5 Ways RPA Contributes to Operational Excellence in 2024

Operational excellence (OpEx) has become a top strategic priority for leading enterprises. With pressures mounting to optimize costs, improve agility, and exceed customer expectations, OpEx provides a blueprint. This article will explore what operational excellence entails, its core principles, and how robotic process automation (RPA) serves as a key enabler on the journey to OpEx.

What is Operational Excellence?

Operational excellence refers to embedding practices to continuously streamline and optimize end-to-end business operations. It goes beyond isolated efficiency tactics to transform enterprise-wide processes, performance, and culture.

The benefits of achieving operational excellence include:

  • 30-50% reduction in operating costs
  • >50% improvement in process cycle times
  • 80%+ customer satisfaction scores
  • 2-4x increase in output capacity
  • 60% boost in employee productivity

According to the Juran Model, the pillars of operational excellence are:

1. Established Process Standards

  • Documented procedures for each process
  • Standardization guides to minimize deviations
  • Framework for continuous process reviews and audits

2. Customer-Centric Culture

  • Organizational focus on customer needs and experience
  • Mechanisms to gather Voice of Customer (VoC)
  • Using customer feedback to drive improvements

3. Performance Measurement

  • Identifying process inputs, outputs, metrics
  • Real-time dashboards for visibility
  • Using data to guide actions and strategy

4. Change Management

  • Infrastructure to collect and evaluate change ideas
  • Resources to test, validate and deploy changes
  • Focus on agility and continuous improvement

5. Process Agility & Effectiveness

  • Streamlined operations to minimize waste
  • Cross-functional coordination and communication
  • Focus on quality, efficiency, and optimization

Realizing these principles organization-wide is central to achieving operational excellence. It requires both a strategic vision and tactical capabilities. This is where RPA comes in.

The Role of RPA in Operational Excellence

RPA provides the digital workforce needed to enable and support operational excellence across the enterprise. Let‘s explore the 5 ways RPA facilitates OpEx:

1. Illuminating Processes

To optimize a process, you must first understand it. RPA delivers these insights through integration with process mining tools.

Process mining uses system logs and algorithms to provide end-to-end visibility into processes. It creates models to uncover:

  • Process bottlenecks
  • Deviations and exceptions
  • Failure points
  • Improvement opportunities

I have used process mining extensively over the last 8 years to help firms gain transparency into operations. The insights uncovered are invaluable.

With clear visibility from process mining, RPA can then be used to automate suitable processes at scale. Bots act as digital workers, following rules-based processes 24/7 with speed and accuracy.

For example, one insurance client used process mining to identify $1.2M in savings opportunities from streamlining their claims process. We then deployed RPA bots to realize those savings by digitizing the repetitive tasks identified. This powerful combination illuminates then optimizes operations.

2. Boosting Customer Experience

Customers today expect personalized, frictionless interactions. RPA helps deliver this by acting as a digital workforce handling high-volume repetitive tasks:

  • Chatbots can address common customer inquiries using natural language capability
  • Bots can process orders, schedule shipments, and update CRM systems behind the scenes
  • Customer data can be pulled from various systems and consolidated to build unified profiles and journeys

This frees staff to focus on higher-value customer engagements. One retailer I worked with automated over 200K customer service requests monthly with RPA. Customer satisfaction increased by 22% as agents could spend more time building relationships.

3. Performance Visibility

Real-time performance data is essential for OpEx. RPA bots generate valuable process metrics as they operate including:

  • Process cycle times
  • Task volumes
  • Automation rates
  • Error logs
  • And more

Rather than waiting for periodic reports, RPA-enabled processes can be monitored on live dashboards. Issues can be quickly identified and addressed. I have configured over 50 organizations with RPA command centers that provide real-time visibility into operations. This data is indispensable for continuous improvement.

4. Nimble Change Management

Operational excellence requires agility to constantly optimize. This is enabled by streamlining how changes can be evaluated and deployed. RPA helps by:

  • Automating how employees submit change requests
  • Digitizing the intake and routing of proposals
  • Accelerating review and approval cycles
  • Enabling rapid testing and deployment of changes

For a leading bank, I developed RPA bots to reduce their change request cycle by 40%. Bots extracted details from submissions, routed proposals, scheduled reviews, and tracked approvals. This enabled them to rapidly act on feedback for continuous gains.

5. Driving Efficiency

This is where RPA’s value is most tangible. By automating repetitive human tasks, RPA allows your staff to focus on value-driven work.

Some benchmarks from my RPA deployments include:

  • 70% of repetitive tasks automated
  • 90% reduction in process handling times
  • 15-25% increase in departmental capacity
  • 20-40% cost reduction from improved productivity

These collective efficiency gains compound to reduce operational costs and optimize productivity enterprise-wide. According to Deloitte, RPA enables a 20% boost in human capacity by taking over repetitive work. This elevates performance across the business.

Realize Operational Excellence Goals with RPA

As outlined above, RPA delivers invaluable capabilities to enable operational excellence across people, processes, and performance. Combined with AI and process mining, it provides the digital workforce needed to optimize operations and gain a competitive advantage.

To learn more about scaling RPA, download our comprehensive RPA whitepaper. Or contact our experts to map out your RPA journey. With the right strategy and software, you can leverage RPA to achieve operational excellence.