The finance department of Swedish construction group Peab handles about 1 200 guarantees every month to its about 40 different subsidiaries. Administrator is Roberta: a supereffective and safe robot working with Coupa Treasury.
“No human had been able to make all controls required every month. She makes an incredible job”, states Louise Strömberg, system administrator at Peab Development.
As part of a trustworthy and financially strong group, Peab Finance issues guarantees to the customers of its group subsidiaries. For this service it charges the subsidiaries a monthly fee. With as much as about 1 200 guarantees, this is an extensive effort if it should be done every month. Too extensive for a human.
“Roberta starts with extracting a list of all valid guarantees for the period being. She makes searches on each of the subsidiaries and gets raw data concerning the debiting of each guarantee issued”, Louise Strömberg explains.
The next step is to check the reference number of each guarantee to confirm it is still valid. New guarantees are constantly added, and others have expired.
“Before, we could only do this quarterly. With Roberta, Finance gets better cash flow by charging every month.”
Only two steps by humans
In the accounting, different templates for the accounting orders are used in every country and business area. Roberta has learned to fill in every different template.
“When she has filled in all the accounting orders, she must balance these with crediting orders in Finances’ accounting. When she is ready, she mails a note that the documents are ready to be sent to each accounting economist at the subsidiaries, and that the bank withdrawal can be made. These two last steps are the only ones that needs to be done by a human co-worker”, Louise Strömberg says and adds:
“Roberta is hundred percent safe. She makes no mistakes, unless you give her false instructions. We had to do some minor adjustments by the time we launched her in January this year, but since then she does exactly what’s required.”
Time for value-adding tasks
Using RPA, Robotic Process Automation, is not a matter of reducing the workforce. The business benefits are about releasing time for more qualified and value-adding tasks, Åsa Nimmervoll, group manager at Peab Development, underlines.
“We are currently having three different robots, working in about 30 applications. It saves us about 400 working hours per month. We have so much more important things to do. RPA is necessary to keep pace and not drown in administrative, repetitive tasks.”
So far, focus of the implementation of RPA at Peab has been administrative processes. Now, Åsa and her team want to proceed to support the core business.
“One example is to robotise the quality monitoring in building projects. These are surrounded by laws and regulations on documentation. It takes a lot of time to search and monitor all necessary documents. A robot should be able to scan which documents are in place and if any are missing. The next step could be to read the documents and check that they are correct.”
A holistic approach to digitalisation
The main object of Peab Development is to support the group with a holistic approach to digitalization. RPA is just one, small part of all digitalization that is needed in today’s business. But platforms that fast and easy provides you with digital information, as Coupa Treasury, are prerequisites for RPA and other fast developing techniques, Åsa Nimmervoll argues.
“Without these platforms in place, you don’t stand a chance to go further in your digital transformation journey.”
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