Eastman rolling out IQ bot for increased efficiency at worldwide plants
Eastman, headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee, is a global specialty materials company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With 14,500 employees around the world, the multi-billion-dollar business serves customers in more than 100 countries.
Wanting to reduce and remove non-value adding work, Eastman looked to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) as a solution. Automation would enable customer service representatives to reduce the number of manual hours it would take to input data into purchase orders. Implementing a bot to do the work also prevented errors and the need for any rework.
Projected hours saved annually
"How optical character recognition (OCR) can be integrated with automation has a lot of people excited about the value of RPA."
Mark Waugh, Automation Central Manager
Prior to automation, Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) would take order documents and manually enter them into SAP. Hundreds of CSRs globally were required to process the high volume of daily orders.
Eastman implemented an IQ Bot pilot program because the technology integrated well with the other Automation Anywhere applications it was already using. Using IQ Bot because it supported multiple languages and had the capability to read multiple, multi-page documents and tables in purchase orders, the company is currently working on a phased rollout for each one of its plants.
THE WHOLE STORY
Two bots, an order retriever IQ bot and an order translation bot, now process each purchase order that comes in. When a customer e-mails in an order, a CSR no longer has to input the PDF data manually into SAP. Instead, they simply forward the e-mail to a bot e-mail which triggers the process for the bot to retrieve all the pertinent order details from the PDF. The bot then puts the data into an Excel document and sends it on to the order translation bot, which then fills out the information in SAP, creating a sales order.
During this pilot stage, Eastman has trained IQ Bot to recognize four different layouts it’s using for different customers. One of the more complex patterns requires the newest version of IQ Bot, which the company is looking into purchasing.
While the IQ Bot pilot was specific to North America, Eastman is also looking to expand the program to its other worldwide plants. As the company continues its global RPA rollout, it hopes one day, order processing will not need any human intervention from start to finish.
"The success of the pilot has been the best way of communicating the possibilities of IQ Bot."
— Mark Waugh, Automation Central Manager
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