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Making Workload Management Automation Accessible in Retail and CPG

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  • Retail & Consumer

If asked even a few years ago, what companies should be prioritizing in terms of business transformation and evolution, the answer would have overwhelming been digital transformation. In the shadow of labor shortages, the great resignation, demographic shifts and moves toward hybrid models of work, however, workforce transformation is quickly becoming the “soup du jour” for businesses of every scope. Point of fact, spend on work technology in 2024 is expected to exceed the $1 trillion mark.

A vital part of what will help workers to perform better is intelligent automation. As enterprise processes increase in organizational complexity, operational efficiency and resiliency becomes less attainable, leaving companies with a heap of fragmented processes, disparate systems and frustrated employees. To make the shift from manual processes to the realm of intelligent automation consists of four key pillars.

  • Digitize – Improving process efficiency, effectiveness and control by moving all documentation (orders, invoices, receipts) to digital formats.
  • Sense – The opposite of analysis paralysis, leveraging data to track performance, outcomes and generate insights to identify areas of friction and improvement. Here is where businesses can begin to make processes smart, by making systems follow the processes in intelligent ways.
  • Reaction – Not everything can be predicted. This pillar accounts for adjusting to the compliance needs of irregular operational events and augmenting human execution.
  • Adjust – Adapting processes and decisions with data-driven insights.
Business Drivers of Intelligent Process Automation

When managed well, a business’ shift to more intelligent automation can result in beneficial outcomes. By freeing employees from manual tasks, like repeated data entry, intelligent automation can help improve customer engagement and satisfaction, which can protect or even raise revenue. It can also improve accuracy, cost reduction and the quality of decision making, which increases profitability and the capacity to handle demand fluctuations and seasonal variations.

By using intelligent automation to enhance the employee experience, businesses can unleash potential and build in opportunities to upskill their workforce, enhancing the overall future of work. Where this begins is with the assistance of digital workers – software bots designed to execute activities, tasks and operations across digital systems 24/7. By taking on once manual tasks like digitizing documents, uploading data and distributing emails, digital workers help employees create value and accelerate processes. They help free up the human element to problem solve, build relationships and innovate for the business. 

Applying Intelligent Automation in Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG)

Working with EPAM and Automation Anywhere, one retailer and one consumer packaged goods (CPG) company were able to achieve specific workforce transformations that profoundly improved internal processing. The retail company’s struggle was with staffing levels. Collectively, it’s storefronts, which are spread across multiple countries around the world, saw 32% of their staff quitting each month. This presented a huge challenge for the 15-person human resources (HR) team tasked with backfilling vacated positions. Though the company had a solid pipeline of more than 30,000 applications per month, the onboarding process took each new employee three weeks, leaving the HR department solely focused on hiring and not other functions, like improving employee satisfaction and retention.

With intelligent automation, the retailer was first able to reduce the onboarding time from three weeks to a handful of days. Next, they automated the employee creation process across all departments to better manage the candidate lifecycle, from application to hiring. The final result was a complete processing of the more than 30,000 applications in the pipeline and fully staffed stores to serve their customers.

The challenge the CPG company was experiencing had to do with effective and efficient invoice and contracts processing. All information was being entered manually and in a limited time frame, a process that slowed down all workflows within the business. The company received 400,000 documents per year to process, a majority being invoices, and they would arrive at the company through a variety of channels, like email. Because of the manual entry required for these documents, turnover within the company was high.

Applying intelligent automation to the CPG business, the organization was able to save 6,000 hours of manual work per year and process more than 370,000 documents during that same time. The company saw improved accuracy in their data, workloads were being processed on time and most importantly, it freed up time for employees to do more value-added work.

What’s Next?

The webinar Workload Management Automation: A Retail and CPG Company Case Study details why more industry players are moving toward data driven intelligent process management, similar to the featured retailer and CPG company experiences. The session also features timeline expectations to achieve automation and a detailed question and answer session with EPAM and Automation Anywhere experts to better understand how intelligent automation can be integrated into a variety of businesses.

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