By Ram Chatty, Global Head of Digital Solutions, Banking and Capital Markets, Genpact
As we adjust to the new normal, entire business models and value chains are changing. Automation presents a tremendous opportunity to contribute to the company’s overall business transformation goal. Companies today are using automation and digital technologies within their operations to uncover new ways of enhancing business performance. Genpact recently engaged with Element, the largest pure-play automotive fleet manager in the world, to automate its operations to deliver fleet management and financing solutions at speed and scale.
Enterprises that rely on large numbers of vehicles to meet stakeholder needs often outsource to fleet management companies. It is a difficult, complex job. The physical logistics are demanding – think maintenance and fuel management. But there is also a ton of back-end administration that is just as critical – such as vehicle acquisition, financing, and scheduling.
Element, was juggling all of that – managing more than one million vehicles over the entire vehicle lifecycle for a range of clients across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. The company had also acquired and integrated several fleet management providers over the last seven years, resulting in inconsistent systems and processes. As a result, Element relied on its employees to perform repetitive, high-volume, manual work, resulting in inefficiencies. The impact was felt in several ways, not least on the client experience.
Under the leadership of its new CEO, Element undertook a business transformation strategy that promised to deliver a consistent, superior client experience and USD $144 million of run-rate profit improvement by the end of the two-and-a-half-year program. To help achieve its goals, the company needed to unlock better ways of working. It examined its operations to see what was working well and uncover opportunities for automation.
Element already had some experience with robotic process automation. A single employee had implemented around two dozen bots on the Automation Anywhere platform. These bots were automating individual processes for billing and solution delivery across Element’s full vehicle lifecycle. Because the underlying technology was advancing so rapidly, the company needed to migrate these bots to a newer, better version of the same software platform before the old version became obsolete.
Element engaged Genpact to run the migration project. We quickly determined that the challenge was broader than just a ‘lift and shift’ of the existing bots to the latest technology platform. First and foremost, Element needed to elevate its automation efforts from grassroots-led to management-supported.
Drive automation at speed and scale
It was clear that Element needed guidance on orchestration and governance; standardized, centralized processes for enterprise-level automation; and a scalable operating model that would allow it to identify and roll out best practices across all its geographies.
The solution – A center of excellence for automation
Immediately, we began migrating the 28 existing bots – both from the old version of Automation Anywhere to the latest version, and from the standalone desktops on which they had been running to a control room with separate environments for development, testing, and production, and scheduled backups to enable recovery.
Within just two and a half months, we had completed the job – two weeks ahead of schedule. We then set about supporting these bots, running, and enhancing each one. Element quickly recognized that Genpact had the industry, process, and digital expertise to deliver automation across the company.
Genpact assisted Element with internal roadshows to showcase the benefits of automation and get the company’s creative juices flowing. Multiple service lines came forward to ask for automation in areas where manual processes were creating bottlenecks for their departments.
Element then asked Genpact to develop new bots too – at a rate of five times the original effort – to automate individual processes across collections, core operations, telematics, and human resources. For example, one of the new bots would schedule the delivery of preventative maintenance notices to Element’s clients and their drivers so fewer vehicles would end up breaking down. Another would ensure that important vehicle information, such as copies of vehicle registrations, was saved and stored in critical systems.
The increased number of bots only underscored the need for centralized control – with one team, one process, and one methodology that could operate in a cost-effective, reliable, and scalable way.
So, Genpact partnered with Element to set up an automation center of excellence (CoE). The CoE would deliver automation at speed and scale. It would also drive enterprise-wide adoption, educating the organization and developing a culture of continuous improvement.
Genpact helped Element develop a hybrid workforce where machines and people work together to improve experiences for employees and clients.
In the first nine months alone, the bots successfully processed over 1.3 million transactions, sparing Element employees over 44,000 work hours.
Some of these bots delivered net new revenue to the business. For example, Element launched a program to help its clients manage toll payments and process tickets. To activate the service, Element first had to load each contract into its system – a time-consuming process. We built a bot that automated the process, speeding up service delivery by approximately two months and enabling Element to better support its clients and earn critical revenue sooner.
The bots’ uptime of 100% ensures uninterrupted service to clients and more time for value-add work for Element employees, which boosts employee morale. Most importantly, Element’s CoE has delivered a step-change in operations, driving the company’s efficiency and effectiveness – two key metrics on its balanced scorecard – and helping it to exceed its transformation goal USD $144 million of run-rate profit improvement within two years.
Today, Element is ready to take things to the next level: automating whole, end-to-end processes rather than just individual transactions, adding dynamic workflows to ensure employees and bots can work together in harmony on those processes, and exploring the possibilities of intelligent automation, with conversational AI to talk to clients and machine learning to unlock intelligent recommendations.
Automation delivers better ways of working, seamless experiences, happier clients, and revenue growth – and now Element is enjoying it all.