The client is the world's largest pork processor, the largest hog producer in the United States, and a leader in numerous packaged meats categories. They are committed to providing good food and maintaining robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental, and food safety and quality programs. The company has been in the industry for over 80 years, employs more than 55,000 individuals across their organization, and in 2019 they generated around $16B in companywide sales.
To ensure they continue to source and deliver good food, the world's largest pork processor selected JOLT as its Robotic Process Automation (RPA) implementation partner to assess, implement and maintain their automation program, creating a scalable Automation Operating Model (AOM) to set the foundation for enterprise automation. The goal was to leverage transformational technologies, like RPA, to optimize and enhance critical business processes across the logistics and transportation business unit. RPA helps ensure that the team is operating at optimum performance at all times.
JOLT created a 3-stage automation program for the client. The first stage of the program focused on transportation and customer service with automation candidates that each business unit wanted to prioritize, the second stage will include potential processes in HR and finance, and the third stage will include IT operations and procurement. Additionally, JOLT built the AOM on three key pillars, an RPA assessment that helps identify high yield automation candidates that can achieve 5 to 10x ROI upon implementation. RPA development and deployment to continuously deliver high-quality robots. And RPA managed services to provide continuous support for all of the client's automations in production.
Starting with the automation assessment, JOLT took a hybrid approach with the client by mixing citizen-led and strategically sourced automation candidates. This approach allows for discipline, governance, and control while tapping into process owners' creativity and wisdom.
Better tracking and effective monitoring
The first process that JOLT and the client targeted for automation was the appointment entry process inside the logistics and transportation business unit. The goal was to enable better tracking and effective monitoring for shipments and give the company's transportation planners more in-depth and transparent visibility in their shipping effectiveness. The client was performing more than 210,000 entries per year.
By deploying RPA, the company intended to quickly schedule appointments for each Freight Order (FO) stage. This automation would run a query to download FOs with pending appointment schedules, then review each FO and its stages to validate if the company's client was within scope and could be scheduled. If the robot validated that the company's client was within scope, the robot would schedule an appointment, go to SAP and note the confirmation.
Automating the appointment entry process resulted in more than 11,000 manual work hours saved and more than $200,000* in savings per year.
Automating lumper fee charge validation
The client's transportation business unit team utilizes lumpers - third-party workers that help load or unload the trailer contents - a common practice inside the industry. Drivers pay for the lumpers, and then the company reimburses them the lumper fees. The company was processing 5,500 lumper fee reimbursement requests per month, taking up to 5 minutes of turnaround time per request.
The goal of handing this task over to robots was to enable quicker fee reimbursement reviews, better tracking, more effective monitoring of lumper fee requests, and giving them "touch" or "no-touch" directions. The client was saving more than 4,300 hours per year by taking the manual work out of the process.
Taking control of late delivery notifications
As with any large company that ships its products across the USA, late deliveries and delays are unavoidable in some instances. The client was no exception to this scenario. The company was manually processing more than 21,000 late delivery notification responses per year, resulting in more than 1,400 hours per year of manual work invested. By automating this process, the world's largest pork processor intended to send notifications of late or potentially late deliveries promptly. The robot would track and trace reports, review each Freight Order (FO), identify which FOs arrived on time, which FOs were delayed, and send a notification according to the FO status.
The client saved more than 8,000 hours per year by putting automation in place for late delivery notifications, with RPA yielding up to $250,000* in savings.
Faster, better sales
Another top automation candidate that JOLT took to production was sales order creation. The company was manually creating more than 4,000 standard sales orders per month, which amounted to 48,000 manual labor hours per year. Sales order creation qualified as a top candidate for automation within the company because it relied on manual labor, structured data input requirements, and rule-based nature. This process's automation goal was to promptly create new orders inside SAP once the client received a customer's order.
The robot would search a specific inbox, and then it would extract the order data contained inside the email and validate that it met the appropriate format and requirements. If the format were not the correct one, the robot would not add the item to the work queue, and if the data did not meet the requirements, the robot would move the email to a specific folder and send a notification to a relevant staff member.
If the robot generated a new order inside SAP, a notification would be sent with the order number and details to the customer and relevant staff members. But if the robot failed at successfully creating an order, an exception would be generated for a human to take over.
This process's automation saved Smithfield around 2,000 man-hours per year and yielded cost savings of up to $168,000* per year.
*projected savings based on a $30/hr wage