Founded in 1846, Bristol Water supplies 266 million liters of drinking water daily to over 1.2 million customers in an area centered on Bristol, England. It has 500 employees and is one of the first water companies to launch a Social Contract, a governance framework for engaging with and enhancing the well-being of local communities.
Looking for ways to become more efficient very often leads to the adoption of digital technologies. That’s why Bristol Water embarked on its RPA journey in 2017.
“UiPath offered a simple attended robot at an affordable rate. This allowed us to play with it and get to grips with the technology. Furthermore, we knew the UiPath Academy would allow us to train staff for free. In contrast, accreditation with other RPA vendors would have been prohibitive. As we grew, UiPath partner Tquila Automation worked with us to scale a sustainable center of excellence or a CoE as it’s known.”
Chris Thomas, Head of Business Improvement and Innovation, Bristol Water
The first automation helped with processing business invoices. There were initially around six retailers and it took about nine hours to process the related invoices each month. Using a bot enabled to cut the time to 2-3 hours a month which crucially offered resilience. There are now approximately 20 retailers yet the robot handles everything without any increase to those two to three hours of manual effort. It has allowed Bristol Water to scale without additional cost.
Another bot helped with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance. The business needed to identify and delete large amounts of data it no longer needed. This was a repetitive task that would have taken a contractor about six months to do, with lots of oversight. But the second bot built in a day managed to complete that task just in weeks. Overall, Bristol Water has now five robots running 14 processes across the business. By the end of 2021, this is expected to be 20.
- 14,000 invoices are handled by robots each year.
- The equivalent time of 6 full-time staff handed back to the business.