Robot-driven process automation for software-based automation of administrative processes in the internal supply chain

The internal supply chain is characterised by a heterogeneous process landscape, often accompanied by repetitive, administrative tasks, such as the manual entry of delivery notes into an enterprise resource planning system (ERP system). These are usually associated with a high manual effort and potential for errors.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) offers the potential to automate such administrative processes in the internal supply chain while also reducing errors. RPA refers to software robots that, after a minimal amount of programming, are able to process repetitive tasks independently. In the internal supply chain, automated RPA applications can be used, for example, to check data, fill out forms or enter orders. The benefits of RPA therefore result in particular from the reduction of manual effort on the part of employees as well as data transfer errors and the successive increase in the degree of digitisation of companies. Due to their flexible applicability, particularly SMEs can integrate them into existing processes with minimal effort and without requiring any process changes. Hitherto, RPA applications have not been widely used due to a lack of awareness of their potential applications and uncertainty with regards to the costs involved.

The research project "RPAlog" addresses these hurdles by developing a software demonstrator that enables companies to identify processes that can be automated using RPA. In addition, the demonstrator includes implementation concepts that enable SME-friendly implementation of RPA applications.

Funding body: The IGF project 21594 N "RPAlog - Robot-controlled process automation for the software-based automation of administrative processes in the internal supply chain" of the research association BVL (Bundesvereinigung Logistik) e.V. is funded through the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) via the programme to promote joint industrial research (IGF) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) based on a decision by the German Bundestag.

Project period: March 2021 - January 2023