8 Major Advantages of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
The rapid advances in skills offered by artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) over the last thirty years means that these technologies will become more and more commonplace in almost all major branches of the Economy. It also means that to ignore AI and RPA comes at the risk of being left behind in the dust, while your competitors embrace their benefits.
RPA is revolutionising business workflows and offers a long list of advantages in the modern business landscape. Some estimates predict that 25% of tasks in all job categories will become automated by 2019.
Robotic Process Automation usually refers to automation that performs manual, repeatable tasks (such as automobile assembly), but also includes algorithms that can solve specific problems and software robots that perform sophisticated tasks by interacting with complex data sets. A prominent example of the latter is Google’s search algorithm that compares and ranks millions of web pages every day. So whether we like it or not, we are all currently already interacting with RPA in one form or another.
If you want to understand how RPA will impact your business, the first question that needs to be addressed is: what are the advantages offered by RPA technology? Here we discuss 8 major advantages of RPA:
1. Increased Quality
While the term ‘handmade’ is often associated with high quality, many processes are highly prone to human error. For example, studies show that up to 80% of all Industrial accidents are caused at least partly by human error, while around 50-70% of all electronic equipment failures are caused by human error. These errors can be eliminated with the appropriate RPA technology to replace human workers. Robots produce results with 100% accuracy and can do so day and night without a need for rest.
2. Consistent Quality
Unlike human workers, robots deliver results without quality variance. So once you have optimised a specific workflow, you can be confident that you’ll deliver the same quality to your clients with great consistency, day in day out.
3. Faster Production
Because robots can work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they get more work done in a given time frame. In contrast, human workers usually work eight hours a day, five days a week and take regular breaks and several weeks of paid vacation annually. In addition, because automated processes are highly efficient and optimised for specific results, robots can work faster than humans doing exactly the same work in the same amount of time. For example, a robot can fill in a delivery form in less than a second; while a human takes several minutes to accomplish the same result.
4. Lower Cost
Robots aren’t cheap and require a large investment (especially at the start of a project). But once a robot has been purchased and installed, the cost of a running it is relatively low. Interestingly, one study came to the conclusion that in the long run, the cost of a robot is 1/3 the cost of a low-cost offshore employee. This saving is of course even greater if you use a robot to replace a high-cost local employee.
5. Improved Process Monitoring and Analytics
Everything a robot does can be recorded and measured in great detail. That means you can analyse an automated process in much greater depth than the same work performed by humans. These insights are error-free and can help you to further improve the process and make it more energy efficient. You can also use fine-grained process monitoring to modulate the process in real time, and thereby make better decisions. All of which is much harder when managing a human workforce.
6. Improved Customer Satisfaction
If your automated process generates consistently high quality in a short time, this means your customers will receive better products in a shorter time, which will increase client satisfaction and improve your company’s reputation.
7. Rapid Scalability
It’s much faster and easier to purchase new robots than to hire and train new workers. So once your automated process is profitable, you can scale to reach new markets easily and rapidly. Automation also makes it easier to handle peaks and troughs in demand. Instead of hiring and firing temporary workers, you just have to modulate an automated production process based on demand levels.
8. Fast Development
Current RPA solutions can be developed with very little software coding; which makes them very easy and quick to deploy. Instead of planning, implementing, or outsourcing a complicated IT project; it is possible to automate and deploy a 100-step process in two weeks using available software tools.
This also means that automated solutions can be implemented and monitored with very little assistance from an IT department. Since highly trained IT workers are often among the most expensive staff on a given project, this can save your business an immense amount of money.
In summary, the advantages offered by RPA cannot be ignored, and its application must be considered in many different industries. While many people fear that Robotic Process Automation will lead to the redundancy of large parts of the workforce; an alternative view is to see it as a valuable tool that liberates humans from performing boring, repetitive tasks, and frees them up to do more creative and fulfilling work.