Leading Enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software company UiPath has issued a new report ‘RPA: The Next Step in Retail Automation’.

This comprehensive report outlines how RPA is actively reshaping the retail sector worldwide. Leading European retailers have contributed their thoughts on their usage of RPA across multiple functions, from finance to HR, marketing and call centres.

Faced with pressure from decreasing margins, legacy IT systems that can’t respond fast enough to meet increased demands from customers, retailers have been discovering RPA as a solution that helps to reduce operational costs, make processes quicker and more efficient, increase employees’ productivity, and enable customer-centric services.

“For many retailers today, digital transformation seems daunting. Their aging legacy systems are so deeply woven into the core of their operations that meaningful changes are risky and cost prohibitive. RPA is the transformative technology that doesn’t disrupt existing systems and enables retailers to work within their existing enterprise ecosystem, while creating the platform for longer-term innovation,” said Kulpreet Singh, Managing Director EMEA, UiPath.

As highlighted in the report, RPA is already reshaping strategic areas for retailers, which include:

  • Demand and supply planning – tasks such as gathering and formatting very high volumes of demand and supply data or running simulations can be automated and streamlined with RPA unattended automations. Attended automations can help too – highlighting exceptions that enable employees to have the time to resolve more quickly;
  • Logistics and inventory management – RPA facilitates automated alerts to suppliers or customers when orders are booked, shipped, delivered or delayed, but can also help determine optimum order levels based on past data assessment;
  • Contract management – once a product has been sourced from a supplier, an RPA robot can continually monitor the contract and the supplier’s performance;
  • Customer support management – RPA can automate such as complaints handling (prioritizing issues, sending automatic responses, escalating complaints), loyalty scheme management, or maintaining unconnected databases;
  • Accounting and finance – beyond existing systems such as ERP, RPA automates activities such as order and invoice processing, accounts payable and accounts receivable, account reconciliation, order to cash, etc.

Other intervention areas for RPA are marketing and consumer behaviour analysis, payroll management, employee onboarding, call centres outsourcing, trade promotions, and store specific planning.

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