Workforce and Business Process Optimization – Building Blocks

Before I head down the path of Workforce and Business Process Optimization, let’s understand the definition of “optimization.”

I went out to a reliable source, namely the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, which offered this primary meaning: an act, process, or methodology of making something (such as a design, system, or decision) entirely perfect, functional, or effective as possible.

Business, as usual, is linear. It is a straight line. Optimization creates an incline, an upward tractor, by increasing everything, from the productivity of your workforce to the speed of your systems, from the front office to the back office, from the shop floor to the warehouse, from your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) to your MRP (Material Requirements Planning).

Optimization means building an alternative path. It means envisioning strategy revisions and process changes that will yield improvement and modernization. It indicates flexibility and adaptation to new conditions. And yes, it also means rethinking old approaches.

Optimization is not pie in the sky. It is hard work.

Workforce optimization and business process optimization go hand in hand, and both can be achieved with Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

Using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to Improve Business Process Optimization

Strategic Systems Group (SSG) recommends an RPA deployment for clients interested in extracting the maximum productivity from their existing ERP solution, be it Microsoft Dynamics or Infor, or Quickbooks. RPA is a proven, cost-effective tool for the workforce and process optimization.

Robotic Process Automation is a business process automation technology that deploys software robots (bots) and often elements of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to optimize your organization’s numerous business areas. This technology is sometimes referred to as software robotics.

In traditional workflow automation, a software developer produces software to automate tasks and update back-end systems using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). In contrast, RPA tools record users’ steps in the application’s Graphical User Interface (GUI) and then complete tasks by repeating those steps directly in the GUI. This enables automation in software products that do not have available APIs.

RPA tools have technical similarities to automated GUI testing tools. These tools automate transactions via the GUI by repeating a set of actions taken by a user. RPA tools differ from GUI testing tools in that they allow work to be performed between and among multiple applications. Consider the three (3) following examples:

  • Downloading transactions from a banking website and importing them into an accounting system
  • Extracting data from the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and transforming that data into a SQL database
  • Loading a Business Intelligence (BI) platform.

Strategic Systems Group (SSG) provides the following Robotic Process Automation services:

Platform Selection

Platform selection is naturally the first step. RPA is not the right solution for every organization. However, selecting the right platform is crucial when there is a clear justification for it. As with any business application software such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM), selecting the RPA tool that best fits your business model and processes dramatically improves the chances of implementation success and user adoption. Several RPA platforms are commercially available (UiPath, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, Automate). Strategic Systems Group (SSG) will review them with you to determine the best fit.

Discovery & Analysis

In many organizations, opportunities to automate business processes are not hard to find. However, it is essential to identify where those opportunities exist, look at various functional areas, and prioritize them by estimating the financial value they contribute to your company.

As with ERP systems implementations, a discovery and analysis phase will uncover opportunities to up-level the productivity in critical departments. We should note that re-engineering business processes may be necessary before automating them. At Strategic Systems Group (SSG), our clients benefit from the business process discovery and analysis services we provide in these four (4) functional areas:

  • Accounting
  • Operations
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing

Custom RPA Implementation

Packaged automation works very well in organizations with standard business processes. However, many companies have unique business processes that define competitive advantage in their respective industries. In such cases, the financial value of a custom RPA implementation is very high. SSG’s clients benefit from our expertise in ERP systems to boost productivity and achieve optimal results in numerous areas, including the following six (6):

  • Manufacturing
  • Material Planning (MRP)
  • Supply Chain Management (SCM)
  • Cost Accounting
  • Customizable Reports
  • Quality Assurance

Packaged Automations

All organizations can benefit from deploying RPA, especially those enterprises with business processes that involve working with multiple, often disparate systems. If these business processes have elements of manual data entry or transference of information from one system to another, RPA can be deployed to streamline those business processes, saving the organization time and money. Automating mundane, repetitive work will free team members to focus on higher-value work. Our clients benefit from packaged automation that can be deployed with minimal tailoring to streamline these six (6) areas:

  • Financial statement generation
  • A/R and A/P automation
  • Sales and marketing automation
  • Email processing
  • Document processing
  • Image processing

Training Services

RPA tools have evolved from code-based platforms to more visual drag-and-drop interfaces. While not difficult to learn, the time to effectively develop and deploy RPA can be significantly shortened by providing focused, quality training. As is the case for implementing ERP systems, user and technical training are critical to successfully implementing an RPA platform. Strategic Systems Group (SSG) therefore offers our clients the following four (4) training opportunities for better business outcomes:

  • In-person and remote user RPA training
  • In-person and remote technical RPA training
  • Recorded individual and group sessions
  • Online training courses from edited recordings of the training sessions

RPA Technical Support

In situations where organizations have in-house IT services, the technical team is usually focused on business application and infrastructure support. Strategic System Group (SSG) can collaborate with your team or independently to ensure that RPA initiatives are often given the priority they deserve. We are committed to ensuring that our clients reap the fullest benefits from their RPA implementation: productivity, data timeliness, and accuracy. We provide:

  • RPA workflow development
  • RPA technical support
  • RPA platform support
  • Onshore and offshore teams

More Thoughts about Workforce (WFO) and Business Process Optimization 

Yes, RPA is a fantastic technical tool for workforce optimization and better business outcomes. But what about the human side of workforce optimizations?

The first thought that comes to mind when discussing workforce optimization is the ability to empower employees to do their best work. This can be achieved in a number of ways. For example, making sure that every employee is in a role that best uses their skillset. This may seem like nothing more than common sense. But the reality is that people are often pushed into positions that do not actually suit them, resulting in mediocre performance and an unhappy, even disgruntled employee.

Empowering your workforce requires providing every employee with the tools and resources they need to do an excellent job. Do they need better hardware or software? Might they perform better if they had the option to work from home? Would flexible hours better suit any of them? To achieve workforce optimization, you should be open to new and different options for a harmonious and productive workforce.

Take the next step to learn more about Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Call Strategic Systems Group (SSG) at (310) 539-4645 or reach out via our contact form today!

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