What is Robotic Process Automation?

Robotic Process Automation

As companies seek out options that allow them to streamline operations and reduce costs, many have turned to an emerging technology called robotic process automation (RPA). Robotic process automation gives businesses the option to automate mundane rules-based business processes and frees up staff to spend more time on face-to-face interactions, direct contact with customers, or other higher-value, complex, or custom tasks.  

Robotic process automation is considered to be a first step as businesses make the transition further into intelligent automation, utilizing machine learning and other artificial intelligence tools. Even better, when RPA is used in conjunction with the latest logistics platforms such as RedwoodConnect 2.0, you can greatly optimize your entire process from the warehouse to the last-mile.


What is Robotic Process Automation?

To simplify things a bit, RPA is an application of technology, governed by business logic and structured inputs, to automate a business process. With RPA tools, companies can configure software themselves to program their own “robots” to perform a variety of simple processes.

Furthermore, RPA robots are capable of mimicking a variety of human user actions. They can log into applications, copy and paste data, extract structured and semi-structured data from documents, fill in forms, scrape browsers, move files and folders, and so on. The application of RPA can vary from something as simple as an automatic email responder all the way to triggering thousands of bots that are programmed to automate physical jobs within a system. The complexity of available tasks really just depends on the needs of the end-user.

A selling feature of RPA is the ease of integration...

In traditional workflow automation tools, the end-user must create a list of actions in order to automate a task and then use those to interface with the back-end system using an internal application programming interface (API) or a dedicated scripting language. This complexity makes it a multilayered process that not only takes time; it also requires rather specific expertise.

RPA systems, on the other hand, develop their action list by simply watching the user perform the specific task in the application’s graphical user interface. Then, it performs the automation by repeating those tasks directly in the graphic user interface itself. This means the barriers to usage are lowered for automation in products that might not otherwise have application programming interfaces designed for this purpose.


Primary Benefits of Utilizing RPA

The clearest benefits of incorporating RPA into your business are similar to the automation of any kind- reduction of both staffing costs and human error. Bots as a whole are lower-cost and easily implemented, and require little to no custom software or a lengthy deep system integration process. Streamlining processes while reducing costs and the potential for human errors is critical as organizations attempt to remain functional or pursue growth during the current environment. Any opportunity to allow for fewer physical staff in an area proves beneficial. Automation of low-value tasks is one way to do this cleanly and successfully and allows companies to better serve their customers. 

In addition, as companies move further toward automation efforts, RPA can be used in conjunction with cognitive technologies like speech recognition software, natural language processing, and machine learning. Doing so allows the automation of even higher-value and more complex tasks. 

RPA allows companies to automate at a fraction of the cost and time compared to other, more traditional IT solutions. Robotic process automation is also non-intrusive, leveraging existing systems and infrastructure without causing costly disruptions to underlying systems and slowing work or progress while being incorporated. 

Enabling RPA to handle processes transforms and streamlines workflow while allowing for both flexibility and scalability. RPA software “robots” are easy to train, so as processes change or need grows, it is simple to make the necessary adjustments to your RPA processes. 

RPA robots also have the added benefit of improving compliance. Once they have been instructed, they execute tasks consistently and reliably, with everything they do being monitored. This guarantees the ability to operate in accordance with standards and regulations without the risk of human error.  


The Future is Reliant on Robotic Process Automation

Any high-volume, business-rules-driven process can be automated using RPA. This means the potential benefits are almost limitless.

Because RPA can be implemented quickly and easily, companies that choose to add them to their business processes receive an equally quick return on their investment. Automation isn’t going anywhere, and companies that capitalize on this sooner rather than later are preparing themselves to move into the next wave and stay relevant. RPA is a step in the direction of robots and automation that lays the groundwork for what is to come, without spending much during the outset.

Ready to learn more about how robotic process automation can completely overhaul your logistics operations? The Redwood team is standing by to help, contact us here.