RPA: which processes to automate?

If you have not yet implemented Robotic Process Automation, it might be difficult to get a solid understanding of its possibilities. This document presents an overview of which processes can be automated with RPA, and which efficiencies can be achieved. Apply this evaluation framework to your process to see whether it should be automated using RPA:

Which processes can be automated?

Generally, almost any process can be automated. However, automation is not a goal in itself, therefore you should select processes which can be robotized with reasonable effort.

Clearly defined: The process steps should be documented in a clear way. Imagine you were to outsource this process to an offshore provider. Could you document it clearly enough for them?

Manual: The process does not require complex judgement calls or creativity: data transfer, daily reports, standard calculations, templated actions. Note: processes which involve complex decisions can be effectively supported with RPA. The robot then collects data, conducts standard calculations and presents information in actionable form to the decision maker, thus increasing their productivity and quality of decisions.

What is economically feasible?

Any one of the criteria below of itself could be enough to realize significant benefits from automation. Their intersection represents the best RPA opportunities.

Frequent: For a process that takes 5 minutes to complete, RPA provides attractive ROI starting from just 150-200 monthly process cycles.

Tedious: Every department has jobs which nobody likes, but which need to be done (e.g. early-morning daily reports). Improve results and morale by automating them.

High cost of error: Shipment delays, costs of rework or compliance risks due to manual mistakes are indicative of processes which should be automated. In such cases, the savings from automation go much beyond the labor savings.

Examples of processes suited for Robotic Process Automation:

Examples of automatable processes - Logistics

Examples of automatable processes - Manufacturing