Three ways robotic process automation (RPA) can help turn your workforce into a talent force.
No surprise, employee engagement affects business success. In fact, according to a Gallup study, organizations in the top quartile of employee engagement see 21% higher productivity and 22% higher profitability than the bottom quartile.
Yet many talented knowledge workers still can’t fully engage in the right work—work that’s essential for business and personal success, work that only humans can do—because they spend too much time on repetitive work that could and should be automated, such as data entry, running reports or creating email chains.
Let’s face it, it’s difficult to successfully apply critical thinking, creativity or complex problem-solving skills to our work—skills cited in the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Study 2020 as 3 of the top 15 job skills for 2025—if our time and attention is being diluted. Even if we have better skills and more experience, we can be outperformed by business rivals with more time and energy to plan and prepare for competitive advantage.
Here are three ways companies are using robotic process automation (RPA) to give their teams more time to out-plan and out-prepare their competitors.
1. Get managers out from behind their desks
The iconic US-based restaurant chain Primanti Brothers freed its management team from the repetitive, manual work required to generate daily sales and labor reports. Before implementing RPA, this process required a group of eight regional managers to pull daily sales reports for five locations each, taking at least 45 minutes per person to generate 40 reports by 10 AM each day, including weekends and holidays.
“You only have so much time every day before you start running the restaurant,” says Caitlin Stritmatter, director of financial planning and analysis, Primanti Brothers. “You can get so bogged down in the process of copying, pasting, filling out and double-checking a spreadsheet, when you should be focused on looking at the numbers and what they’re saying. So, we wanted to take the busywork out of the process to free up time for thought and planning.”
“One of our regional managers said what a relief it is to not only have these reports already done but to know they’re accurate,” continues Stritmatter. “As a data person, that puts me at ease. It’s error-free and I know they’re looking at the right stuff.”
Real ROI: Since implementing RPA, instead of eight managers each spending 45 minutes per day on the task, the RPA bot takes care of it in three minutes, saving management over 2,000 hours annually, saving Primanti Brothers USD 84,000 and achieving 100% ROI in three months. Primanti’s regional managers can now spend more time focusing on providing the best (and most fun) customer experience instead of sitting behind their desks.
2. Automate all but the most engaging work
“We have a lot of smart people challenging assumptions,” says Casey Adams, senior director of IT and data strategy, Credigy. “Nobody is afraid to ask how we can improve.”
Credigy is a global B2B specialty finance company. Key to its growth and continued success is the culture of creativity fostered at its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Analysts, statisticians and other financial professionals are encouraged to explore opportunities and develop innovative solutions to help its partners navigate complex markets and accelerate growth.
Each year, Credigy processes thousands of data files received through email or an SFTP site. Because of the large volume of data coming in for analysis and evaluation, one of the first focus areas was to manage how data and files are moved—a laborious, time-intensive task.
Real ROI: In its effort to accelerate information gathering and related decision-making, RPA bots enabled timely review of 100% of loan-related financial documents for various portfolio purchases. In the first year, Credigy deployed ~25 RPA bots to automate repetitive tasks, which contributed to its ability to continue growing its business at a 15% compounded annual growth rate.
Within the next two years, Credigy plans to deploy hundreds of RPA bots. “As the team gets more experienced and we have an automation-first mindset with everybody, the opportunities will continue to grow and blossom,” says Adams. “We will build RPA automation that will be connected end-to-end and grow to 100% process automation.”
3. Enable employees to create their own helpful bots
“RPA allows gains in efficiency at a very large scale,” says Sandro Ribeiro, CIO, Lojacorr Network. “With faster access to information and greater data reliability and operational efficiency, automation is a strong ally for companies.”
Lojacorr, the largest independent insurance brokerage network in Brazil, put its employees in control of automation, enabling them to create their own bots to automate manual processes that previously caused stress and relied on third parties for resolution.
“We’re able to think of new ways to work,” says Ribeiro. “And we can reinvent old processes that, because of the traditional models, used to limit our creativity when we thought of using only human operations.”
Real ROI: Since implementing RPA, Ribeiro’s team has seen 80% more efficient process execution, without needing to hire staff to support the operations.
“With RPA, internal teams and clients noticed the speed and agility in the availability of information and scale of growth. They started to understand the role of automation,” says Ribeiro. “They also learned new skills and saw new opportunities that come along with automation.”
Give your employees more time to plan and prepare
Business and IT leaders have turned to robotic process automation to improve employee productivity and ultimately business performance. The automation opportunities are many, and the promise is high. It’s easy to start, but it’s advisable to have a complete understanding of your process and tasks flows before you automate. Only automating the right work allows employees to apply the skills for which you hired them to out-perform the competition.