Seiyu GK

BizRobo! implementation requested by User Departments led to optimize 20,000 hours in 6 months, equalize all business processes and aim at freeing 100,000 hours per year.

Highlight
  • Requested by User Departments BizRobo! implementation reached the main branch and some Logistics Centers.
  • These Logistics Centers show important results and 20,000 work hours are automated yearly in the whole company.
  • They are aiming at expanding the scope of target business processes and hope to free 100,000 work hours per year.

In 2002, Seiyu GK concluded a business alliance with the giant American retailer Walmart, and fully became one of its subsidiaries in 2008. This supermarket is not only famous among housewives, but also among varied social layers from students to seniors. This company, which has 334 stores in Japan (as for 21 February 2019), is optimistic about implementing new technology under its motto: “Saving people money so they can live better”. In 2018, the “Digital Promotion Group” which has for mission to improve business efficiency and productivity in the Information Systems Department, became the center of this strategy and promoted the use of RPA for business processes at the main branch and in some Logistics Centers. Implementing BizRobo! generated various effects, and within one year, this succeeded in improving the efficiency of 20,000 of work hours per year. Now, the goal is to free 100,000 work hours per year and to expand the target business processes to automate.

Business Challenge

Starting a 3-months trial to implement RPA, answering to opinions from the workplace.

Many departments made simultaneous requests to implement RPA

Since summer 2018, Mr. Enomoto, manager of the Digital Promotion Group at the Information Systems Department, supervised the RPA development team soon after its launch in May of the same year. This was due to the simultaneous requests from many departments within the company that asked for implementing RPA to improve business efficiency. “Instead of implementing RPA one department after the other, it would be better to work horizontally on this project”, thought Mr. Enomoto as he launched a development team that first studies the needed development resources, budget and overall schedule, then extracts issues, decides on elements to prioritize, and even defines requirements for building robots. He then took command of a 3-months trial aimed at implementation. “RPA implementation and promotion constituted one of the strategies led by the Digital Promotion Group aiming at internal business transformation.”, said Mr. Enomoto.

Why BizRobo!

The functionalities of the server-type software were deciding factors in BizRobo! implementing

They conducted a PoC based on the trial versions of many RPA tools.

During a 3-months trial that served as a PoC (Proof of Concept), Mr. Enomoto built sample robots with different trial versions of RPA tools that he evaluated on criteria such as type, cost, or ease to develop robots. During the creation of sample robots, the development team led the planification, development and operations by enforcing a requirements definition they created from hearings conducted at different User Departments (Merchandise, Logistics, HR, Accounting…).

 

The functionalities of the BizRobo! server-type became the deciding factors for implementation. “At first, we gave importance to the fact it was a server-type and to the costs because it wasn’t clear yet how far we could extend our target business processes. Despite BizRobo! limit on how many simultaneous accesses are possible to the developers, its development ease which allows to create and run an unlimited number of robots, as well as the cost involved, were major reasons.”, said Mr. Enomoto.

Target Processes
Trial implementation to improve efficiency of routine tasks in Logistics Centers with hopes of freeing 2,000 hours per year.

From issuing up to 5,000 receipts, to performing dramatic improvement in business efficiency.

One business process that had been considered was routine work at Logistics Centers. The products displayed in the 334 company stores nationwide are at some point gathered in 12 Logistics Centers. In these centers, tasks following products sorting, but before sending items to the stores used to rely on manual work at a pace of one store per hour. After digital workforce was implemented to these tasks as part of the trial, 2,000 work hours were predicted to be freed per year.

 

Digital workforce was also applied to receipts issuance, a business process that used to take a lot of work time in the logistics centers. At the time of delivery, the manager issues receipts to the supplier but this process, that reaches 5,000 cases per day, was until now done on paper. By transforming them into PDF files, sorting them with the suppliers’ codes and sending them to the suppliers’ email addresses, digital workforce can improve business efficiency for the equivalent of 11,000 work hours per year.

Business Impact

122 robots in operation, 20,000 work hours automated per year

Positive side effects on top of increase in productivity

After its implementation to receipts issuing, the use of BizRobo! is progressively expanding to reach all the activities within the company. Since its full-scale implementation in December 2018, User Departments experiencing business problems have been submitting request or application forms, and Mr. Enomoto put in place an internal system where his development team oversees hearings, requirements definition, creation and testing of robots. Target business processes have reached 15 to 20 types and 122 robots are currently in operation. A total of 20,000 work hours are freed per year.

 

“Direct effects on productivity improvement are immense, but so are the positive side effects. For the receipts example, we have been able to reduce the use of ink and paper, and searching the history became easy. This indeed generated a variety of other effects such as preventing mistakes and oversimplification of business processes, eliminating temporal and physical loss, and simplifying treatment of work late at night or during the weekend”, said Mr. Enomoto.


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CORPORATE PROFILE
Company Name Seiyu GK
Business content Retail chain business specialized in food, clothes and housing supplies
Website https://www.walmartjapanseiyu.com
Respondents Mr. Yasuhito Enomoto, Manager, Digital Promotion Group, Information Systems Department
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