The clothing company has set the ambitious goal of saving 20,000 hours of manual work for employees across the organization by introducing robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities into its operational processes. The smart-bots being deployed are meant to take care of some of the more burdensome and labor-intensive tasks across Levi’s business and retail operations, freeing up both frontline and back office staff to focus on more frontal-lobe driven procedures like analytics and other judgment based work.
To do so, Levi’s is creating a Robotic Process Automation Center of Excellence (RPA COE) team which has been tasked with identifying potential areas for automation and legacy operations where efficiency could be improved and streamlined through the application of next-generation artificial intelligence technologies. The retailer plans to introduce up to 50 new bots in 2022 alone, all geared toward slashing employee man-hours and simplifying tasks.
One of the new bots being rolled out is a Purchase Order Closure bot, designed to automate and scale the purchase orders Levi’s finance team is able to close out. Traditionally a bit of a tedious process that requires sifting manually through thousands of open purchase orders, the bot will be able to handle all correspondence itself and close out the addressed purchase orders in a timely manner, saving time for both Levi’s internal teams and the retailer’s external vendors. This bot-based application will create a more accurate understanding of budgeting and finances overall for the company, empowering the finance team to reconcile purchase orders on a quarterly basis rather than annually, and gain more time for other, relevant projects.
Another bot, geared toward Levi’s merchandise coordinators, is replacing the efforts of five team members by automating the entry of more than 4,000 product codes into the retailer’s store systems and saving more than 750 hours of manual work. The company’s Oceania-based teams in New Zealand and Australia are also enjoying the seamless efficiencies of a bot which is able to invoice wholesale partners in just 20 seconds, down from the five minutes it used to take for employees – who used to have to block of entire days of the month to handle emailing the statements.
By leveraging bot technology to mimic employee workflows and pinpointing solutions for simplifying tasks the retailer is ensuring its teams across functions have the tools and services they need to work and thrive within a digital-first environment. The company is already seeing a reduction in “heavy lift” tasks across its operations, including a reduction in costs as well as increased employee productivity and satisfaction as team members are freed from the mundane to focus on higher-value, more rewarding activities.
This article originally appeared in the PSFK iQ research report, AI Enhanced Customer Service.