Wilhelmsen insights

Data automation to deliver greater customer experience

The journey to an ideal world of efficiency begins with small steps. Wilhelmsen Ship Management (WSM)’s incremental step towards operational efficiency through data automation.
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Wilhelmsen insights |
Daniel Reinsborg , Vice President - Finance

Operational efficiency is the fundamental pillar of our business strategy. We are fanatics in looking for ways on how we can work better and efficiently utilizing available technology to deliver more value to our customers. Even with incremental actions, we believe every initiative can contribute to a bigger picture of betterment.

One of the key bottlenecks to achieve operational efficiency is the repetitive data entry processes one has to perform due to system data interconnectivity issues. In an ideal world, all systems data should be interconnected. But we are not living in an ideal world. 

Incremental changes are needed to bridge the gap between the idea and ideal world. For this, we embarked on Robotic Processing Automation (RPA). RPA is a technology that can automate daily recurring tasks. By implementing this technology, we can reduce employees' time spent on routine manual processes and allow them to focus on creative, knowledge-based and strategy-based assignments. 

It was high in our agenda to conduct knowledge transfer from the consultants that were brought in at initial stage to our employees. We believe the foundation to any successful project is providing employees engagement opportunities in projects that the company is spearheading. 

Another very important criteria in this automation exercise was to recognize employees’ fear of being replaced. During infancy stage of the project, we spent considerable time emphasizing that the project is an opportunity for employees to upgrade their skills by focusing on more high value task. 

It was a great learning curve for us. Using an agile implementation plan, the pilot phase kicked off by automating of a few key processes through the assistance of a single bot. We have learnt that a successful automation process relies on strong governance and consistency in operations. 

The criteria of processes that were chosen for RPA as below: 

  1. Task/Process which are executed frequently and in large volume
  2. Structured and digital data is available
  3. The task/process can be broken down into unambiguous rules
  4. Task/Process which require limited/minimal exception handling
  5. Task/Process which is prone to human error
  6. Task/Process which (once started) requires limited human intervention
  7. Task/Process which requires access to multiple systems

 

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With the successful implementation of RPA, we saw improvements in data flow and quality. We are continuously working to deliver more data automation projects.

Our quest for efficiency does not end here, we are continuously researching all available means for process automation and enhancement.

Daniel Reinsborg, Vice President - Finance, WSM

With greater efficiency gained, we look forward to delivering greater value to our customer experience.

“This has been a very exciting time for us and everyone was very committed to the project. The team quickly realized the potential benefits a bot would bring to their daily tasks and were extremely generous in contributing their time and effort into making sure the bot’s efforts were maximized," RPA Project Supervisor and Senior Vessel Accounts Manager in WSM, Eg Voon Sang.

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