Capgemini and Airbus – making a success of RPA

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The success of three end-to-end RPA pilot projects implemented by Capgemini has led to the creation of the Airbus Center of Excellence as part of the organization’s target operating model.

Late last year, the research group HFS published its list of the Top 10 robotic process automation (RPA) service providers in 2018. Providers were ranked overall across key execution deliverables, innovation, sustainability, and “voice of the customer” criteria. Their strengths and capabilities were assessed across the RPA services value chain, and the depth of their experience with the leading RPA software technologies was considered.

In short, with the publication of this report, significant results could be said to be in – and I’m delighted to say that Capgemini was adjudged to rank among the highest RPA providers in the world.

It’s partly the breadth of the report’s terms of reference that made this judgment so important for us. It has corroborated our fundamental thinking, which is that the automation of processes is best addressed not in a piecemeal fashion, but as part of a holistic approach, recognizing their place in the way the organization works so as to maximize their impact and increase their contribution to the enterprise-wide value chain.

Indeed, at Capgemini, we see RPA as part of a broader approach that we call Intelligent Process Automation. Artificial intelligence (AI) and smart analytics are used to boost robotic processing performance and create augmented workforce solutions, so team members can make more valuable use of their time.

Business process improvement…

There are some good illustrations of this holistic principle. For example, we’ve been working closely with Airbus for the last 24 months on a program of business process improvement, looking specifically at the application of RPA to the manufacturer’s supply activity.

As part of this, since March 2018 we’ve been working together on three pilot projects. The first of these focuses on electronic data interchange (EDI), streamlining collaboration between Airbus and its suppliers and specifically automating the generation of purchase orders dependent on delivery dates and quantities.

The second project analyzes exceptions in manufacturing resource planning (MRP), and automatically prioritizes anomalies. Each time the process runs, the system identifies discrepancies between order plans and calculated submissions: so, for example, if a project for which resources have been planned is postponed, and yet the purchase order has already been raised, the system will flag this, and note it against the purchase order for attention.

The third project checks for data consistency in flows of materials between Airbus’s different entities.

For the first few months, all three projects were monitored at the desktop level, and since November they have been running from the server (with 98.5%, 98%,  and 82% successfully processed items, respectively). All of them have been evaluated as sufficient success for RPA in terms of structured development and for the program to be scaled to become an Airbus Centre of Excellence. What’s more, Airbus is convinced that an external services provider should be involved to establish target operating model and sustain an end-to-end approach

… and enterprise-wide digital transformation

In June this year, we took things further with Airbus, when we signed an agreement to develop and propose the Skywise platform’s data services to airlines. This new agreement forms part of the digital transformation of the aviation sector as a whole, including its entire ecosystem. It enables airlines and other aeronautics organizations to store, manage and analyze their data more efficiently, thereby making it possible to manage a fleet of aircraft over its entire lifespan, integrating all of its operations and maintenance. Capgemini will be supporting Airbus as a data and digital transformation partner, and has been active in Skywise developments since the platform was first developed.

The overall goal has been to maintain Airbus’s momentum in digital transformation, and specifically to increase productivity by reducing engagement in low-level procurement activities so as to focus on areas delivering a higher value for the organization and greater satisfaction for employees.

Everything is connected

Of course, it’s always gratifying to receive the endorsement of an independent arbiter such as HFS. But it’s even more heartening to know that the approach to which we’re committed, and the manner in which we execute it, are eliciting such warm enthusiasm from the organizations we serve.

The supply chain projects and the Skywise development we are conducting at Airbus are consistent with the Digital Global Enterprise Model – D-GEM – that we announced last year; and D-GEM, in turn, is founded on the principle that everything is connected.

When we recognize this and turn it to our advantage, the benefits can be scalable, sustainable – and substantial.

This article is co-authored by Pierre Ladoux.

To learn more about how Capgemini’s Intelligent Process Automation  offering can stimulate the erosion of organizational silos around your front, middle and back-office processes, resulting in the emergence of a new, borderless, highly automated client-centric organization, contact: adam.bujak@capgemini.com or pierre.ladoux@capgemini.com

Dr. Adam Bujak is an expert in intelligent automation, business process transformation and strategic management. He heads Capgemini’s Business Services’ Intelligent Automation Practice, helping multinational clients to embrace the future of an augmented workforce in the front, middle, and back office.

Pierre Ladoux is a supply chain and aeronautical expert. As part of the PBS-FIT practices, he leads the Supply Chain Efficiency offer and steers a pluri-annual contract for Airbus Procurement Operation dealing with transforming Airbus Supply-Chain to meet industrial ramp-up ambitions.

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