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RPA Making People Experts Again

Jorma Messo, Festum Software Oy.

Festum Software is a Finnish company that creates Robotic Process Automation solutions for companies. That means automatization of repetitive and monotonous tasks carried out by human workers. Software robots are not replacing people but letting them be the experts and concentrate on the work that requires thinking and intelligent decision making. Jorma Messo, Business Manager of Festum, tells us how to utilise RPA solutions in different processes with manufacturers.

Festum started to develop robots together with Scanfil, a global contract manufacturer and systems supplier. During the first development process they found out that Scanfil’s real need was automatizing purchasing. Purchasing needed to be faster and easier, and it contains tasks that could be taught to a software robot. The process included finding repetitive tasks, teaching the robot how to use the systems and perform the tasks. The selected Kofax RPA technology was based on Low Code technology and enabled fast implementation of the robot without traditional coding.

“Before Reboot IoT Factory, we had only little experiences in RPA mainly from the small-scale research we had done. Festum offered useful models how to build an environment in which RPA could be managed as part of the processes. They mapped and evaluated the potential targets for automation, formed and maintained the specifications and tailored the software”, says Sami Tervo from Scanfil.

“The project was ideal”, Jorma explains. “The work was open-minded and goal-oriented, and the technology used challenges interestingly the traditional solutions. Building trust was easy and working remotely went smoothly. Scanfil was very engaged in the project. Our company also got attention from new audiences.”

“We have only had good experiences: the standard office work is partly delegated to a robot and people have time to concentrate on more demanding tasks. The co-operation with Festum has worked well. Their experts have found solutions even to some more unusual cases”, Sami adds.

A Software Robot Goes Through Data

Festum was part of another development project as well: they worked with Nokia Oulu Factory to pilot RPA solution to material simulation. Manually performed simulation is a slow and demanding process. The amount of data is massive and there are several systems to go through. This task is strenuous to a human worker. The software robot was implemented in gathering the information and human expert comes along when it is time to analyse the data.

“Festum built the software based on existing model – how a human performs the simulation”, Jorma clarifies.

Daily material simulation creates visibility to material availability to production. This simulation is a manual process and requires high manual effort to complete. Together with Festum we have been piloting how Robotic Process Automation could be used to automate this process.

Collaboration with Festum has been working very well despite the covid situation and thus doing work mainly in remote mode. – Mika Kaivola, Nokia

Robotics from the Human Standpoint

When developing new solutions that involve robotics it is important to properly introduce the solutions to the people working in the factory. The robot is not going to replace humans. It helps to diminish the rush and unnecessary tasks. The benefits are clear: RPA helps to predict things; it enhances quality and helps controlling the processes. Humans have time and better resources to complete the analysis.

Anywhere there are repetitive tasks there are implementations for robotics. As Jorma says: “The technology is not the challenge anymore – at the start, a change in mindset to upgrade outdated work processes might be. There are right tools for every environment. RPA solutions are perfectly possible for the smaller companies as well as for the big manufacturers. The only thing that matters is data volume and the nature of tasks.

The next step of the developing industry is machine learning. Robots are connecting different technologies, industries, processes, and people. There is an exhilarating atmosphere in the field. These projects have taught us a lot of manufacturing. This is a very diverse and interesting field.”

Read more about Festum Software.

Text: Veera Kiurujoki, Design Inspis Oy

Picture: Festum Software.

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Reboot IoT Factory brings together service and solution providers, industrial leaders and top research organizations to improve the competitiveness of Finnish manufacturing industry through digitalization

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