Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has become a big trend in plenty of industries, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
But what is RPA?
RPA is short for Robotic Process Automation. It’s automation software that handles tedious, manual digital tasks and transfers the work of a human worker to a "digital worker". RPA solutions save companies time and money while enhancing productivity by allowing associates to focus on mission-critical work.
To demonstrate just how widespread RPA’s usefulness is (and why so many are investing in it), we’ve compiled a list of real-life examples of RPA helping companies reduce cost, save time, stay competitive and do better work.
1. Finance & Accounting (Invoice Processing)
Accounting and financial management are vital business operations—yet the tasks involved are tedious, error-prone, and don't directly generate revenue.
That makes RPA perfect for many of those tasks.
For instance, within Accounts Payable, Invoice Processing is one of the most time consuming tasks. Invoices come through various channels, then matched to purchase orders, and often need to be approved by different people for payment.
With RPA, you can create rules to send invoices to the right person for approval automatically while your associates focus on the outliers. You can also automate the PO-matching process to mark any errors for further review before submitting the payment.
That’s just one example. Consider all the data entry and manual processing involved in accounting and finance—there are significant use cases for RPA which makes F&A a very typical starting point for many organizations getting started with automation.
2. Human Resources (Hiring & Onboarding)
Hiring just one person can take weeks and can be costly. According to the Society For Human Resources Foundation, the average cost of hiring just one person is $4129 in 2020.
Fortunately, the process of hiring and onboarding contain numerous repetitive and rules based tasks that RPA can assist with.
For instance, a bot can source applicants around the clock with more accuracy and no bias. After sourcing applicants, this bot could also screen resumes and candidates.
Another example: When the company hires an employee, a bot could handle much of the “paperwork” the company is responsible for filling out and applying to various applications.
3. Retail (Inventory Management)
Retail has plenty of labor-intensive activities that are perfect candidates for automation. This is especially true as companies adapt to e-commerce trends.
In particular, retailers would do well to seek RPA solutions for Inventory Management. These retailers often have to keep track of various products across multiple regions.
Not only do they need to ensure they have enough stock to fulfill demand, but they also need to gain insight from inventory management about their demand and other market trends.
RPA can solve these issues through a variety of automations:
- Automating notifications of low inventory (or even automated ordering)
- Optimizing inventory levels to maximize working capital without failing to meet demand
- Reducing inventory errors—inventory records are inaccurate over 60% of the time
- Assessing sales numbers intranationally and internationally
Payroll processing each month is a repetitive and time-consuming task that every HR team deals with. Because of the volume involved, there are often errors and inaccuracy causing rework that can result in delays in payment. Employees don’t tend to like delays in payment!
An RPA bot can verify employee data across multiple systems and validate timesheets, earnings and tax deductions. RPA can also administer taxable benefits and other reimbursements. Just within the payroll function, RPA can help with Payroll functions such as:
- Changes in Payroll Records
- Attendance Management
- Time Entry Validations
- Resignation Handling
- Payroll Deductions
5. Customer Support
These days, customers want and expect fast responses and for their inquiry to be in the right hands...right away.
Many of a customer’s problems and questions can be solved in a routine, standardized manner—making customer support ripe for RPA.
RPA can categorise queries and send them to the correct department, such as technical support, billing, sales etc.
Chatbots are another great example, even if they’re at the intersection of RPA and AI.
For example, say a customer lands on a company’s support page. The chatbot could pop up, ask the customer what they need help with, then automatically provide self-help resources the customer can use.
In many cases, this could be enough to solve the customer’s problem. The bot helps the customer solve their issue faster while saving the company money on customer service.
Additionally, it cuts wait times for customers who do need human agents, as fewer people are waiting on hold.
As you can see, with RPA, you can drive faster responses and increase customer satisfaction.
Find the right RPA solution for your business
Think your business could use the help of automation now that you’ve seen some real-world RPA examples? Schedule a demo with Thoughtful Automation to learn more about our pioneering Bots-as-a-Service model and how we can help your organization along the way in your automation journey.
About the Author
As Senior Account Executive of Thoughtful Automation, Caleb Twito has spent the past 5 years in the Intelligent Automation space, assisting Enterprise Organizations in uplifting and scaling their Automation Program. When he's not talking automation, he loves camping, traveling, writing music and spending time with his wife and 4 boys.