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RPA Projects at Levi’s

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Founded in May 1853, Levi Strauss & Co. is an American clothing company known worldwide for its Levi’s brand of denim jeans. The company’s corporate headquarters is located in Levi’s Plaza in San Francisco.

As part of a broader digital transformation effort, Levi Strauss & Co. is developing RPA capabilities.

“For a company to truly transform digitally, we must approach it from all angles: top-down and bottom-up. We’re ensuring teams across functions have the tools and services they need to work in a digital-first mindset. We are seeing not only an immediate reduction in operational costs but also increased employee satisfaction as teams can focus on higher-value activities. While RPA is common among tech and digital-native companies, it’s just beginning in the retail industry.”

Harmit Singh, CFO, Levi’s

The First Automation Project

One of the first bots completely digitized how Levi’s invoices wholesale partners. Before February 2021, teams in New Zealand and Australia would download and email monthly statements to the company’s roughly 700 retail partners in the region. Downloading and attaching each individual PDF statement took days to finish.

Since deploying an RPA bot that automates the entire wholesale invoicing process, while also improving invoice tracking management, in 2021, Levi’s has saved nearly 500 hours of manual work. What took a human more than 5 minutes to do from start to finish now takes 20 seconds with an automated bot.

The Second Automation Project

For the second RPA project, Levi’s assisted merchandise coordinators (MCs) in the U.S. and Canada to turn what took multiple days and hours of work spread across roughly five people into one automated bot. To ensure stores had the current season’s products in their systems, MCs had to enter more than 4,000 product codes manually. The process was slow and prone to human errors.

After the bot was deployed, it saved nearly 750 hours. With the time saved from this manual data-entry task, MCs are spending more time building other skills.

Future Plans

Levi’s has developed a pipeline of roughly 50 new bots to be deployed during 2022 alone, which is predicted to save employees more than 20,000 hours a year. One new bot set to roll out during 2022 is the Purchase Order (PO) Closure Bot, which will be able to automate and scale the amount of POs the finance organization can close out on time.

Traditionally, the finance team has set aside time at the end of each year to sift through thousands of POs that haven’t been closed. The process is tedious, typically involving multiple emails between internal teams and/or vendors until a positive confirmation to close out the PO is received. Open POs can cause issues across the organization and impact the company’s ability to have an accurate understanding of budgeting and finances overall.

The PO Closure Bot will fully automate the process, handling all correspondence and closing out a PO once addressed. As a result, the team will be able to reconcile their POs quarterly instead of annually, scale with growth spikes in POs, and gain time for other projects.

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