Vandemoortele, a Belgian family business, was founded in 1899. Since then, they have grown into an international food company with a leading position in Europe. Vandemoortele is a B2B2C company that produces and distributes bakery products, margarine, culinary oils and fats, among others. As the company grew, their business processes scaled too. To this day, a lot of these processes are executed manually in SAP. Some of these processes require repetitive, boring manual work that is not very satisfying. As Vandemoortele values their employees' happiness, something had to be done. Therefore, they called in our intelligent automation expertise.
The first business case we automated at Vandemoortele was retrieving invoice pdfs from SAP. Imagine: you have a client asking for 150 invoices, sent between May and July, as they deleted them by accident. Oops. The finance department has to retrieve these invoices entirely manually: opening SAP, look for the transaction, enter the correct invoice number, save it to a certain location, and then mail the files or putting them in a shared drive. This process can take up to 3 minutes for only one invoice. And as you can imagine, this whole process is error-prone. The possibility is definitely there to send invoices to the wrong people.
Clients deleting invoices by accidents is not the only thing that triggers this workflow. As Vandemoortele is a multinational, they operate in countries with archiving obligations. This means that in these countries, they have to archive all invoices somewhere outside of SAP. In conclusion: a lot of invoices to be processed. A job for a virtual worker instead of a human employee, if you ask us.
Our solution for this challenge is a fully digital UiPath virtual worker or robot. The people who had to retrieve the invoices manually, now have to send an Excel file with the invoice numbers to the virtual worker. When the bot receives the information it executes a few simple checks: 'can this person ask for this invoice?' 'Do they have the clearance?' After receiving the Excel, the robot goes to work and automatically saves the invoices to a shared drive or sends the files directly to the requester.
SAP is a very secure ERP system and should stay that way. Therefore, in the near future, all Vandemoortele robots will have an extra built-in component checking for SAP access rights. In this way, SAP security rules will not be circumvented by using UiPath robots.
As the solution is being introduced to the users, the company is gradually saving time and increasing employee happiness, as this was a repetitive and time-consuming task nobody likes doing. In the end, every country in which Vandemoortele operates will be able to use this extra virtual helper.
At the moment, we are building POCs for other virtual workers to optimize additional processes at Vandemoortele. From September 2021 onwards, we should run 3 or 4 processes entirely with these, so-called, RPA bots.
"The idea is to show Vandemoortele the strength of process automation. From October onwards, we will train their employees to get started with automation themselves in one of our automation boot camps. In these boot camps, they will be taught how to make good and resilient robots. At the moment, we are 80% in control. After this training course, that should be reversed, so Vandemoortele can handle 80% of the building and we offer 20% of support, adding up to 100% in effectiveness." according to Nicolas Vermeulen, Solution Architect at RoboRana.