Since the industrial revolution, there has been an increasing demand for efficient production and consequently for automation. By the 1970s, industrial robots were widely used to aid workers in manufacturing processes e.g. Ford production lines.
In 2018, the software robots in DSV do not have any arms, legs or wheels but they serve the same purpose as the first industrial robots: to aid humans with repetitive tasks.
From individual business needs to centralised governance
“The use of software robots in DSV began in our Road division in 2014. There was a need for a tool to automate tedious and time-consuming tasks across platforms,” Marlene Franke Mozer, Senior Director, Finance, explains and continues:
“We saw potential in using software robotics more strategically and supported by a stronger central governance. In December 2017, we opened DSV’s Robotics Center of Excellence in Warsaw to consolidate the different robotic efforts across the company.”
The technology being implemented is called Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and it is used to handle repetitive, data intensive and rules-based business processes in DSV. RPA does not assess the data it processes, unlike technologies like Machine Learning or AI, which by the way are also being explored by DSV.
“We are implementing RPA to secure cost reduction, quality improvement and shorter transaction times. With this technology, we can handle data intensive tasks more effectively but most importantly, we free up human resources to do more critical thinking and less manual work,” Mozer explains.
From 25 transactions to 75 – without getting tired
Manager in Operational Shared Service, Christian Carstensson Olesen, is responsible for one of the business processes aided by Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in DSV. Christian elaborates on how implementing RPA has optimised his department’s workflow:
“In my department, we have a quite tedious, but very important business process that used to be done manually”, says Olesen and continues:
“Now, we have a robot to do it. It has been configured to scan airline websites to look for discrepancies between air shipments’ Estimated Time of Arrival and Actual Time of Arrival. If the robot detects a delay, it will take a screenshot of the new information, and send it directly to the local organisation whose shipment has been affected.
One person can manually handle 25 transactions per hour, while a robot can do 75 transactions. So, it’s three times more efficient. And a robot does not need breaks or gets tired by the repetitive work.”
At this point, there are 100 robots “working” in DSV. They support a wide range of business areas across divisions and countries, ranging from simple business processes like registration of new customers to more complex processes handling large sets of data.
About the further development of Robotics Center of Excellence, Mozer finishes:
”We are seeing more scope for business functions in which we can use robotic technology. So DSV is always looking for talented IT specialists to help further this scope and create success using advanced robotics technology”.
The Robotics Center of Excellence is situated in DSV’s International Service Center (ISSC) in Warsaw, Poland.
Picture: The new ISSC office building opening in Warsaw in 2020.