RPA: a brief explanation
RPA is an upcoming technology that allows companies to configure computer software. Simply put, a 'robot' performs and integrates human actions, interacting within digital systems to complete business processes. RPA robots are capable of utilizing the user interface to capture data and manipulate applications in a human-like manner. For example, they copy data from a spreadsheet, set up daily reports, search the internet for product prices, and incorporate this information into invoices.
As a result, employees can work more efficiently and perform more meaningful tasks.
How to deploy an RPA robot
An RPA robot imitates human actions. It can be implemented in various ways:
As a direct assistant to employees, which is also referred to as 'attended RPA.' You can start the robot whenever you like — for example, if you want it to complete a specific task.
As an unattended RPA, which works as a server process. In this case, the robot runs 24/7 and carries out tasks from different departments. For example, it constantly processes orders during working hours and performs system readiness checks at night and in the morning.
What can RPA do for logistics companies?
In "The key to a successful RPA strategy," Roland Berger highlights the potential of automation using RPA in the logistics sector. RPA can result in wage and time savings, creating more room for improving customer service, customer satisfaction, and employee happiness.
RPA helps save costs, but it also improves efficiency — which is crucial in logistics. Organizations should optimize transportation and warehouse operations as much as possible. But they don't always pull that off, as they work with different systems and extensive Excel solutions, and they need to adapt quickly to generate new business. RPA is able to operate within existing systems, which means it can eliminate any technological backlog in a fast, effective way.
Most RPA solutions work on top of existing solutions. An RPA robot is trained to perform specific tasks. For example, it retrieves and edits data, makes decisions based on a predefined script, and prepares data and results for the user.
Will you take the next step despite the risks?
Of course, there is another side to the coin. Automation also comes with risks. As RPA robots take over several human tasks, some knowledge (regarding exceptions, for example) might be lost, as the robot won't acquire it.
On top of that, implementation costs are relatively high, and it takes a while for the investment to pay off.
And yet there's no doubt about it: RPA robots will soon find their way to the logistics sector. The question is, are you among the pioneers who will be the first to embrace RPA and reap the benefits?