Converga's RPA helped Canon focus on increasing accuracy saving time and redelpoying staff from manual, repetitive tasks.
The Canon Team have already automated 12 of the planned 26 manual processes that interacted with 9 separate systems and 20 manual spreadsheets. The automation so far has freed them from manual processes that once took 15-20 minutes each – tasks the robot can complete in just 5-7 minutes. RPA has removed errors, problems and duplication of laborious manual work.
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“We’re hitting 98% of processes without manual intervention. Manual processes are now done by RPA both inside and outside office hours. It’s way more efficient”Nicholas Bell. Finance Operations Manager, Canon Australia
A significant amount of Canon Australia’s banking processes was manual and repetitive: Pulling reports, downloading statements, B-Pay, EFT etc. An in-depth consultation with Converga resulted in the Canon Banking Team using RPA to:
• Increase the speed and accuracy of keystrokes automatically and reduce human error
• Automate processes outside office hours and increase efficiency with results available at the start of the working day
• Attain significant time saving and reduction of manual tasks to engage staff in improved client service, faster collections and more analytical and profitable tasks
Canon Australia’s Finance Operations Manager Nicholas Bell, Manager of Banking Operations Gail Wardley and Converga’s Adrian Yasin tell us how this was achieved.
Nick: “I didn’t know too much about RPA. At our introductory meeting, Adrian showed us how it could benefit our banking processes. Our team worked closely alongside the RPA team and continued communication to improve the processes and ensure everything is running smoothly”.
Gail: “Initially we had ten different procedures and we ran through the step-by-step processes to see if replication by a robot was viable. Converga identified the “big impact” items first - such as EFT processes, B-Pays – our biggest volumes. Then they developed robotic processes to replace the manual ones. At all times, while working closely with my team, they checked the Test RPA process and continued to monitor it when until it first went live”.
Adrian: “The first rule of RPA is ‘Never automate a bad process’. Consulting closely with Canon allowed us to identify the processes and improve or optimise them before the system is automated”.
Nick: “As with most implementations, there was some disruption – but this was managed with a staged approach to what was worked on and what was released. The two-stage process ensured the team were doing business as usual while the robotics were also running. This allowed us to double check that what was coming from the bots matched what the team was doing”.
Gail: “There was a lot of feedback when it went live, the testing continued throughout which resulted in a significant improvement in accuracy. This accuracy has to be 100%, and where when the process was done manually there was more chance of a mistake. With RPA, the processes are true to the rules given. A good example is the bot differentiating between the allocations of two different invoices: It either responds with ‘That’s not the right one, this is’ or ‘I’m not sure’ – in which case it sends it back to the team to make the decision.”
Adrian: “We’re hitting 98% of processes without manual intervention. After Go-Live, we continued to work closely with Canon to program the bots to operate these processes more efficiently. Previously, a person would do one step in one system then move on to the next one, repeating the process of doing one step before moving on. RPA now completes all the steps in one system before moving on to the next. It’s way more efficient”.
Gail: “All manual allocations are now 50% keyed in by the robot –and we’re working with Converga in Phase 2 to make this 80%. It’s a massive improvement, as now half the work is done for us. The robot does the more manual tasks like such as entering data, excel look-ups, downloading and comparison work.
Nick: “Its’s transformed the team from repetitive tasks to proactive integration with banking tasks. Manual processes are now done by the RPA bots both inside and outside office hours. It’s given time back to the team to get on with more productive analytical work and more investigation into getting through exception payments. And from a savings perspective, two positions have moved on to other things and there are significant time savings on manual processes previously done by the team. This is just Phase 1; in Phase 2 we’re looking at more time saving and the reduction of a further head count.”
Gail: “Allocations are now keyed in a timelier manner, so our customers have a true indication of how much they owe Canon at the end of every month. There’s no more outstanding transactions with payments unapplied. Everything is being keyed in and getting done. It saves a lot of emailing and calling from the Collections Team because they’re not chasing up what wasn’t allocated”.
Nick: "Converga are in the final stages of working with the Collections Team to implement a new process in automating collections letters. We’re filling a hole in the process from where invoices are issued to when we actually start collecting. RPA enables a touch-point with our customers we didn’t have before to inform them when bills are due. From our initial feedback, it’s a real positive. And it helps bring in the money faster."
"There’s scope for RPA in other areas of the Canon business as well. We’ve automated 10 processes for the banking team already and identified another 20 that could be automated."
"And no, we’ll never go back to manually doing those processes.”
Adrian: “Converga’s emphasis is on robust consultancy, working closely with our client teams to identify and test before implementing any RPA solution. This process allows us to recommend changes and to optimise the process before it goes live. Once the processes are identified, we pre-test with a proprietary tool. This identifies if there are any FTE gains, what can be completely automated, what still needs any manual intervention and how many staff hours can be saved. Converga have been designing, implementing and managing business processes for over 25 years. Our RPA licenses and technology are the result of a partnership with UI Path, the global leader in RPA technology, and our RPA solution is hosted in our own Microsoft Azure Environment so there’s no need for our clients to invest in the IT infrastructure and overheads that come with the RPA process. Our clients are confident when partnering with Converga, they are dealing with experienced people who are champions of change and transition management."
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