Repeat after me: robots do the boring stuff, humans do the fun stuff. Robotic Process Automation (RPA), looks at automating tedious, repetitive jobs so employees have more interesting tasks.
Throughout Scania, time-consuming, dull and repetitive manual processes are being examined as possible candidates for RPA. This allows robots or technology software to emulate humans in digitally executing processes.
“The basic premise is that all tasks which can be automated should be automated,” says Business Developer Ian Sandholm, from Scania IT’s New Technology group.
“Nevertheless, some potential RPA cases will be better candidates than others.”
He adds: “We examine each proposal case-by-case and assess the benefits. This prompts classic process development; which tasks do we perform and to what end? This might lead to the conclusion that the process is superfluous or could be consolidated with other processes. RPA can also help workplaces automate operations while they examine better long-term solutions.”
Scania offers courses in Robotic Process Automation
RPA emerged in the early 2000s but has taken off exponentially over the past few years. Scania started focusing on the technology a couple of years ago, but has only recently done so on a larger scale.
“Compared with traditional IT development, RPA is so much cheaper. Whereas IT projects easily can run into the millions, these projects only cost from 4,000–8,000 euros,” says Robert Danielsson, Head of RPA.
This year, New Technology and Scania Academy started offering courses for interested employees. The curriculum is now being developed to achieve greater flexibility in addressing specific areas and systems for automation.
Following the three-day course, it is possible to start developing and implementing RPA in workplace processes.
“Some join these courses to gain insight into which processes can be automated while others, especially those with a technical background, want to start using the tools themselves,” says Sofia Asplund, who manages RPA education at New Technology.
“To become really good at RPA takes time, but the technology is actually so simple that most can start using it.”
RPA’s enormous potential
Over the past year, New Technology has helped Scania departments save the equivalent of 25 full-time jobs.
“The potential is enormous, and we see a snowball effect emerging. But the objective is much broader than just reducing repetitive assignments. Perhaps the employee that gets more interesting tasks will find work more interesting and stay longer at Scania.
“Or perhaps reducing the stress associated with having to perform repetitive work enhances the person’s well-being. In both cases, Scania and the individual stand to gain.”