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Robots at work

Raben Group bets on RPA

It has been six months since an IT team for robotics and process automation was established in Raben Group, which is responsible for the development of the Robotic Process Automation technology and robot operations in the company. Their team, supervised by a proprietary myRobot platform, already has 18 units and performs more than 60 processes. However,  the comprehensive benefits of RPA in logistics make Raben's plans in this area much more ambitious.

Raben Group started to show interest in RPA already in 2018. A year later, it entered the production phase, and in September 2021, a special unit specifically dedicated to RPA - the IT team for robotics and process automation - was spun off from the Genius Lab, a department dedicated to the widely understood innovation and logistics of tomorrow. Its approach is comprehensive and it involves identification of processes that can be automated, the design and implementation of robotic processes, and the supervision of their daily operation.

Raben currently uses 18 robots - software bots that mimic user actions in IT systems. These are the so-called unattended robots, i.e. centrally controlled robots that do not require interaction with users and de facto fully assume their roles.

- 18 robotic licenses that we can use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, effectively means more than 50 full-time jobs. In addition, the RPA robot is able to do the job several times faster than the user, which is a huge improvement, especially with the current problems of employee availability in logistics. If we additionally consider the flexibility, efficiency, reliability and attractive costs of RPA, there is no doubt that automation will be the future of our industry - says Zbigniew Kępiński, IT team manager for robotics and process automation at Raben Group.

These robots are “employed” in most areas of company operations. They support planning, loading and unloading operations, as well as billing, quoting and invoicing. Controlling them and running processes on demand is possible via myRobot, a proprietary robotic process management platform built by the RPA team in 2020. Most processes provide additional analytical information, including how many tasks and with what results the robot performed in a given period, how much time was saved, and how much each license was used.

The operations of robots should be considered not only in quantitative but also in qualitative terms: they perform human work on average four times faster, without errors, according to an algorithm and without the need for changes in IT systems. They allow for better use of the potential of employees because they are able to take over tedious, repetitive tasks, which are the cause of work fatigue and burnout. Raben Group employees appreciate robotic solutions; they find them very helpful as they free them from boring duties. They can spend the time they save on more creative and rewarding work.

- Automation of office processes allows the company to develop faster, increase the number of handled operations with the same level of employment. It is a simple and cost-effective way to optimize current processes, but also to create a reserve “capacity” for the future, in case of increasing the scale of operations. It can also serve as a tool for testing the system load” - explains Zbigniew Kępiński. 

For this reason, Raben Group plans to increase the number of employed robots systematically. RPA is part of a larger effort within the logistics operator's structures to pursue hyper-automation. It involves greater use of artificial intelligence, machine learning techniques, engagement with other platforms and systems in addition to RPA, and integration of more components, such as information from different sources: robots, the Internet of Things sensors, CCTV cameras or GPS systems. Hyper-automation is the future that will create a new - and hugely automated - way of working in IT applications and systems.