Reference case

Robots Jarvis and Cashman help remain Shared Service Centre in Belgium

3 December 2021
Boudewijn Vanpeteghem Editor Connect on Linkedin

Using robots to increase the efficiency of the Shared Service Centre (SSC) so that it can remain in Belgium. The operation was going on at waste processing company Renewi when Project Consultant Kathleen Hansen came to replace someone in the SSC. She worked there for eight months and successfully came up with her own ideas for bots. The robots were all given a name, like Jarvis and Cashman, to make it clear that they are a full member of the team.

"The ongoing improvement operation made me look at my daily work with eyes that were searching for opportunities to modernize and robotize," says Kathleen, who works for the Blue Chip Boutique Transition & Support in Hasselt. "For example, there were difficulties with the booking of interim workers. They were listed in different cost centres and the information from the interim agency was in cumbersome files from which we had to retrieve the necessary data. There was room for improvement. I sat down with colleagues and indicated where the waste of time and energy was. The experts in the team built a robot and came back to me to test it".

Renewi retrained their accountants to become RPA experts.

Kathleen Hansen, Project Consultant

Another example Kathleen gives has to do with quarterly invoicing to customers. "We had to divide them over the three months. The different reports and systems made it difficult to collect and check the data. I raised the issue and here, too, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) made efficiency gains". The monthly downloading and storage of a large number of invoices was also entrusted to a bot. It did the work at night.

Robotizing simple, repetitive tasks involving a lot of data volume helps to keep the Shared Service Centre here and to resist the temptation to outsource the work to low-wage countries. "Where I was working, they handled it well. Their accountants were retrained as RPA experts and the manager challenged them to achieve a time gain of 1 full-time equivalent each through robotization within a year. The assignment was: to earn themselves back. Smaller initiatives, such as calling out the 'RPA team of the month', also helped to get everyone on the move. There was no lack of motivation because the focus was on maintaining employment".

Keep in mind that a robot never works perfectly right away. Focus on continuous improvement.

Wim Van Bael, Group Shared Services Director at Renewi

More than 2 million invoices annually

TriFinance's Project Consultants are highly versed in process thinking. Therefore they are ideally placed to make automation and robotization a success. Renewi's SSC in Lommel deals with finance and human resources. 170 employees and several robots handle the HR administration of six thousand employees, the flow of invoices: 1.8 million outgoing and 370,000 incoming annually, and the accounting of more than forty companies.

Renewi is a leader in RPA and Wim Van Bael, Director of Group Shared Services, gives several recommendations: "Don't believe the commercial talk. Optimize your process before automating it. Convince your employees that they benefit from robotization because they can do work with more added value instead of performing transactional and repetitive tasks. Keep in mind that a robot never works perfectly right away. Focus on continuous improvement. Think carefully about the management of RPA.”