Robotic process automation (RPA) is designed to simplify tedious tasks, freeing up more time for businesses to dedicate to other growth initiatives. For example, did you know that 76% of respondents to a recent survey said they spend 1-3 hours a day on data entry alone? Think of the many ways those workers could contribute to their companies if they had this time to dedicate to more innovative processes.
Industrial use of RPA is widespread, but each industry will have its own specific applications for RPA. However, standard guidelines will help any industry choose which tasks to automate. Let’s take a look at the best times to use RPA and examine some industry-specific use cases.
When Should We Use RPA?
RPA can be used in many different scenarios, but certain processes are more suited for automation than others. When evaluating which tasks your business should automate, consider if the task has the following traits:
- Data-Intensive – Tasks that manipulate and crunch large amounts of digitally available data are great candidates for automation.
- High-Volume – These are processes that involve a high number of transactions or actions. RPA can greatly reduce the time spent on voluminous tasks like this.
- Repetitive – Any process that involves monotonous repetition of the same action over and over is perfect for RPA.
- Rule-Based – Along with facts and data, automated processes need to be rule-driven. This means the process is run by a set of predefined rules that trigger an action or series of actions to happen.
- Time-Consuming – If a task is eating up a lot of employee time, it might be a good candidate for RPA. This allows employees to dedicate their energy to more innovative tasks instead of tedious, time-consuming tasks.
If a process has some or all of these characteristics, it most likely can be automated.
At Foulk Consulting, we have found that this basic understanding is a great starting point for our newer clients. However, it’s usually the real-world examples we provide that lead to a complete understanding of RPA.
Where Is Robotic Process Automation Used?
RPA is used in a wide variety of industries, as most industries have processes with the above-defined traits. Some of the industries that use RPA are:
- Finance and Banking
- Logistics and Transport
- Property Management
- Information Technology
Let’s take a closer look at three of these industries and how they use RPA to their advantage.
RPA in the Chemical Industry
When thinking about errors in the chemical industry, your mind may immediately jump to accidental explosions or other damaging chemical reactions. However, there are plenty of smaller issues facing businesses that deal with chemicals. RPA can provide excellent solutions that reduce these issues, leading to fewer errors and lower costs.
For example, a recent McKinsey report analyzed one chemical company that used RPA for their procurement process, all the way from purchase planning to inventory control. In the beginning stages, this company utilizes software to process all supply orders for each major spending category. The software then uses natural-language processing (NLP) to match the order requirements to suppliers that can fill those orders. With appropriate suppliers identified, the system automatically sends out requests for bids. Then the internal buyer analyzes returned bids to find the best supplier for the best value.
Robotics in the Insurance Industry
From claims management to underwriting, RPA is a wonderful asset to the insurance industry. Automation can improve insurance operational efficiency and lead to a better customer experience. If you’ve ever filed an insurance claim, think of all the data you had to gather and provide to the claims adjuster. With RPA, insurance companies can simplify the data collection process, easily move data between systems, and share that data with all relevant departments and parties.
In the underwriting department, for example, underwriters are typically looking at many data sources to evaluate risk and determine appropriate policies and rates. The shareability of the initial data collection already simplifies this process for the underwriter. RPA can also structure this data in a standardized way on a centralized dashboard, making this analyzation process even easier.
RPA Use Cases in the Finance Industry
According to Gartner, around 80% of leaders in the finance industry have implemented or plan to implement RPA. It makes sense, as many banking and finance tasks usually involve some sort of compliance and heavy penalties for noncompliance. RPA helps to eliminate the margin of human error, making it an appealing solution to banks and other financial institutions.
Consider anti-money laundering (AML) efforts in the financial sector. Investigating money laundering will always require a human element due to its complex nature, yet there are still many opportunities for automation. An AML analyst must first gather all relevant information to a particular case, and that data collection and organization takes significant time and energy. With RPA, these processes standardize an institution’s approach to collecting AML data, monitoring negative news, screening politically exposed persons (PEPs), and more.
With all of these examples, you will note some consistency across the board, as many of these use cases can be applied to other industries. However, every industry and organization will have its own, unique needs as to how RPA is implemented. If you’re attracted to the idea of RPA efficiency and cost savings, but aren’t sure where to start, it might be time to talk to an IT service provider.
Foulk Consulting: RPA and IT Solutions Experts
At the surface level, RPA may seem relatively straightforward. As you dig into actually implementing automation, though, you might find things start to get tricky. This is where Foulk Consulting can step in. Foulk Consulting is a high-caliber, industry-leading service provider of application performance testing, monitoring, and management, with a strong background in software quality assurance. We love introducing our clients to new techniques and strategies that reduce repetitive tasks and speed development time through RPA. The end result is always the same: lower costs and more time to spend on other important matters. If you’re ready to enter the world of RPA, contact us today!