Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd is jointly owned by two New Zealand grocery and liquor retailers’ cooperatives, Foodstuffs North Island Limited and Foodstuffs South Island Limited. Together, the two cooperatives collectively control an estimated 53% of the New Zealand grocery market. Here is the story of how New Zealand’s biggest grocery distributor leveraged RPA to keep on providing high-quality service and value to its customers.
Foodstuffs selected UiPath as its robotic process automation (RPA) partner. The benefits included streamlining processes, saving time, and ultimately bettering the lives of its employees through reliable, efficient, and supportable automation technology.
Foodstuffs started thinking about automation when it did some analysis to see the regularity of bank statements being loaded on its SAP system. The team found out that if a statement wasn’t uploaded, downstream activity (for example office admin tasks like applying payments to customer accounts) couldn’t be done. For the smaller stores in the family of Foodstuffs NZ, remembering to upload a bank statement every single day just became a bit of a hassle. Not every store would do it daily but instead, do it once a week or once a fortnight. Before RPA implementation, loading the bank statements to SAP was done by up to 200 people that took about three minutes per statement to load.
Once Foodstuffs automated the process via UiPath robots, the automated process was done daily and scaled across 200 stores – this saw a significant impact. Between April 1, 2019, and March 31, 2020, around 9,000 hours were given back to the business to be used for other tasks. The tool also runs consistently whether someone is on leave or away from work – the bank statements still get uploaded.
When looking at the benefits we’ve seen since working with UiPath, we talk about hours displaced rather than the time saved. This is because generally speaking when we’ve automated a task we haven’t taken a job away from someone. We’ve freed them up to do something more meaningful.
Tim Paton, Finance Automation Lead, Foodstuffs North Island Limited