Process Variation

A robot. Maybe not the type that will transform your business though.

The year is 2020, and things are a little different now, especially when it comes to corporate operations and the presence of people in offices; together. 

Remember that? And everything that came with it… 

Tiredness, distractions, and many other negative human factors were associated with ‘office’ life. And whilst it’s is true that many staff and employers are now reporting higher productivity and better wellbeing than those who now don’t have to negotiate an early morning commute in the dark and a pre-9am chat with Ian about the latest episode of ‘Strictly’  (agreeably, both draining things to deal with before anyone has even considered a day’s work); even with a generally fresher workforce, managers and directors are having to accept two things – humans are still, well, human, and – there is a need to incorporate technology more so now than ever. 

In the years running up to this one, especially more recent ones, technology was advancing rapidly. Sure, we were ‘digitally transforming’, but it really was not until this year that we embraced it with such gusto; albeit because we had to. Nevertheless, it has been a learning curve, and some of us are being astounded by the potential of the tech available to us. 

Advanced tech can and is changing how we work, and used properly, for the better. We live in a world where we can embrace tech’s power to carry out repetitive work and organise us, while human thinking, creativity, and nature can be left to thrive.

Let’s take a look at one option favoured by organisations choosing to combine human and technology to optimise their new workplace…

What is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation is software that mimics human actions. RPA should not be confused with AI (Artificial Intelligence) which is designed to display its own intelligence. 

Now, let’s not get completely carried away… RPA is only designed to mimic the actions of a human interacting with digital systems; however, the resolutions this presents are still exciting in this modern world of 2020, and beyond.

Where and when to embrace RPA

Consider Data Entry. For a human, this can be tiresome. Mistakes can (and usually will) be made, not to mention a human will need management, holidays, and other such things but a robot? Not so much. 

Remember though, RPA is not AI. To confirm, it is designed to carry out repetitive processes (ideally optimised ones) created by humans, not to think in itself. 

 

With that in mind, modern organisations are now considering a hybrid of human and robotic input to optimise their processes and maximise their minds.

 

How to install RPA successfully

As exciting as the prospect of a human/robot remote/in-person eutopia is, the road to it will need to be paved well, as a robot is only as good as what it is programmed to do. There is significant risk to an RPA implementation if the current manual process being replaced is not fully understood.

This means that even now when we are already in the ‘new normal’, managers and directors will need to factor in time to monitor our revised ways of working, and certainly ahead of passing any repetitive processes to an RPA system.

Note: While a workforce is working separately, individual ways of working will be being developed. The best workarounds may not be known by all people; equally, that is true of the worst. It is now a matter of understanding and training. If you want to ‘roboticise’ a process, you’ll need to fully understand the ‘as-is’ way of working then optimise it before it is programmed. 

Remember, an automated bad process is still a bad process! 

Furthermore, by roboticising an element of a process, you need to be very clear on the downstream impacts. In other words, there is little point in increasing throughput via RPA in an upstream process if it only creates bottlenecks further down the line.

So, what’s the solution?

Before handing any part of your new process to a robot, ensure it is fully understood, optimised, and documented. Be aware of where issues are arising and also have the potential to, and ensure all of this is accessible and changeable as your organisation naturally evolves.

READ THIS: What business leaders can learn from Google Maps

Combine Thinking and Digital Software

Why are we writing this? Because we are the people who optimise your processes before you automate them.

If you would like to explore how your organisation currently operates, discover where waste exists, and learn how to optimise your processes, then book a free chat with one of our consultants today.

Find out more about getting Clearsight of your organisation.