STEP FOUR: FEASIBILITY ASSESSMENT

One of the reasons why it can be difficult to assess processes for automation is that as every organisation has their own way of doing things there are sadly no hard and fast rules on what could and should be automated. The below is a general guide that will work across different technologies.

Low Potential

Processes which involve:

  • Handwriting
  • Judgement calls
  • Fuzzy logic
  • Mandatory date pickers
  • Capcha codes and similar

Medium Potential

Processes which involve:

  • Javascript
  • Flash
  • Citrix
  • ActiveX
  • Scanned documents
  • Cycle time constraints

High Potential

Processes which involve:

  • If/then logic
  • High in volume
  • Low in value
  • Copy/pasting
  • Matching documents or data

example

A busy aerospace manufacturer has a lot of uncommon components they need. Their team of two people in procurement need to onboard 50 new suppliers each month.

They follow the process below:

  • Suppliers fill in a word document with all their details
  • This word document is then sent to procurement via email
  • The procurement team input the details to an ERP
  • They validate factors such as IBAN and VAT before approving
  • Upon approval the supplier is sent an RFQ of more standard parts for price comparison

We would consider this process a good candidate for automation because it is:

  • Electronic and not handwritten
  • Involves copying and pasting data
  • Does not use javscript, flash citrix, activex or scanned documents
  • The only decision involved is one of matching data (to see if the VAT and IBAN match)

In this basic assessment, we have only determined that this process has a strong potential for automation but have not determined which technology it would be suitable for. As a basic guide:

Processes that are carried out within one piece of software – think about shortcuts or custom software

Processes that use different software, the internet etc – Robotic Process Automation

Processes which involve scanned documents – Optical Character Recognition

Understanding processes at an organisational level – Process Mining

Understanding how one person carries out a process on their desktop – Task Mining

In the above example, Robotic Process Automation is the best tool to help us automate the process.

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