Asset & Posting Capitalisation

Problem Statement

Over the years, millions of pounds worth of uncapitalised assets had built up in a backlog to be processed. It would take a lot of time to determine which assets are valid and process the assets manually in the SAP system.

 

Process Overview

The solution required multiple processes at different stages in the business workflow. Each month the reports were downloaded from various systems on a certain date. Formulas were inserted to created a master sheet listing all assets that could be capitalised and posted that month.

A separate process carried out the necessary actions in SAP to reflect the capitalisation and posting.

Systems: SAP, Excel, Internet Explorer

 

Solution

The solutions looks to automate the following steps:

Software Releases

Problem Statement

Currently the Software team undertake multiple checks before they release software to be embedded by the implementation team.

 

Process Overview

The Software team undertake multiple checks before they release software to be embedded the implementation team.

On average, this check is undertaken 206 times a month. Due to the repetitive and manual nature of this task, it has been identified as a potential process to automate using RPA.

 

Solution

The solutions looks to automate the following steps:

Floor Stock Management

Problem Statement

A stock visibility issue is encountered throughout production halls, where it’s not known what stock is within the assembly line and what is stored.

 

Process Overview

The team on the warehouse floor request a count for a part via Teams. This is then looked in SAP by the PI Analysts where they then provide the warehouse location for the part. The team on the warehouse floor count the part manually and upload a file to Teams with the count on it. The PI Analyst picks it up again and searches several systems including an Access Database and SAP to find the stock digitally and work out any discrepancy. The discrepancy is then sent for approval by the management team, and once approved this stock can be updated within in SAP and approved by another team before a message is sent within Teams to the original sender. There are also 4 reports that need sending either daily / weekly.

A £1.2 million SAP project had been approved and was set to be implemented but was scrapped and replaced with 2 full time robots.

Systems: SAP, MS Teams, Excel, Outlook, Access

 

 

Solution

The solution replaces the need for the PI Analyst, automating the below steps:

Pricing Amendments

Problem Statement

The Trading Division Finance team have to provide updated prices for parts once a request comes in which is simple but time consuming and prone to errors.

 

Process Overview

The TD Finance team get requests via an email with parts that need a price refresh. These have to be checked for the latest price in 3 systems, before being added to a master tracker and then uploaded in SAP.

There are often errors in the prices returned due to the large volume and repetitive nature of the task which could result in providing a customer with the wrong price.

Systems: Excel, SAP, Mainframe

 

Solution

The RPA drove data compliance and quality, there was a check on the input document taken from the email to validate the data, and systems were checked to automatically get more supplier data. This was very effective in data mappings and deduplication – RPA can be a great support in Master data Management (MDM) by normalising data (typos, formatting, etc.) and by ensuring that naming/typing conventions are respected, which would get thrown back to the sender if the validation failed, forcing them to get it right.

Transaction Collation

Problem Statement

The Strategic Buyers have to get 4 documents created from 4 separate areas of the business which could take up to a month to return meaning cash flow was absent from the business.

 

Process Overview

The Strategic Buyers had to contact 4 departments with similar information which can only be obtained once the previous document is received. This created a lot of time where work is stalled due to waiting for another department to respond, and with the money not being claimed back into the business an estimated £525k was being lost due to missed interest on the cash.

Systems: Mainframe, Outlook, Excel

 

Solution

The RPA was used to collect data from various sources and integrate the information into one system either for internal purposes and/or for the preparation of a negotiation or business review, in the form of the documents appearing in one folder at the same time. The queue report for this process helped to understand bottlenecks by crawling file sharing systems, network disks, and emails to collect and gather contracts in one central location. Then, it extracted key terms and stored them as metadata in a contract management solution.

Invoice Keying

Problem Statement

The PI team spend a lot of time performing the mundane task of entering each line of an Invoice into a slow and temperamental system.

 

Process Overview

An invoice sent to the PI team needs information within extracting and uploading to the temperamental system. This was time consuming as it could have up to 200 lines that need processing individually in the system, taking up to 15 minutes per line due to the unresponsive system.

Two extra streams of trackers were added 6 months after the project was live.

 

Solution

It was possible to drastically reduce efforts and cycle times to extract essential information from an invoice and perform a match by using a combination of RPA and AI (Optical Character Recognition + Natural Language Processing). The data collection from the invoices was streamlined using RPA and entered into the system in the same way as a human at a much quicker rate.

Change Tracking / Validation

Problem Statement

The Engineering Release Specialists spend a lot of time validating Excel documents and sending them back and forth with Engineers when releasing changes.

 

Process Overview

An eTracker is raised with the specifics of the change, either cost only (08s) or normal. These are taken by the ERS’s and the eTracker and CRIDX (excel) documents attached are validated. If incorrect, the changes are highlighted and sent back to the engineer until they correct the issues. Once the issues are correct, a concern can be raised in WERS by the ERS, which is communicated back to the engineer when complete.

Two extra streams of eTrackers (CJLR & Rework) were added 6 months after the project was live.

 

Solution

The solution looks to cycle through the 4 eTracker pages, validating the trackers and CRIDXs. If there is an issue, an email is sent from the ‘Release Robot’ email account set up for the process, instructing the engineers to reply directly to it. Once the update is received, the new CRIDX is uploaded to the eTracker, and the eTracker is revalidated. Once complete, the 08s trackers have their concern raised in WERS, whereas the other 3 types are sent for an ERS to complete.

