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Is Robotic Process Automation the Future for the Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods Industries?


If you’re in the Retail or Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industries, take a moment to reflect on this thought. 54% of the work done in your industry has the potential to be automated. That’s according to data produced by the US consulting firm, Mckinsey and Company.

You can use Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to improve the productivity and accuracy across a variety of operations within your industry. Just take a look at the following four cases to understand more about how RPA can change things. UiPath has provided RPA solutions for: tax invoices, open item management, supply chain cost calculation, and back office reporting.

Tax invoices

Our first case involves a US global based retailer. In order to get all the data necessary to process tax invoices, this retailer was using employees to do a few manual steps. The work entailed employees accessing vendor websites and using search filters to find invoices. Employees analyzed the invoices, and used the content for reporting. Their method was tedious and led to human errors. But aspects of this process could be automated. UiPath robots now crawl through the vendors’ websites to search, retrieve, sort and file the necessary data. Automating the process with UiPath reduced process time and achieved 100% accuracy. For the retailer, the extra time and accuracy freed up its employees to focus on more mission-critical tasks.  

Open item management & supply chain cost calculation

Next, we’ll look at an Indian retailer that was working on a general ledger project spanning 35 countries. One of its main tasks was to reconcile a very high volume of open items every month. Employees on the project were navigating between two different software systems to reconcile the open items. They were working between the data processing software SAP and Trintech Systems. UiPath robots decreased the manual work by interfacing between the two systems directly. The automation saved the employees considerable time on the task.

The same company was also manually calculating supply chain costs for 200 accounts across 11 countries. The work was repetitive and prone to typing errors. UiPath robots now process supply chain related transactions in Excel and transfer the processed data directly into SAP. This step decreased manual work and inaccuracies. It allowed the employees to start calculating costs directly with the processed data.

Improving back office reporting

The third case comes from a Brazil-based global retailer. The retailer was using its store closing reports to validate closing information for each of its registers across hundreds of stores. The store’s employees used a manual and sluggish process to pull up these reports.  By installing the UiPath platform and automating the process the store freed up its employees to now focus on more customer-centric activities. UiPath now moves the closing reports to one server, and the robot can read and consolidate the needed information for the store’s closing reports. 

User access management

Last, a US-based retailer was struggling to save time on user permission updates. Employees had to update their user permissions, and the process required manual approval from the manager. Because the retailer had a high number of employees the process of updating user permissions became time-consuming, with an average handling time of 2  to 4 days. But the process could be automated.

The retailer implemented the UiPath Enterprise RPA Platform. UiPath robots crawled through the retailer’s database and captured a list of the employees needing permission updates. The automation was set up in four weeks, and allowed managers to approve user permission requests all at one time. Automating the process reduced the cycle time and increased productivity. The retailer had no problem scaling the automation.

Making the most of retail automation

So what’s common in all of these cases? In each you see retailers that are doing time-consuming manual processes that can be automated. UiPath catered to the retailers’ particular challenges to free up time for managers and employees.

The extra time could be used to focus greater efforts on the things that matter to you and your business. Returning to the question; is RPA the future for the Retail and CPG industries? Well, we’ve seen the positive impact that RPA continues to have on cycle time, supplier and employee satisfaction, efficiency and accuracy –  only naming a few points. McKinsey and Corporation data says that the retail automation market predicted to grow from USD 8.79 billion (in 2017) to USD 14.03 billion (in 2022). The predicted growth points towards a trend: RPA is going to provide increasing solutions for retail and CPG. Reach out to us to see how we can help you discover ways to automate aspects of your business’s daily tasks.

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