RPA as a solution to workforce shortage

RPA is a good alternative solution to the workforce shortage. Companies can make good use of this technology in addition to recruiting additional employees to reduce workload.

Staff shortage

The labor shortage is a topic that is regularly making the news at the moment. Trains are not running, construction projects are being postponed and, according to several economists and agencies, the labor shortage is hindering further economic growth. Since February 2021, the unemployment rate has declined continuously month on month, while job openings remain as high as ever. 

Several solutions are mentioned to reverse this shortage, such as higher wages, more permanent contracts, recruiting abroad or retraining people. What is often not immediately considered is how the organization can be made smarter to do more work with the same people. One technology that can contribute to this is automation with RPA.

Emergence of RPA technology

RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation and is the collective term for automating business processes through virtual robots. In recent years, this technology has been on the rise, with large companies achieving good results by investing in RPA. Unfortunately, this was unattainable for SMEs for a long time due to the investments involved.

That is now changing. RPA software is becoming more affordable, and there are now companies, such as VionA, that provide RPA as a service that makes you pay only for use, rather than large upfront investments in software and knowledge.

RPA as a solution

What you often see in organizations is that, as they become busier due to staff shortages, employees are mostly engaged in repetitive actions to keep the daily business running. As a result, structural solutions cannot be dealt with. The fact that administrative staff cannot be found only makes the situation more dire.

RPA robots are ideally suited to take over administrative tasks from employees and can thus be used as an additional virtual employee in your organization. Advantages are that they always work flawlessly, faster than people, and can be deployed day and night. In addition, they can scale effortlessly with the amount of work, no matter how much it becomes. This gives your employees air again and allows them to deal with structural solutions for your organization.

Implementing RPA

As with any change in an organization, proper preparation is also crucial for implementing RPA. This starts with having a clear goal. 

Next, it is important to be able to properly assess which processes lend themselves best for RPA. Here, the chosen processes should also be mapped in good detail with all possible scenarios worked out. 

You also need to choose a software solution to build the RPA robots. In this, there is a choice between packages that you install locally such as Microsoft Power Automate and UIpath or cloud services such as Automation Anywhere and Robocorp.  

Building a simple robot does not require much IT knowledge. However, you soon come across situations where some programming is required to get all the scenarios right in the RPA robot.

Once the robot is running, it is also important to monitor it closely. This is because one disadvantage of RPA is that if there is a substantial change in any of the systems the robot is working with, the robot must also be modified.