Labor Automation 2.0 – Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
It used to be that when we talked about labor automation, it meant automation of traditional “blue collar” jobs in manufacturing facilities and factories. Today’s labor automation is a whole new breed – what we call Labor Automation 2.0 – and it’s taking place in “white collar” offices, businesses and organizations around the world.
Labor Automation 2.0 means that any work process that is definable, repeatable, and rules-based can be mapped out and assigned a software robot or “Bot” to manage the manage the execution of that process, just as a human would. It is also called Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
RPA is separate and distinct form an organization’s IT structure. It is not another business application. Rather it is a substitute for a human worker to operate business applications.
Does that Mean RPA Will Replace Human Workers?
Experts suggest that wholesale replacement of human workers in the office is highly unlikely. What will happen however is that RPA will change the way humans perform their jobs. Since less human intervention will be required for rules-based jobs (those jobs that are often considered repetitive and boring) there will most certainly be some job reallocation.
RPA is much more likely to replace specific tasks than an employee’s actual position. Ideal processes for RPA automation are rules-based and repetitive tasks, such as, accounts payable, billing and order processing. Despite the impact RPA can have on these processes, many tasks still require humans to complete them. Today’s software Robots are not capable of automating uniquely human tasks such as problem solving, creativity, and human interaction.
RPA Needs Support from Humans
RPA doesn’t function on its own. Humans determine which business processes are suitable for automation. Humans monitor the performance of the robots. And humans intervene when tasks need to be changed. The technology is not yet able to operate without human intervention.
What Does RPA Do?
Robotic Process Automation helps companies execute various business processes quickly and accurately at reduced costs with less need for ongoing human intervention. This frees employees to participate in more value-added activities that involve personal interaction, problem solving, and decision making.
Robotic Process Automation allows employees to complete tasks that are more valuable to the company and its customers. When employees feel their work is valued and worthwhile, their productivity increases, which increases employee retention rates, and they’re better supported for these tasks by the RPA. This can help increase productivity and cut costs.
Does Your Business Need RPA?
And as we look to history to help us predict the future, we cannot deny that previous types of automation and technology improved that outlooks of the companies who embraced them early.
If history is any lesson, then today’s businesses can’t afford to take a “wait and see” attitude. Your business can greatly benefit from the RPA when it’s used to improve efficiency, cut costs, and free your employees for more meaningful tasks.