chain this type of robot has rightly proven to be advantageous, but what about digital processes that a classic machine cannot handle? Digital refers to processes requiring an employee to work on a PC and in which data is processed with various applications.

Robot hands typing on the keyboard would be theoretically possible but highly impractical. Thankfully, in recent years software solutions have established themselves within the framework of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) where virtual robots perform transactional processes based on given data inputs without the need for human intervention. More and more companies are relying on the RPA horse, which is driving digital transformation in companies.

Get Rid of Manual Work and Use RPA

It is not that RPA is the sole solution to all problems, but automation technology can be seen to have some attractive advantages. A virtual robot can reduce the hours a full-time employee spends on the PC and thus lead to cost savings. Particularly long-winded, repetitive tasks can, therefore, be accelerated quickly and easily by the robot. The average processing time and lead time improve, while the processing volume can increase simultaneously. Productivity gains enable the organization to act faster than before.

Further improvements come in the form of error reduction. Provided they have been correctly parameterized and configured according to the needs of the organization, robots perform their tasks without errors. The susceptibility to errors is minimized and an error rate of about 0% can lead to significant increases in quality. This is not only an internal effect, but it can also have a positive impact on the customer side. A customer center that automates customer inquiries can process them faster and this will influence customer satisfaction.

The increased ability provided by RPA is not just the short term effects on a process, but it also has a long-term effect on the organization and its structures. In the ideal case, the robot infrastructure is scaled by several business units, which improves the performance of the entire company.

RPA is Not Rocket Science!

RPA is not rocket science and can be implemented within a few weeks. Nevertheless, it should be borne in mind that there are certain criteria for determining the complexity of a process. The complexity can determine the feasibility of an RPA implementation, ranging from easily implementable automation to not recommendable implementation in the worst case.

It’s important to consider how many screens are navigated in the process and which types of applications are involved (Java applications, SAP, web-based applications, MS Office, etc.). In addition, the process might have some (maybe unplanned) deviations or exceptions where the desired result does not always happen. For example, an application may be unavailable because the servers are being maintained, or critical information required to continue the process may be missing. However, all this is specified when programming the robot, so that even exceptional situations can be handled without manual intervention.

Other factors that determine the complexity of processing include the readability and structure of the data inputs. For example, free text in e-mail traffic is regarded as unstructured and therefore more complex than a simple invoice in PDF format. If a certain structure exists, the data to be read out can be determined more easily by the robot. In cases where text cannot be identified by the robot, image-based automation is used, which contributes to the complexity.

Although these and many other factors have to be taken into account, implementation can be less complex than expected… But despite the ease of entry, the complexity and potential exceptions of a process should of course not be underestimated.

Wrapping Up

Robots are very efficient in the fast and accurate execution of transactional processes. You can work 24/7 and reduce immense backlogs to a minimum. Best of all, the implementation, depending on the underlying logic and complexity of the process, could be completed in a matter of a few weeks leading to a positive ROI.

Is RPA something appealing to your organization? Find out and consult our team to learn more about the potential for RPA in your organization.


Tags: #RPA #FutureOfWork #DigitalProcesses #PhysicalRobots, Manufacturing