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Robotic Process Automation at Runway

January 09, 2018

While the use of bots to ensure more effective and automated services is still, in many sectors, being seen as something of the future, outsourced and client-relationship management services are areas in which this is already a reality. Furthermore, bot-use is becoming a more and more common Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) trend within the industry, throughout Europe. This can be seen in the interest shown by clients of Runway, who offer international business process outsourcing services, in innovations for automating various processes. This is particularly true now that a bot has even joined the Runway team – as software that handles data entry and processing, the transfer of data from one type of document to another or to a database, and other, similar technical activities.

The introduction of such software bots is one of the most important business directions for Runway. The company has accepted the challenge of automating processes in bookkeeping and back-office services, as well as in client services. Starting with data processing in various environments and ending with the processing of various client requests.

“The automation of processes and a variety of roles is very important throughout the world, and it is only logical that it is also happening in Latvia and other countries where Runway offices are located,” says Runway Group board chairman Uldis Priedītis. “Projects launched by Runway already confirm that investments in the introduction of such systems will make it possible to improve business processes and enhance the effectiveness of companies and their services. It is clear that there are areas other than the outsourcing industry in which these innovations and technological developments can ensure automated services will be decisive. It will also fundamentally influence the business environment and facilitate competitiveness. Major participants in BPO and other sectors have long since been thinking actively about solutions in terms of automating a number of tasks. This direction will allow countries, such as Latvia, with limited labour resources to use their specialists and complete their work far more efficiently; meaning that companies will be able to be more competitive in the global market.”

One of Runway’s main goals is to automate a selection of processes, which involves one of Latvia’s leading private sector service providers, the IT company, MAK IT.

“The long-term vision and courage of Runway in utilising a new level of automation in its work processes represent a fundamental investment that will optimise and improve services, as well as enhancing the effectiveness of the services they provide,” says MAK IT director Arvis Zeile. “The use of modern technologies speeds up data processing, reduces errors, and reduces or removes the need for human involvement in terms of some jobs, particularly the routine processing of information. The bot is a software code or machine that handles very specific tasks, usually without any additional input. Of course, there can also be complicated algorithms that are capable of processing a huge number of situations that behave very similarly to people when it comes to specific tasks. The technical capabilities of such robots are expanding every year, because there are technologies and methods that allow robots to learn themselves (machine learning) and make independent decisions (artificial intelligence).”

A specialised bot automatically enters data from PDF files in a web-based system. The introduction of robotisation in a specific department enhances productivity by 30% and reduces the involvement of people in handling client assignments by approximately three times over. Given the increase in effectiveness, investments in automation are to be recoupled in less than a year, and that, in turn, shows once again that the introduction of such automated solutions will have an essential effect on corporate competitiveness.

UPB is one of the largest and most technologically innovative industrial groups in the Baltic States, and it understands the true benefits of automation across a variety of business processes. UPB works in areas such as construction, design, manufacturing and energy supplies and it has moved quickly toward digitalisation. In recent years UPB has introduced several innovative automation solutions to improve the effectiveness of manufacturing.

“By purposefully developing our digital infrastructure we have accumulated a great deal of experience in the introduction of digital technologies, and ascertained for ourselves the critical necessity of such technologies on productivity,” says the Head of Development for UPB, Artūrs Seilis. “UPB projects usually are complex in technical terms. A full cycle, when constructing a frame for a building, involves nearly 25,000 different parts, with some 15 departments working on such a project at the same time. This means that UPB business units have to handle a great deal of data. Operative decisions must be optimal, and they often involve more factors than an employee can process without the help of technologies. By thoughtfully integrating our business units and partner companies in a unified digital ecosystem, we have raised revenues by 36% in one year’s time without any major increase in our physical manufacturing resources. We have also ensured excellent real-time analysis and developed various algorithms for the automation of standardised processes. Since many new technologies develop in a geometric progression, there is an increasing risk for companies not to become part of this industrial transformation and thus quickly lose their competitiveness in the marketplace.”

Representatives from all of these organisations agree that fears about job losses are more emotional than rational. Priedītis believes that “an automated process is more likely to create new jobs with a high level of added value. For instance, the introduction of bots will require operators or business supervisors to monitor the work of the technologies. Such specialists will be very much in demand and will have good salaries, which means that educational programmes should be adapted for this purpose today. This is also a new direction for companies in terms of facilitating horizontal career growth, with existing employees improving their qualifications so that they can change their areas of specialisation.”

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