Dot Foods Automates Using Blue Prism RPA
Based in Mt Sterling, IL, Dot Foods is the largest foodservice redistribution company in North America. Dot offers over 134,000 products from 1,000 food industry manufacturers. Dot consolidates those products and delivers in less-than-truckload quantities to distributors nationwide on a weekly basis. By nature of their business, Dot has to be efficient to best serve their customers.
In 2020, inspired by the global pandemic, Dot Foods started evaluating what steps they might take to become more efficient.
Dot project leads identified a repetitive task that would easily be automated using robotic process automation. On a regular basis, Dot employees go to a supplier’s website to download invoices. From what they had been hearing about RPA, this seemed like a great project to tackle. This open door came with help from Blue Prism digital workers.
Dot decided that by automating this particular invoice download process, they could reduce the manual effort required to perform the weekly process. They thought that with a successful implementation, this project could serve as an example for how they could automate similar processes that require web downloads. Dot has always been a progressive organization that looks for innovative solutions to challenges; particularly those that can be leveraged in different areas across their organization.
Project leads teamed with KeyMark to put a functional specification of the project in writing so they could see if their automation assumption was plausible. Once their theory was proven, Dot had KeyMark implement a Blue Prism production and development environment – a tangible first step from what was once just an exciting idea.
Things moved quickly from there. KeyMark’s RPA team helped the Dot developers become Blue Prism developers, the actual automation itself was built, and not long after, the first digital worker started downloading invoices!
Today, Blue Prism automations are being built at a rapid pace. Dot Foods developers have actually built out 7 additional automated processes using additional supplier sites.
Now that these automations have proven themselves, RPA is expanding rapidly within Dot Foods. They have even hired an additional developer to help them identify and tackle further workload for RPA.
“Blue Prism RPA is saving time for our current staff so they can focus on priority issues,” said Greg Spohr, Business Systems Development Manager for Dot Foods. “In terms of future hires, because some of our tedious tasks can now be automated with digital workers, we are considering different roles and new skill sets that might have an even deeper impact on our business.”
Speaking of future plans, Dot Foods has plenty.
“Our plans are to leverage RPA to lower current costs and maintain costs as our business grows,” commented Daphne Ingles, Director of Credit for Dot Foods. “We are on track to have saved 2.5 full time equivalents by end of 2021, since beginning our journey in late 2020. Even more so now, we believe there will be an increased war on talent. A bot can work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; completing tasks that might otherwise be unfulfilling to others.”
According to Spohr, Dot has focused on Accounts Receivable up to this point, but he says “we are beginning to see interest in other areas of the business to automate manual tasks.” Spohr believes there is value to IT internally to automate such initiatives as onboarding new hires, account setups and removal for given packages.
Probably most importantly, they have created a “Back Office Automation Committee” that is helping to identify manual tasks and build out a pipeline of future automations. This will certainly help to prove their investment in RPA technology for years to come.
Concluded Ingles, “RPA will be a strategic initiative for us in the back-office and throughout our business moving forward.”