5 Minute Guide to RPA

Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is a computer program focused on automating well-structured, rules-based business processes.  The term "robotic" is in there because you'll hear people talk about software "robots," which is another way of saying a software program.

Automation is already impacting the supply chain with goods-to-person systems, voice-enabled headsets, and conveyor systems.  RPA is another step towards blending the strengths of technology and humans to help companies remain competitive and create new operating models. 

Why should you know about RPA?  2 reasons: First, turnover is high in DCs right now and people are leaving because they don't like boring, unfulfilling work.  Second, anywhere you see someone taking data from one information system and keying it into another information system, you've got an opportunity to automate and assign more engaging work to that person.

As an example, how are your DC leaders building their staff plans each day?  Are they searching in your WMS/TMS/OMS to determine the work content and then keying that into an Excel model? How much time does that take across your leaders each shift, day, week, year? What would your turnover rate look like if that leader spent more time engaging with associates instead?

If that got your wheels turning, here are a few articles to help you get started down the path of RPA:

If you want to roll up your sleeves and create your own RPA bots…

Read How to Get Started with RPA in 15 minutes.

If you're going to engage IT on an RPA project… 

Read this article, which includes 10 tips for effectively rolling out RPA.

If you want to keep researching RPA…

Both Forbes and McKinsey have great overview articles.

Mike Mullican