How often does it happen in the office that we automatically perform simple, routine tasks without thinking about? It occurs when experience has become so consolidated that we can achieve that task on “autopilot” mode. In reality, even if we have speeded up over the years, these activities still occupy a part of our working day and take time away from more complex and, at times, more rewarding tasks. And here we are, thinking about automated software that can support us. We are entering the field of automation: let’s see the advantages of RPA and its evolution.
RPA: Which companies stand to gain the most?
Robotic Process Automation can be useful for any business, but it doesn’t guarantee the same benefits to all manufacturing companies. The value it brings depends on the business model of the company. For example, if a company’s production capacity is finite, RPA can optimize processes, but the increase in revenue will be relative. In general, when the process is tied to finite capacity or limited logistics, even the benefits of automation will be limited.
Let’s take an example. A company that manufactures snow equipment will have periods during the year when demand will increase, and customer service resources will not be able to respond in time to requests. The business owner might choose to automate, with a chatbot, the first stage of contact with potential customers. This investment, at first, will increase earnings. However, once the firm has reached maximum capacity, a further increase in demand may not be met unless the firm reinvests, for example, in new machinery.
In any case, automation can be customized on various levels to fit the company’s business model:
- You can choose to implement basic automation in the first phase of a company’s digitalization when starting with simple, routine tasks;
- Or, you can automate complex processes, but in these cases, it would be better to invest not only in RPA but also in Artificial Intelligence software. This is because RPA cannot handle information that requires manipulation or modification.
Let’s see now what are the main advantages of automation.
The advantages of Robotic Process Automation
1. Reduced costs and increased revenues
Investing in tools and technologies that enable the automation of activities and processes is not an action that instantly translates into financial savings. The first visible improvement is time optimization. By handing over part of the daily work of a human resource to RPA software, you free up time to devote to other activities. In this way, fewer resources are needed to achieve the same objectives.
From here, the benefits then follow. In fact, with the same resources, delivery times will also be reduced. In addition, by being able to accept more projects, revenues will subsequently increase. As previously mentioned, this is until the company’s production capacity is complete. With automation, operational dynamics accelerate, and the consequences for business processes are obvious.
2. Improving the quality and quantity of work
Automation does not replace resources but offers support in activities where human ingenuity is wasted. The time variable is critical to stimulating employee talent and improving the quality of work. Often, it is the simple, routine tasks that, by having short deadlines, erode valuable minutes and hours. In the absence of support, experienced and skilled employees will sacrifice all those strategic and predictive activities. These are the same activities that, in the long run, make the firm grow.
In smaller firms, several resources play both strategic and operational roles. For example, think about the administrative department. In this case, it’s a matter of time before the firm’s employees can make a decision. Here, in the daily eight-hour workday, the software will perform all the expected simple and repetitive daily tasks. In the meantime, the resource will improve the quality of work by performing valuable and complex tasks.
Another great benefit of automation is that it doesn’t get tired. It may seem trivial, but often the “autopilot” that we put on when we are exhausted makes mistakes: haste, fatigue, or the performance of several tasks at once play tricks on even the most experienced resources. Automation, if programmed correctly, does not make mistakes.
The evolution of RPA not only allows for cost reduction and time optimization but is also a tool for revenue improvement. Click To Tweet
3. 24/7 availability and customer satisfaction
Software with RPA is active 24/7. This means that if we chose automation to create a chatbot that responds to customers, the feedback will be immediate and not limited to the resource’s working hours. In this way, the customer will be able to get a quick response even during the weekend. Immediacy reflects on customer satisfaction.
The advantage is not only for the customer but also for the company because the resources that deal with customer support will be able to avoid the initial formalisms or answers to frequently asked questions and dedicate themselves to more complex interactions that a virtual assistant cannot offer. They will have more time, for example, to focus on solving a problem that has been brought to the attention of the customer service team or writing analysis reports on business processes. It is important to remember that customer satisfaction is achieved through the quality and speed of the services provided.
4. Achieving new economies of scale
Achieving the new economies of scale is partly an indirect effect of RPA acting on process efficiency and cost reduction. In part, however, it is related to the collection and classification of data that is done by automation software. The information, thus organized, can be consulted quickly and across the board.
Immediate access to data allows managers to more carefully assess fixed and variable costs and increase production in relation to process efficiency. Economies of scale are also linked to other factors, such as market demand trends. If demand is reduced, increased production will no longer be profitable. In addition, the speed with which automation allows you to react to internal acquisitions or the entry of new resources also greatly affects scalability. For example, resources entering an automated industry will not necessarily need to possess IT skills that were previously essential to performing the same tasks.
5. Better collaboration with internal and external resources
When a company is growing fast, it’s not prudent to make new hires right away, although this will result in overworked employees in the early days. New demands come in, but the hours available to resources are always the same. Automating simple tasks means gaining time to think about new scenarios and implement further projects with greater focus and interest.
An employee who gains time will also devote more attention to maintaining relationships with suppliers, colleagues, and clients. Therefore, the benefits will not stop within the company but will also reach collaborations with the stakeholders.
6. Speeding up the digitalization of processes
Implementing Robotic Process Automation is one of the first steps in digitalizing business processes. Automation software is programmed to interact with management systems and interface with other solutions in the company without requiring invasive changes. For this reason, implementation times are reduced, and in a matter of days or a few months, significant benefits can already be achieved.
Obviously, it is not enough to purchase or program software that exploits the new technologies on the market for a digital change of processes. What is needed is a cultural change and a change of corporate mindset. In this regard, I recommend you deepen the topic by reading “Change Management: 4 steps to digitalize activities and business processes“.
Immediately afterward, a review of business processes that takes advantage of RPA and is functional to the related activities is needed. Automation, as previously mentioned, does not improve processes but speeds up their execution. Therefore, if an action is performed incorrectly, automation will only amplify the error on a large scale.