Otsuka Holdings

The Shared Services Center of the Otsuka Group promotes a Group-wide use of RPA

  • With the goal of making the workplace more enjoyable, they were able to save thousands of work hours during the first year of the implementation
  • They are expecting synergic effects from a Group-wide implementation

Otsuka Holdings is the holding company of the Otsuka Group which is built around Otsuka Pharmaceutical and other manufacturing companies such as Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory and TAIHO Pharmaceutical. True to its corporate philosophy, “Otsuka-people creating new products for better health worldwide”, this global total healthcare company aims to achieve things that “Otsuka in particular can do” or that “only Otsuka can do” and “endeavors freely from existing ideas”. Aiming at improving its business efficiency, Otsuka Holdings has been implementing BizRobo! since 2018, which has started yielding visible results, beginning with the reduction of the amount of work hours.
Business Challenge
They focused their attention on RPA to improve their activities as the Shared Services Center for the Group companies
They did a trial implementation of BizRobo! that started during autumn 2017

Founded in 2009 in the Tokushima prefecture, the birthplace of the company, the Shared Services Center, part of the Otsuka Business Support Center (OBSC), internal to Otsuka Holdings, includes an IT group, an Accountability group, and an HR Support Center, and is the support of business processes common to the whole Group. Within the IT Support Center, which is mainly responsible of managing IT operations of the Group companies such as administrating PCs, every types of servers, or networks, and providing Help Desk Services, the attention shifted to RPA (Robotic Process Automation), a technology that contributes to business efficiency improvement and automation. The Group Trust decided to perform a trial implementation of BizRobo! during autumn 2017.

Why BizRobo!
The key reasons for selecting BizRobo! were its domestic achievements and its ease for internal control
Being server-based was also indispensable

Mr. Imamura talked to us about the reasons they had for choosing BizRobo! since the very beginning of the implementation: “Being the already most used RPA product in Japan, taking pride in its overwhelming share, was the first big one. Having hence actual results, there is a wealth of use cases for reference, which led us to think that it was our only option for domestic implementation.”.

Another decisive factor was the fact that BizRobo! was a server-based RPA tool.

“As a company that was from the start thinking of operating an RPA tool in a system that ensures internal control, we concluded that a desktop-based RPA, which can easily generate mad robots, would not be suitable. While being a project led by our IT group, being server-based was also necessary to allow its use to be managed in a unified way to the whole Group.” (Mr. Imamura)

Target Processes
Suggestions from the workplace are increasing along with robot literacy
At the beginning, some voices expressed concerns about RPA stealing jobs from the workplace

Basically, Otsuka Holdings sucks up suggestions from the workplace of the different Group companies and apply them to develop business processes to be automated with BizRobo!. They have put in place a mechanism for the companies to apply to the OBSC before finally moving to a real-situation environment, hence delegating it to take care of the following management steps. This is a framework through which the OBSC evaluates and adjusts the operating time of each robot.

Mr. Imamura said: “At first, some voices expressed concerns about RPA stealing jobs from the workplace. However, once the robots had been seen operating for actual business processes, it became clear that they could not do everything, that they had to collaborate with humans, and some started to enthusiastically offer suggestions: “Couldn’t this too be automated?”.”.

Business Impact
They are already saving thousands of work hours per year
There are currently around 70 robots in operation at each Group company

Since they put in operation their very first robots in a real business situation on February 2018, they have been steadily increasing their number to answer the needs of the workplace. As a result, there are now about 70 robots in operation at each Group company. This resulted in thousands of hours of work hours saved each year.

While we thought it good to systematize business processes that could unleash a substantial amount of work hours, we instead used RPA to transform daily tasks that can have their efficiency gradually improved. This way, we are becoming able to redirect the saved work hours toward other activities. We are reaching a situation where the development of robots can no longer catch up with the requests for automation coming from the workplace.”, said Mr. Imamura while smiling.

As ways to unify the work style reform in the Group companies, inventories of business processes are being made at each department, and the use of RPA is being promoted as a tool to improve business processes.

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Company Name Otsuka Holdings
Business content Holding company for the Otsuka Group starting with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Respondents Section Head of the IT Group, Same Group
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