Supplier Amendments

Problem Statement

The Vendor Master team process amendments to supplier accounts requested internally by business stakeholders or the suppliers themselves

 

Process Overview

Firstly the request comes into the team via an email or eTracker, which needs to be assigned in Salesforce to the Vendor Master team member. The request has 1 of 17 different paths which need to be transacted in SAP. Once transacted, this is sent to the manager of the Vendor Master team for approval. Once approved, this is then closed in Salesforce using information from the input email/eTracker and SAP.

 

Solution

The solution will use the standardised new eTracker format as the only input, which determines which of the 17 paths to work on. It will assign itself the case in Salesforce, then transact it in SAP. It will change to a different set of credentials in order to approve the case in SAP, then will close the case both in eTracker and Salesforce.

Cost Change and Procurement Authority

Problem Statement

Every time a new negotiation is completed between a buyer and a supplier the updated prices and minimum order quantity have to be updated.

 

Process Overview

Firstly this goes through Electronic approval from an approver, of which the grade is dependent on the scale of the cost or change. As a pre-requisite the buyer must fill in several logs which are used for tracking / reporting, these logs typically take around 10 minutes to fill in per part. In addition to the logs four excel forms which track impact need to be created for  approval.

Once the E-signatures are completed the buyer must then go and update one of two third party SAP instances with the new values and update the scheduling agreement to be sent to the supplier.

 

Solution

The solution will receive requests in the form of emailed excel templates, update the logs with all required information and generate the forms. Once completed the robot will provide confirmation back and ask if the buyer wishes to proceed.

If the buyer confirms then the robot will raise the electronic approval forms to the correct approvers and once approved update the parts within SAP.

HR Dispatching

Problem Statement

For every job position requisition created in SAP a corresponding entry is automatically created in an internal system. Until the entry is ‘Dispatched’ the recruitment process can’t start and the position can’t be filled.

 

Process Overview

The current process calls for someone to manage the queue and manually process the entries, this can cause unnecessary delays in the recruitment process and consume a high level of admin effort. There are some clear business rules that are applied as data input and some checks that are performed in SAP to secure the correct handling and positioning of the entries. Where the recruiting manager has multiple positions of the same type a Parent / Child relationship is created to simplify the approval and recruitment campaign management. This relationship can be seen in SAP and requires a specific flow and linking in to the internal system.

 

Solution

The solution will work through tickets within Success factors, mapping out all child/parent relationships, before extracting necessary data again SAP and either dispatching or rejecting the job position.

Helpdesk Ticketing

Problem Statement

The helpdesk receive 2,000 part queries per week (96,000 in a year). For each query the help agents collate information from several systems so they can respond to the query. The average cycle time for a single query is 20 minutes.

 

Process Overview

Due to high volumes and limited resources, the SLAs are suffering. In an effort to keep up with the volume, agents have been working overtime on Saturdays. Of the 20 minutes taken to address a query, 10-15 minutes are spent collating data. Due to the nature of the applications they require a considerable amount of data input to reach the screen containing the required information. RPA has been deemed an appropriate solution due to the processes large volumes, highly manual nature and its repetitiveness.

 

Solution

The solution will work through tickets, using the referenced part number to collect the generic data from each system. The automation will save this data in PowerPoint (one for each ticket), which will be saved to the shared drive. This will allow the helpdesk team to focus on responding to queries rather than spending their time collecting data. This will save numerous hours and help improve the SLAs.

The realised benefits will go towards cost reduction with third party suppliers, and allow for some resource reallocation to more value added activity.

Balance Transfers (Accounts Payable)

Problem Statement

Balance transfers between companies are manually completed on SAP prior to the Accounts Payable (AP) function processing invoices ready for payment. The team then emails an RMA payment proposal to the UK team suggesting AP invoices for which a payment can be generated.

 

Process Overview

This daily finance process is for teams in Europe to transfer balances from the Accounts Payable ledger on companies for payment purposes. Balance transfers between companies are manually completed on SAP prior to the Accounts Payable (AP) function in India processing invoices ready for payment, the India team then emails an RMA payment proposal to the UK team suggesting Accounts Payable invoices for which a payment can be generated.

 

Solution

On a daily basis, all payable documents meeting the criteria specified will be selected for transfer. A direct document will be created for each and posted to the account. The invoices will be cleared for each document and posted to the account on the duplicate account using the data entered on the original posting. The necessary cross company posting will be made to ensure correct accounting. The standard SAP netting functionality will then be used to offset any debtor/creditor balance. Current SAP functionality used for AP/AR netting must be updated to include all document and billing types for RMA accounts in the automatic netting process.

Stock Tracking

Problem Statement

Vehicle status’s and locations change on a regular basis through physical movements, route changes and holds applied/released. As the vehicle’s location can change across 5 sites and various parking locations the information is quickly out of date. The location is only as good as when the app was last updated.

 

Process Overview

When a vehicle has been built  and leaves the plant for handover, the current site and parking locations is manually updated in the Yard Management System via a report extracted. This provides the team a view of the vehicle status and its last location. Vehicle status’s and locations change on a regular basis through physical movements, route changes and holds applied / released. As the vehicles location can change across 5 sites and various parking locations the information is quickly out of date.

 

Solution

The robot will launch and run the Enquiry report. This will produce an excel document. The robot will filter out sites, dependent on which site the report is currently being run for. The robot will save this as a CSV and import. It is proposed that this process will run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every 15 minutes. This will ensure that the team has up-to-date, real-time information on where a vehicle is being stored.