As widely observed, new technologies stimulate the growth of companies in a variety of sectors by accelerating time-consuming yet business-critical processes. A lot of repetitive tasks are more and more frequently taken over by intelligent tools working based on automation. They have the capability to open emails and attachments, move files and folders, scrape data from websites, extract structured data from documents and reformat them, make calculations or copy and paste data, among others. With over 75 000 employees in around 80 countries combined with an ever-expanding workload and volume of information, Holcim – an international expert in building solutions – decided to entrust Sii with the implementation of RPA in their company.
Technology to the rescue
On a daily basis, Holcim’s Purchase Department deals with a huge number of product indexes, new products and price changes. Even though Microsoft Excel is perfect for data gathering, manipulation and checks, its uploading to SAP was challenging, generating recurring, easy-to-make mistakes. As a result, there was a need for a solution which would make data updating quick and error-free. The company required assistance in identifying processes to be automated and controlled by a robot.
– We turned to Sii as an experienced RPA services provider to perform an in-depth analysis, focusing on highly manual, repetitive processes, rule-based processes, processes with standard electronic input and high-volume, stable processes. The next stage was to properly develop and implement a flexible robot behaving like an independent, self-managing worker – says Beat Thalmann, SAP Business Process Expert S2P at Holcim.
Fully automatic expert
Acting in accordance with the Holcim’s requirements, Sii team built a software robot which works effectively with both SAP and Microsoft Excel, outperforming humans. The specialists taught it the process with test scenarios and tested the data provided by the client. The delivered tool takes Microsoft Excel sheets with new prices and new indexes and updates all details to corresponding records or creates new indexes in the SAP system and informs the robot keeper about any deviations.
– RPA is not pure software development but rather a mix of technological and business elements. People working on robots are like superheroes who solve complex business problems with the help of advanced IT solutions. In Holcim’s project, we used detailed sector knowledge and programming skills acquired for many years on the market to maximize the company’s productivity and unburden the workers – Maciej Sowiński, RPA Developer at Sii, explains.
Having used the robot for some time, the Holcim team enjoys the benefits of its introduction.
– Thanks to the robot, tasks which do not require great creativity are performed automatically, without human intervention. It’s like having a digital assistant ready to support you non-stop – says Beat Thalmann. – The superfast robot is able to work unattended for long hours, during which our employees can focus on the core business. For sure we will popularize it in the organization – he adds.
After the success of the projects delivered by Sii, Holcim found next candidates for automation. The role of one of the new robots created by Sii engineers will be to compare data from documents received from suppliers and clients with data in the SAP system. In case of errors or discrepancies, the robot will get back to the data provider, asking for an explanation or correction.