With RPA, Quad/Graphics benefits from $10M increased daily cash flow
Quad/Graphics is a leading marketing solutions provider. The Company leverages its strong print foundation as part of a much larger, robust integrated marketing platform that helps marketers and content creators improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their marketing spend across offline and online media channels.
To succeed in a highly competitive marketing services industry—an industry that is in the midst of being disrupted by digital innovation—Quad/Graphics constantly looks for opportunities to reduce waste and improve the productivity of its employees. Its continuous improvement culture is based on LEAN principles, and, inspired by media stories about what other businesses had achieved, it decided to try robotic process automation (RPA) to free up its employees for more customer-facing and value-added work.
RPA expansion planned within 12 months
Bots in production
Weeks to build first automations
"Because of the quick wins we achieved with RPA in our first pilots, word spread like wildfire throughout the business as to what RPA could do for our employees."
— Sarah Butzer, Controller, Quad/Graphics
In early 2017, Quad/Graphics engaged Ernst & Young to get “off the ground” with RPA. With a strategy to drive RPA holistically through the business in a grass-roots methodology—from the bottom up—Quad/Graphics first deployed Automation Anywhere RPA within the finance department to streamline payments processing. After experiencing considerable success, Quad / Graphics deployed RPA in more than 15 other departments.
THE WHOLE STORY
After initial successes, enthusiasm spread from department to department at Quad/Graphics as evidence mounted of what RPA could achieve. But Quad/Graphics ensured that it was making wise RPA investments. After soliciting ideas for automating manual processes from employees throughout the business, the Quad/Graphics RPA team worked with the employees to complete feasibility assessments to confirm that RPA was the right fit for a particular process challenge. Essential to the success of RPA was that the RPA team and the employees collaborated closely on this. Having a true partnership between the RPA team and employees as bots were introduced into the workforce built trust that paved the way for future successes.
Quad/Graphics reached its goal of freeing up employees to do more valuable tasks. For example, Quad/Graphics billing professionals now generate customer invoices instead of manually generating the necessary 10 billing reports required for each invoiced job. This reduced the collection time and led to a dramatic increase in cash flow—$10 million per day. Additionally, because all billing reports are automatically generated by bots at night, human workers are much more efficient. As RPA spreads throughout the organization, it is liberating employees to focus on analytical tasks rather than routine repetitive ones.
Because Quad/Graphics is ahead of its time when it comes to RPA, many companies are coming to them for advice—particularly how it started small and built a successful automation transformation from the bottom up. Quad/Graphics is very focused on governance, which includes change control, appropriate user provisioning and access controls, as well as back-up and recovery methodology. Today Quad/ Graphics is positioned to grow RPA more than 200% in 2018 and to reap the high ROI that will accompany that.
"Our RPA program proved to be successful based on our communication plan, the organizational structure of the team, as well as the procedures we implemented to assess processes to be automated."
— Sarah Butzer, Controller
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