The Leader Magazine

DEC 2018

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14 December 2018 the lea D er F E A T U R E A R T I C L E by Jane Muir-Sands, Mark Vowles and Kuldeep Sankhala A t Unilever, Workplace and Travel Services (WTS) is responsible for managing the company's global real estate portfolio, plus Facilities Management Services, Travel Services and Safety & Security in all offices. That covers more than 161,000 Unilever employees spread over about 100 countries worldwide and over 700 properties, including offices, corporate centers, research and development sites, and factories, all covering a gross area of nearly 5 million square feet (464,515 sq. m.). WTS also manages all travel and fleet for Unilever globally. Innovation and continuous improvement have always been central to the way WTS drives better employee experience and value for the business, increasing the efficiency and quality of the end-to-end services and processes it manages. Over the last year, recognizing the opportunity to improve operational excellence, innovation and world-class cost management, WTS set a strategy for transformation, focusing on lean process management (LPM), robotic process automation (RPA) and new digital technologies and analytics. WTS is leveraging the new capabilities Unilever has now established in automation, information & analytics and digital, and is one of the first corporate real estate (CRE) organizations to deploy RPA. Following is how WTS is deploying automation to change the way things and people work within the organization. a utomation: an overview Lean process management and automation is about improving processes to reduce costs and to improve reliability and the customer experience. For example, any organization that uses labour on a large scale for general process work (where people are performing high-volume, highly transactional process functions) can boost its capabilities and save money and time with RPA software. While LPM focuses on optimizing the process itself and reducing waste, automation is about performing processes with the use of software programs called bots. The bots mimic the behavior of humans, but at a much faster speed. For example, a bot can log into an IT system, run a report, and extract the report to a spreadsheet, following the exact steps that a human being would perform. In the context of WTS, the opportunity to deploy lean and automation is significant, given the volume of routine manual processes that are currently managed globally by the team across real estate, facilities management, and travel and fleet, all processes that currently expend significant effort and investment. To put RPA into context, a manual, repetitive process WTS was managing and that took more than eight hours to complete is now done by RPA in less than one hour – taking away the manual intervention and the running of multiple sub-tasks simultaneously. a working example As an illustration, WTS recently automated a process for updating site-access rights. Initially, a set of users were manually granted access to all Enterprise Physical Security sites so that their access cards worked on all sites without the users having to self-activate. This was a monthly manual process; employees were identified based on updated "joiner, mover, leaver" reports and were then granted access by the team. The process has now been automated. Now, bots automatically identify users who need to be granted access, go into the system to set appropriate access levels, and send out a notification once the task is completed. WTS is now exploring other robotics opportunities across real estate transaction administration, energy data migration and entry, purchase order management, financial Robotic process automation: Unilever's key to transforming workplace services Enable Badge Access to GPASS Sites Login to One View Portal Send Status Report Identify work level, work location and map against GPAS Sites Download Joiners, Movers and Leavers Report 01 D o 02 03 04 05 06 Login to Access enabling systems Figure 1: Onboarding automation example

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