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Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

What is Robotic Process Automation?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the automation of business processes using robotic software, i.e. Kofax Kapow, UiPath or G1ANT.

Most organisations still manually carry out routine tasks, i.e. the completion of spreadsheets and invoices, sorting incoming orders and transcribing data between systems, taking up valuable employee hours.

 

The reason these processes have not been subject to automation up to this point is a combination of habit, the cost of implementation and integration of systems, and a lack of pressure to change.

Software Robot is a software used to automate processes by imitating human work (robot) but performing it flawlessly, 24 hours a day. Leading RPA solutions include Kofax Kapow, UiPath, G1ANT, Automation Anywhere, NICE and Blue Prism.

The popularity of these solutions stems from the fact that the average level of process automation in companies is 25-40%, while employees waste up to 22% of their time on manual, repetitive tasks.

Automation implementation with the use of robots is a cost effective way to streamline processes and quickly adjust a company to the changing market environment.

What office processes can be automated with software robots?

The biggest potential for relieving employees from monotony and accelerating the performance of activities lies in the so-called "longtail" processes. These are the activities that are at the interface of the main processes. Often, it is at this juncture that opportunities to streamline and automate business process robotization solutions present themselves.

Software robots can used in any industry and in practically any process. They are able to quickly combine any tools (applications, systems, working environments, etc.). For example, they are helpful wherever we need to continue using legacy, often closed and non-transferable, solutions (aps, web services, files). 

Thus, thanks to software robots, communication between ERP, DMS, spreadsheets, documents, email clients, databases, MS DOS, OS/400 and other cryptic systems is no longer a problem, allowing you to maximally streamline your operations.  

Below are some functional areas in which they are used:

  • Finances: supporting a wide range of financial and accounting activities, including order processing, closing of billing periods, entering and accepting suppliers' invoices, tracking payments and reporting.
  • HR: used mainly in remuneration, benefits and absenteeism reporting (holiday billing, use of company equipment, etc.).
  • Transport/Logistics: assistance in automating the planning and tracking of shipments, sending bids based on the requirements specified in the ordering party's systems, capacity monitoring, invoicing and recovery.
  • Banking/Insurance: facilitation of the credit granting process, verification activities, customer registration, compliance reporting and risk management, as well as support in the process of claim settlement or risk assessment.
  • Customer service: support in communication with customers, performing tasks within given procedures, checking the status of a case, etc.
  • Data entry: maintenance-free data exchange between different platforms, e.g. spreadsheets, websites, external databases, etc.
  • Monitoring activities: verification of data correctness, updating of statuses, and sending and monitoring communication.

How to implement the first robot in a company. What is the right process?

Not every process is suitable for the use of robot software. How can we determine which are? What conditions must an action or process meet?

First, any process considered for automation must be based on rules and be repetitive. For example, if one of the steps in the process is the cyclical reading of emails and analysis of the attachments contained in them (e.g. invoices, orders, xls files, etc.), the environment meets the expected criteria.

Second, the input data must be structured. Referring to the above example, the appendix or the content of the emails would have to be of a template nature. 

Third, we choose processes for which the scope of work is large.

Fourth, the scope of activities is subject to change. There are increases in labour input, e.g. due to seasonality.

Fifth, it can be done outside of the company's working hours.

Sixth, although repetitive and routine, it is easy to find human error.

Seventh, appropriate processes are also those which require the company to expand its team.

Eighth, the process itself is stable and has not been recently optimized or rebuilt. 

It is assumed that the implementation of business process solutions is worth considering if at least one of the above conditions is met. The increased number of criteria met increases the likelihood of successful completion.

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