DLA Continues to Gain Efficiencies via RPA Technology
RPA supports DLA acquisition and much more
RPA has proven particularly useful during the pandemic. The DLA acquisition team is currently receiving hundreds of notifications about so-called “Post-Award Requests”, ie electronic requests for administrative actions or information about an order.
This includes supplier notes, comments, and other information that needs to be reported to supply chain managers for review and then made available to contract support staff.
“If you manually collect all of that stuff in the volumes that you see under a pandemic, you can’t get there from here, but the bots actually make it possible,” says Wood. “It’s a bot doing this type of workflow that has helped fill the void and ensure delivery despite the peaks.”
DLA launched its RPA program in April 2018, and in the three or more years since then, the program has come a long way, says Wood. RPA bots help with a wide variety of tasks.
This includes matching or processes to compare data from multiple systems to look for discrepancies and errors. Another is transaction processing or updating customer orders and invoices. Another aspect is compliance with regulations, e.g. RPA also helps the DLA to produce cyclical reports that need to be updated in very prescribed ways.
Additionally, RPA helps with data extraction – collects it from multiple sources, retains the data, and then takes action that adds value to the data, says Wood.
RPA also helps with audit support, says Wood, which takes place annually. “When you have information systems that touch financial systems, it’s very verifiable,” he says. “So you have to provide evidence when requested by the examiners. When things are manual, you stop your day job – which, frankly, supports our war fighters. ”RPA bots quickly capture this evidence and deliver it to examiners.
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How the DLA is developing its RPA usage
RPA is also becoming more and more complex within DLA. Now the RPA program is working with process managers to identify “boundary processes” or leading and trailing processes so that the agency can begin to “chain processes end-to-end and increase the complexity and complexity of our special automations,” says Wood.