RPA on the shop floor
RPA, AI and ML will bring new heights and gradually change the retail sector. Starting with merchandising areas, online shopping, cashier-less checkout on the shop floor, and others to follow.
When proper process mapping is applied and RPA or AI solutions are properly deployed, they can effectively support operations starting with managing the store layouts through trade promotions to the returns processes. In addition, it can also assist the accounting department with gathering and issuing essential refund paperwork and reports. Workforce management is also an area that can be automated.
Optimization of the workforce management is undoubtedly one of the most crucial areas with a data-heavy process, ranging from forecasting, scheduling, performance management and related text and email messages on the shop floor.
RPA can channel workforce management and enable real-time action by linking and synching databases in HR, sales and payroll updating and analyzing data and automatically triggering emails and text messages, keeping employees informed.
Store Specific planning
Organizing the shop by segmenting store layouts depends on customer demographics and preferences. For workers, this can be a boring and time-consuming task with a high chance of errors. The time that workers spend on that organization can be fulfilled in more valuable tasks for improving customers’ expectations.
A robot can work with existing databases to outline a better view of store layouts and the different demographics of customers shopping there. Possessing such data, store managers can better plan the inventory and the level of exposure of different product groups.
How the Store planning will benefit from RPA:
- Providing real-time analytics of sales and inventory for efficient planning
- Improving customer satisfaction with faster order and return processing
- Free up time to focus on improving customer experience
The volume of returned merchandise each year is posing a significant concern for retailers. Of course, the scale varies by product type, but it has a significant impact on the whole retail sector. Returns are primarily lost sales, resulting in lower cash flow, profits, and margin percentages. Simultaneously they can lead to higher labor expenses considering the inspection and re-stocking time. Moreover, out-of-stock situations are not uncommon.
Keeping that in mind and the ever-increasing logistic expenses because of the return processing are just the base reasons for retail business owners to consider RPA as a potential, most effective solution.
By implementing RPA software, businesses will enjoy the advantage of:
- Keeping regularly updated track of deadlines to send notifications when needed.
- Maintaining the support communication process with the customer and all associated departments to ensure that the item is returned quickly; thus, it is checked for fraudulent returns, and that the money is repaid to the consumer.
- Enabling the reverse streamline of logistics operations processes.
- Estimating projected return levels for a given product line.
Organizing promotions on the shop floor needs a substantial amount of backend administration work that can take up employees’ valuable time.
Some of those tasks will include the allocation of funds for promotions and report generations that can help track progress, performance, and success. These processes are highly repetitive and require a lot of manual work and data input. This often creates room for error. With RPA or AI solutions, we can automate up to 80% of the trade promortions processes. These can include validations, invoice processing, quality audit, and payment approval.
Automation can deliver a range of additional benefits including sustained accuracy, which can cut the sampling percentage needed for quality audits, bring a larger picture and enable informed decision making.
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