Increase Revenue and Productivity with Robotics Process Automation (RPA)
The Term RPA (Robotic Process Automation) was coined in 2012 by Phil Fersht, founder and lead analyst at HFS Research. This new technology continued to be developed until about 2018 when it started to grow companies as they began to adopt a digital transformation, and the RPA platform revealed more capabilities.
RPA is a great technology so long as the companies like The JMOR Connection, Inc and key stakeholders understand the process and commitment to make it a success. Throughout this article, we will learn more about RPA and share the story of a Pizza Restaurant in NJ making pizza with this in-house technology.
Businesses implement RPA (Robotic Process Automation) to reduce costs in many areas. RPA will help reduce labor and supply costs while maintaining a consistent minimal level of waste. By automating a process, tweaks can be made for better production and allow a companies of any size to scale when ready.
Common Pitfalls in RPA Implementation
Unfortunately, many companies and individuals fail to implement a successful RPA Solution correctly due to many factors. One of the two main reasons is that there needs to be more understanding of the technical specifications and a refined process for doing the tasks manually.
Often, someone in management decides they want to implement an RPA project because their colleagues at another company are doing it, so they want to jump on the bandwagon and do it, too.
Another reason is the design has no commitment from any C-level executives, upper management, or owners and is thus never adopted by others in the company.
Some companies believe the project is to be what the developers want but never consider what the end users or business process owner group wants and needs. Leadership chooses the cheapest and poor-quality tools that make implementation a chore on many levels.
Diverse Applications of RPA Across Industries
Today, the RPA departments are finance, human resources, marketing, sales, operations, customer service, R&D, and many others.
Did you know that several company types already use RPA, including but not limited to financial, retail, manufacturing, fulfillment, food and hospitality, travel, and health care?
Remember that RPA is an automated process of accomplishing a manual task more efficiently with the lowest levels of consistent waste while supporting the ability to feed other RPAs, whether software or machines.
Strategic Considerations for Expanding Fast Food Chains in Airports
Let us pretend that McDonald's or Jersey Mike’s wants to open a new location by the gates in the newly built Terminal A and then two other areas, one in the middle of the corridor after the security checkpoint. One mindset might think we should open up three separate counters with their kitchen to supply the orders.
Another thought would be to open up a more extensive, larger kitchen at the location by the gates to serve as the fulfillment center for this spot and the other two satellite locations that would be opened.
Exploring RPA for Efficient Food Delivery in Restaurant Expansion
Wondering how we will answer the question of getting food from the central kitchen to the other two locations the restaurant would serve, we will dive into RPA.
We know that we could hire workers to manually run the orders from the central kitchen to the other two locations, but that would be a waste of resources and not to mention very slow.
How about engineering a fast food transportation system to facilitate fast, efficient delivery to the central and satellite locations?
Formation of the FFTDS Task Force for Airport Food Transportation System
The team agrees this could be a viable solution and sets out to create a task force called the FFTDS (Fast Food Transportation Delivery System). Many brainstorming sessions will need to occur where digital diagrams, hand sketches, and expression of many thoughts will be exchanged.
Several members of the team have seen transportation of food systems before, but nothing as elaborate as what will be needed. Most of the systems that had been previously devised were for short-distance delivery but nothing as far as an entire airport.
Design Considerations for the Airport Food Delivery Tunnel
Other questions will arise like we should enclose it in the ceiling while also being contained in a food-safe tunnel or should it be an attraction on the sides of the airport corridor for all to see? Perhaps by making it visible, it will not only catch the traveler's interest but also serve as an attraction that will compel people to buy from the food establishment. After much deliberation, it is realized that the tunnel needs to deliver food to three locations, but how?
Efficient Order Routing and Delivery System with RPA
RPA, of course, the food will be placed into a different color bag depending on whether it's going to the front counter with (green), (blue) for the store just after the security checkpoint, and (red) for the location at the entrance by ticketing.
Each bag has a specific color so humans may detect if the bag is going to the correct location while having a QR code that scans and tells the system how to route the order.
After the order is completed, the automated arm places the food into the correct color bag, and then it is placed on the conveyor for delivery to the customer.
Efficient Conveyor Routing for Multiple Food Delivery Zones
Once the food bag is placed on the belt, there are divider bars every six inches to mark the following order. If the food is for someone at the immediate front counter, an arm moves into place to route the bag to the left and down a ramp, which then goes onto another belt to reach the front delivery area.
Should the item need to reach the blue zone, an arm moves to route it down another ramp to a conveyor for delivery in the blue location.
Now, if the bag is destined for the farthest location, the red zone, no arms are moved until the bag gets to the location at the red zone, where it is moved to another conveyor to be delivered to the red zone.
Balancing Efficiency and Customer Experience in Food Delivery System Design
When thinking about this type of solution, speed, and efficiency, we are also concerned about the impression it gives people when they see it. They are promoting the concept that the customer may order and have it sent to either the green, red, or blue zones, which are marked outside each store.
After several meetings, it was concluded that a beverage and ice cream machine would be installed at each location since the FFTDS would be more costly since it would only be able to move the food on a straight path and not permitted ever to go up or down.
This second method becomes more costly as there is only so much straight space available without rebuilding walls in the airport.
RPA Project Planning and Implementation: A Lesson from Pizza HQ
Hopefully, this example gives you an understanding of the thinking and logic that must go into an RPA project. Even if no motors were involved, there still would need to be thought as to what the software must gather data, how to process it, and how to collaborate the information for final output and then update a central dashboard of the status.
Pizza HQ in Woodland Park, NJ, recently undertook an RPA task to make cost-effective, quality pizzas with the lowest amount of consistent waste while producing in volume. The first thing they did was to come up with the process of making a pizza manually.
Next, they had to research how this process could be automated and adjust their recipe to work in an automated RPA. Thus, many hours of tweaking their recipes for making different pizzas were required before they could produce a pizza by automation.
Once they were happy with the results, all they had to do was scale the operation, which enabled them to make pizzas in volume. We learned that they focused on one thing to only make pizza and the ones that were the most popular.
Navigating the Challenges of Robotics Process Automation for Business Success
Implementing an RPA for your business may be a great idea to increase profit, but it is essential to understand the many pitfalls business faces when attempting to implement this type of system. Remember, if you can’t do it manually, don’t expect any RPA to be able to accomplish the task.
If the task has too many steps, it is best to chunk it into a few different processes, understanding the expected result of each process. Thus, if your process keeps changing during the RPA implementation, you don’t have a process but an idea that needs to be refined into one.
Leaders in companies decide to implement an RPA but never make sure they have other C-level executives, upper management, and the general employees on board and what it will mean and change operations.
Future-Proofing Your Robotics Process Automation
The RPA you choose to implement today might be great, but have you taken into consideration how this will be able to scale in the future? If you have a group of developers telling you how amazing it will be but have not heard your challenge, the plan will most likely not satisfy your business or your client's needs.
Lastly, remember to choose high-quality tools, as being penny-wise may cost you more than you bargained for after the implementation.
Ethical and Pragmatic Considerations in RPA Implementation
Whether you choose to implement an RPA that is software only or one that incorporates robots and motors, ensure everyone understands the expectations before you build.
Remember to factor in maintenance and training costs in your budget before launching the development phase.
RPA is a tool, and we, as humans, business owners, and citizens, are responsible for building ethically and for the greater good of all concerned.
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