Scaling Up/Down with RPA

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Seasons change, sometimes unpredictably like was with the coming of Covid-19. As early as January 2020, many people, and organizations alike, were looking forward to an economically beautiful year. 5 months into the year and things have changed drastically, to a point where some of our clients are processing less than 20% of the invoices they used to process. Imagine a shift of 20 invoices a day to less than 4 within the same time!

One of the concerns that business owners have thrown our way is how they can scale down in these tough times and also, when everything is back to normal, scale up in an easy, efficient and timely manner. Of the options they believe they have, 2 usually stand out:

  1. Terminating employee contracts and re-hiring once the economic strain caused by Covid-19 is overcome
  2. Sending employees home on unpaid leave, probably to avoid the re-hiring process when operations are back to where they were before Covid-19

Either of the 2 is a tough decision for employers and a painful one for employees. Additionally, the 2 are short term solutions – not quite effective for a business that is looking at long-term sustainability while creating and maintaining employment for its employees. There’s a need for an effective way of scaling up and down in terms of resources and operations without having to make tough decisions, some with adverse social and economic impacts. This is where Robotics Process Automation comes in.

Did you know that you can easily scale down and up on software robots depending on the change of magnitude of business operations? This can all happen with simple clicks and without having to make tough and painful HR decisions. Going back to our sampled client processing invoices, let us look at the step-by-step invoicing process, including its automation and how the possibility of scaling up and down has been handled.

The process

When the Stores team receives supplies, it verifies them against the purchase orders that had been raised. The supplier invoice is presented as both hard and soft copy. Once verification is completed, the validated invoices are sent to the Finance team via email for processing and payment through the company’s ERP system. The list of suppliers hardly changes, and their invoice templates have been the same for the last 2 years, despite being unique per supplier.

Our automation approach

Using UiPath, these process can be robotized as follows:

  • Robots can read an email from a specified mail box to which the invoices will have been sent by the Stores team. This can be done through triggers or regular mailbox checks.
  • The attachments in emails can be read using UiPath’s recently released Document Understanding features that integrate Intelligent OCR and Machine Learning to extract relevant invoice data and append this to a datatable
  • The robots can log into the ERP, after having been given named user accounts, to post the invoices using the extracted data, including table details, quantities, amounts, PO numbers, Invoice Numbers, Client Names, etc.
  • Reports, including on exceptions, can be generated using reporting tools such as Power BI by relying on the exported data table so as to give the responsible accounting and finance officers and managers a view of invoices that have been posted. These can be emailed to defined recipients.

With UiPath’s Orchestrator, scaling up and down on such robots can be achieved in an instant. When there’re few invoices to be posted on a regular basis, a few robots can be left to do the work. When the workload increases, a team of robots can be set up and roles divided among them to ensure effective and timely completion of work.

Ready to try this out? We are here to make it a reality. Reach us on and get a free pilot aligned to your processes and systems.

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