As all facets of life and business are affected by COVID-19, some of these impacts are going to be longterm. The current pandemic has affected hospitality, airlines, manufacturing, supply chains, and many other industries which will have a cascading effect on people and the business. While the world looks for a better way to sustain during this pandemic, businesses around the world are transforming themselves to continue their operations amid lockdowns and workforce limitations. With expanding the supply and demand gap, businesses must make changes the way they do business to mitigate the crisis.
Amidst these transformative times, companies across industries are moving towards the digital workforce faster than ever before. However, in the labor-intensive industries are largely suffering from a reduced workforce leading to low production levels. Combined with spiking demand and labor limitations, quality control will suffer. The potential economic fallout of COVID-19 could include recessions in the US, Euro-area, and Japan, the slowest growth on record in China, and a total of USD 2.7 trillion in lost output. As the major markets across the globe are falling to imminent recessions, this complicates the problem as manufacturers need to attain a lower cost to be able to achieve sales.
Navigating through these challenges, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is emerging as a solution to achieve sustainability for businesses at times like this. Its successful implementation across various sectors during COVID-19 has embarked on the upsurge in its future demands undeniably.
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The impact of RPA is far-reaching in multiple sectors, especially in industries that are playing a critical role in fighting the current pandemic.
RPA has immense impact across the value chain of the health care industry, be it: testing, diagnosis, monitoring or treatment. RPA programs can take the patient’s test records and document them in the hospital’s electronic medical records while sharing the record with the health department. Such processes without any manual interventions accelerate the testing and monitoring capabilities of the hospital but also the government to monitor the crisis. Hospitals can automate their order fulfillment during the surge in demand and health screening with bots measuring the temperature to attain operational efficiency.
As the healthcare sector is at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, operational efficiency is crucial for hospitals. The healthcare staff are exposed to the patients and facing the highest risks of contamination, automating some of the repetitive processes will reduce the exposure and the risk.
With the major markets are currently under lockdown, the retail sales have been all-time low. As several countries have limited retail to essential goods, there has been a sudden surge in demand for these goods. While the retailers are struggling to manage their inventory, delivery services have also been affected by a reduced number of workers. These challenges are inspiring retailers to automate order handling and inventory management.
The brick and motor retail players are betting on self-checkout terminals, shelf-scanning robots while e-retailers are experimenting in using drones and robots for deliveries. These disruptive innovations in RPA may change the way the world sells goods, outlasting the current pandemic.
RPA automates the intake and processing of documents submitted by customers, which are then automatically verified, along with KYC norms and approved/rejected automatically. Such document processing and verification functions in financial services are helping businesses to accelerate service delivery. In fact, the automation in financial services reduces the risk for the companies further, as these programs perform functions based on consumer’s historical data.
Travel and Hospitality:
COVID-19 has led to wide-scale flight cancellations, rescheduling, etc. Flight operators are leveraging RPA to help customers self-manage the same – including rebooking, refund, cancellation, personalized alternatives, etc. Airlines are using RPA to automatically assign flying crew for the restricted flights which are plying especially for domestic travel. While the threat of COVID-19 continues to affect demand, in order to create a safe flight in the future, Airports can deploy RPA programs. These programs can scan the travel history of travelers, find if they visited any infected places, and augment that by tracking individuals with fever. These programs can act as one of the security tools for safeguard passengers, creating confidence among travelers to fly in a post-pandemic future.
Among various sectors, the manufacturing sector has been proactively adopting RPA. With 85% of the RPA market still untapped, the current challenges are encouraged all businesses to dive into automation. From supply chain to assembly lines, the major manufacturing sector has been embracing this transformation for the past few years, while small and medium scale manufacturers are slowly shifting their key processes to RPA, starting from hiring and managing laborforce.
These are exceptional times, unprecedented times and the promise that RPA/Automation holds for companies across industries is undeniable. Today, several new use cases have emerged and as the situation unfolds, where it is expected to worsen before it gets better, RPA/Automation adoption will further intensify and more such disruptive use cases will come to the fore.
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