With an ever-changing world, continuous improvement is the key to keep your business ahead of the competition. Many organisations embrace value engineering to stay in the game. Traditionally value engineering is underpinned by value analysis, defined as the systematic and critical assessment by an organization of every feature of a product to ensure that its cost is no greater than is necessary to carry out its function.
When applied to automation opportunities, the core principle of Value Engineering is to deliver More with Less. Automation opens a new opportunity for the business - whilst seeking ways to cut cost, it focuses on repetitive and time-consuming processes, leaving your staff to focus on strategic development, with overall productivity boosted as a result.
It can be overwhelming to implement value engineering without a structured approach. We recommend the following aspects to be considered when outlining your value engineering plan.
Prepare the business for the change
The process can be driven top down or bottom up, with automation ideas generated through a facilitated workshop and or staff suggestions. This can be facilitated by using an idea curation platform such as UiPath’s Automation Hub, which gathers and assesses ideas for automation to be reviewed, ranked and approved by a Centre of Excellence team.
Other tools such as Task Mining and Process Mining can also be deployed to create automation priorities rooted in factual analysis of process flows.
Process mining is a technique designed to discover, monitor and improve real processes (i.e., not assumed processes) by extracting readily available knowledge from the event logs of information systems.
Task Mining is a technology that allows businesses to capture user interaction (desktop) data, so they can analyse how people get work done, and how they can do it even better.
The outputs from both of these approaches can identify areas of focus for automation, and can improve productivity, efficiency and compliance.
Pick the right process to start with
Task and Process Mining support the following workflow to determine their suitability and priority for automation:
The ideal process for automation has several features: higher FTEs deployed on the task, with highly manual and repetitive, strictly rule-based, low exception rates. Apart from the above, one should also consider some key questions like “What does success look like?”, “How will you know it when you see it?”. These are fundamental questions to ensure focus is on the right initiatives. You can’t manage what you can’t measure – have you got the right KPIs in place to drive the new automation deliverables? A tailored dashboard covering a balanced scorecard of Service, Cost, Quality and Compliance metrics is recommended, and can be built as an integral element of automation monitoring. Prioritise those that are urgent for improvement and have high potential for gaining productivity.
Pitfalls to avoid
The role of IT is crucial to help ideas flourish and to maintain good governance. Having a long-term strategy is important but also allows process re-design/optimisation. Do not obsess with short term ROI as it is proven that periods of experimentation and adjustment can take organizations to another level of productivity. A 70-80% of automation may be better than full automation, the development time and complexity of maintenance involved might not be worth it, it is more effective to have a slight re-design while keeping some level of human intervention.
How can Enterprise RPA help?
Value Engineering with automation is easier said than done. Having a trustworthy consultancy to work alongside is the best way to ensure you are on the right track. Our consultants have extensive experience in helping clients achieve process excellence. We facilitate an idea generation workshop with key departmental heads to discuss, debate & challenge ideas where automation can generate results. Based on the outcomes, we then facilitate a ranking process to prioritise them. A list of potential automations can then be presented with recommended priorities and budget estimation.
Enterprise RPA has comprehensive experience in helping clients to “gain a foothold" with automation, whilst also aligning with their strategic aims to deliver more, respond faster and improve services elsewhere. (See more Customer Stories from various sectors). Schedule a consultation session with our experts now to kickstart your Value Engineering journey.