JUNE 18, 2019 PRESS RELEASE
The purchasing digitalization agency Acxias announces the deployment of two RPA (Robotic process automation) robots by Safran to automatically convert part of its purchase requests into orders, in SAP Ariba. The high-tech group’s purchasing management had begun to address the opportunities offered by automated robotics in mid-2018, with the aim of improving and speeding up the processing of some of its stable and robust processes.
What is the approach and for what objectives?
A preparatory phase, conducted with the support of the Directorate of Information Systems (DSI) and Acxias, first identified the eligible processes. This was followed by an exploratory phase in which « we began to analyze the volumes of purchase requests for needs issued with our Ariba P2R (Procure-to-receipt) application on the Ariba Buying platform, » explains Franck Jeanvoine, head of Safran’s purchasing methods, tools and performance department.
The implementation of the two robots, by the Teams of Acxias from the UiPath solution, aims at a dual objective: to do better with the same resources and to offload the teams purchasing tasks that are annoying and time-consuming to refocus them on the essentials. Buyers will be able to focus on market analysis, exchanges with suppliers and user support.
What automated operations?
The automation track has been investigated and validated on a specific perimeter: updating « non-catalogue » purchase requests containing an attachment quote, so that, after validation, they can be converted into commands without further human intervention. Indeed, this process includes « a large part of administrative work, very repetitive and tedious, which can take up to 15 to 20 minutes per operation, » says Idriss Mrani, DSO (Operational Support Department) manager of Safran Purchasing, the group’s out-of-production purchasing department.
What lessons and results?
Conducted in agile mode, the project required some adjustments. « The RPA has shown certain limitations, related to the rather technical context of Safran and the specifics of our tools, » admits Idriss Mrani, before continuing « But its rise, coupled, in a possible second time, with the integration of artificial intelligence and learning technologies, should allow us to progress. » Finally, says Franck Jeanvoine, » (…) this project helped us realize that what we thought was a robust process was not always robust, hence the adjustments and action plans. » Before concluding on the results obtained: » (…) this project has introduced a dose of innovation, already translated into concrete and operationally satisfactory terms. It made us react on some of our processes and today generates a key automation, to free up capacity ».
An extension of the RPA perimeter?
The project could now include all requests to purchase small amounts without a quote, which accounts for about 35 of the annual volume of non-catalogue orders. Finally, the group plans to set up a skills centre dedicated to automation via RPA technology.
For its part, Acxias, which is working on other RPA-based projects, for example to automate the administration of the SAP Ariba platform, has also set upa centre of expertise for the automation of purchasing processes.
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About ACXIAS: Acxias is a digitalization agency for purchasing, procurement and accounting suppliers created in 2007. Acting with large groups and public institutions, the company, made up of more than 20 consultants, has a recognized expertise in projects optimizing organizations, processes and information systems.
Acxias’ interventions include improving efficiency and value creation by purchasing teams, bringing expenses and processes into line, reducing wild purchases, identifying and activating new avenues of value creation and savings, automating invoice management from start to finish, accelerating information flows, and strengthening collaboration with internal customers and suppliers.
 UiPath is one of the « leaders » identified by leading RPA market research firms.
Acxias holds a UiPath certification.