Supply Chain Council of European Union |

Inflation, Talent Shortages and Supply Chain Disruption, Oh My: Why Intelligent Automation and RPA are the Best Solutions

It’s been a tough two years. A global pandemic, political turmoil, labor issues and raw material shortages have created a near-perfect storm of business challenges. Ensuring business continuity alone has been a struggle for many organizations, let alone managing burned-out employees and increasingly demanding customers. 

By reducing the administrative burden placed on human employees and accelerating business processes, enterprise intelligent automation (IA) and robotic process automation (RPA) can help organizations increase business resiliency while also reducing costs and maximizing customer satisfaction. 

Numerous studies have confirmed, on average, intelligent automation cuts business process costs by 25% to 40%. When deployed enterprise-wide across multiple processes, these savings can add up fast.

For example, as of 2020, Keybank successfully automated over 180 business processes and 2,400 tasks daily, the equivalent work of 300 full-time teammates with RPA. By automating mortgage quality checks and loan origination alone, the company was able to save $5 million per year. These initial projects were so successful, the company opted to automate an additional 450 full-time equivalent (FTE) worker processes with RPA by 2022.


RPA and IA can help companies combat the talent shortage in two ways. To start, in task-heavy industries, automating transactions can reduce headcount requirements. Secondly, and more importantly, RPA and IA can dramatically improve the employee experience. Afterall, when mundane, administrative tasks are automated, employees have more time to devote strategic work that is often more fulfilling and value-driven. 

For example, employee controlled, RPA-enabled digital assistants and predictive chatbots allow users to deploy automation when and where they need it. Using these tools, employees can access corporate databases, knowledge repositories, customer files and so on immediately instead of having to search for them or wait for a supervisor to answer their question.  

In 2019, Audi equipped their accounting employees with Audi myMate, RPA-powered digital coworkers. These digital robots can perform tasks such as entering data or creating standardized reports faster, more efficiently and without errors.

Another example is low code automation. Using low code tools, IT departments can significantly reduce the time it takes to build new automations and applications. Non-IT employees can also be quickly upskilled to leverage those tools as well though, of course, IT still needs to be involved. 


From order processing to inventory management to demand planning, there are few (if any) links of the supply chain that RPA and IA cannot potentially enhance. 

For example, organizations’ can use an RPA bot to check inventory levels and initiate a purchase order when supply levels dip below a specified threshold sans human intervention. RPA can also be used to not only collect data from orders and deliveries, but use the insights to enhance demand planning and forecasting. 


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