Get started with RPA in procurement processing

There is no doubt that 2020 will be remembered for many reasons. With the unstable economy, it makes people in the world become more cautious about spending, it's not a surprise that corporates are adding more critical thought into their investment. In this challenging COVID-19 environment, more viable options for keeping operations running effectively are improving the customer experience, automating business processes, reducing costs and enhancing operational efficiency. To achieve these goals, some forward-looking organisations are strategically integrating Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to streamline a multitude of back-office processes across multiple departments. Reducing the need for human involvement directly impacts everything from efficiency levels to staffing problems and company expenses.

Thanks to increasing competition and price wars, RPA has brought a lot to the business table recently. It has grown in popularity and it drives changes from being a nice-to-have to being a must-have. To unlock the door of industry 4.0, Explora has designed RPA City to build operational excellence for our clients. The city gives you an overview of which business processes can be automated and takes action against any challenges your business encounters. The DEO program is embedded in our service package, with three different phases to show our technical capability, consulting advisory and process design.


(*3 Different Phases of DEO Program)


In our DEO program, a comprehensive process-mining analysis is fundamental so that RPA experts can evaluate which processes stand to benefit the most from implementing RPA. We score according to seven PI Indicators, which include the frequency of the operation, security/data privacy, data locations, operation sources, workflow levels, financial impact and process behaviour. These indicators allow businesses to holistically understand their management processes and discover opportunities to improve the processes to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Explora's ultimate goal with RPA City is to bring our clients to the next level, Industry 4.0, to improve operational sustainability.

Successful RPA Use Case of Explora 

No matter what business process you have, success will emerge from communication and cooperation between human capabilities and robotic processing power only. With RPA primed to play a significant role in digital transformation, it is vital that decision-makers carefully consider how to integrate it into their strategy. Here is our representative case of RPA usage in the sourcing, retail and commercial industry with our consultancy advisory.


Client Background:

Let’s take a look at one of our clients using RPA City. This client is the largest supply chain manager which has been specialized in the sourcing and product development of apparel and accessories in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China to South and Central America for 10 years.


Challenge In Business:

They spent a substantial amount of resources and time on processing a single procurement order (PO) manually. Human agents were required to download 700+ new orders from their client portal daily and physically validate each of them by cold calls. The most challenging part was that their staff was using different terminology to describe the same thing in their PO order. For example, the term "BLK" could mean a black colour for the procurement department, but it meant something entirely different for a newbie or for people outside of the department and management. As language constantly grows and becomes increasingly subtle and nuanced, some staff members might define this simplified key term as "Block" instead. Due to this, people started to misunderstand the data and make some mistakes on their data-entry continually. These issues kept on increasing & recurring, causing tension and conflicts in the organisation, which impacted their product delivery on time to valued customers.


Our Solution:

To optimize the manual effort required to handle this workload & reduce data discrepancy, the company sought for our help to incorporate Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to automate their rule-based administrative tasks. Therefore, the intended goal of this project is to free up the procurement team in some ways to focus more on their cold-call validation activities. As change management remained the most challenging element in managing digital transformation, Explora provided a 2-hour tailored enablement session for them to understand our best practises (DEO), RPA strategies and a basic skillset for our combined RPA tools. Once we recognised their potential operational risks through process mining, we identified up to 2 processes that fit well for automation. Those numerous processes were rule-based, mature and repetitive. Our client also participated in the implementation part along with the Explora development team. They worked closely to ensure business operation performance was on the right track after implementation. At the same time, we also took employee feedback and continued to have regular reviews with their stakeholders to apply the RPA change management process. Before we completed RPA deployment, near the end of project, we conducted few knowledge transfer sessions with them showing and enabling them to operate the developed RPA solution.


Benefit Delivered:

The most desirable benefit of using RPA is time-saving on the repetitive, manual tasks, which allows the organization to spend more time on development strategy enabling the business to move faster like never before. The other benefits are following:

  • Improvement in compliance, business quality

  • Higher scalability, accuracy and lower error rates

  • Low development cost to configure a bot

  • Strengthening regulatory tracking and reporting

  • Reliability: The Bot can work 24/7 without interruption and can increase business continuity.

  • Employee morale: workers can dedicate time to more value-added tasks

If you want to know more details on Explora’s RPA City service, please send an email to

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