Case Study

When bots do the reporting, humans are free to think big

Bringing robotic process automation to enterprise performance management

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Who we worked with

A global manufacturer of equipment for railroad, marine, mining, drilling and energy-generation industries.

What the company needed

Business intelligence professionals were spending too much time gathering data on base-cost reporting—and not enough time analyzing it. To make matters worse, it was difficult to reconcile the data from different systems. And high staff turnover made it hard to maintain a consistent approach to reporting.

How we helped

We introduced robotic process automation (RPA), powered by Genpact Cora, to base-cost reporting.

What the company got

Analysts can now contribute their valuable insights for effective decision-making. What’s more, the company saw a 70% increase in productivity, along with a drop in the cost of reporting.

When reporting on its base costs—costs that don’t change if there are fluctuations in production—the enterprise performance management (EPM) team at a major manufacturing company had a problem. They didn’t have a quick or accurate way to provide the data or insights the company needed to make informed decisions. With Genpact on the case, however, all that was about to change for the better.

Challenge

Save time. Cut back on errors. Improve overall productivity

The company was producing nine daily reports dealing with employee compensation, benefits, travel, expenses, and headcount, among other topics. In the process, team members had to work through a series of time-consuming and error-prone steps.

After manually extracting information from the ERP, for example, they would format the reports by hand in Excel, compare them against the operating plan, and add commentary based on the analysis. Only then could they submit them to the business for review.

Checks and churn
As a control check, the team would also match the reports against data in Hyperion, its EPM tool. But there was a time lag involved in running both reports, so the numbers often didn’t match up. That meant the team had to spend even more time addressing the discrepancies—which potentially led to more errors.

It didn’t help that the EPM team faced significant churn. People frequently moved on to other projects, making a consistent approach difficult to establish. And more time had to be set aside to train new personnel in order to get them up to speed. No surprise, then, that the EPM team spent more energy on creating and correcting reports than on providing insightful analysis the company could use.

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Solution

Bring on the bots

RPA powered by Genpact Cora was the answer. We’d been working with this company for years and had a clear understanding of their needs. So when we used our Lean DigitalSM approach, combining design thinking, Lean principles, digital technologies, and domain knowledge, we could quickly identify the processes to automate.

Right away, fewer hands meant fewer mistakes. The bots extracted information from all relevant systems, then created and consolidated the reports. We also put control checks in place to make sure balances from different reports matched. If there were exceptions, they would be flagged in the report dashboard and handled by the finance IT team.

And for truly seamless delivery, Genpact had the team follow customer IT security and data-compliance mechanisms. What’s more, because good bot governance is crucial, we established failure-mode-effects analysis to manage risk. Within five weeks, the RPA solution was up and running, making a real difference.

Impact

Faster insights, better forecasts

Among the many positive outcomes: EPM professionals now have more time to focus on analysis and insights. RPA released the client’s EPM team from manual tasks, and sped up the process of collecting, formatting, and reconciling base-cost data. With dramatically fewer errors and far less time spent crunching the numbers, productivity increased by 70% and the expenditure for managing the base cost-process went down, too.

EPM is now free to provide a better view, for example, of why travel costs may be flying high. Based on these insights, the management team can make decisions and forecasts faster — and with greater confidence. What’s more, the automated process means that training needs decreased dramatically, too.

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