Retailer Automates their Labour-Intensive, Error Prone Purchase Order Process Using RPA

Solution overview




Automation (RPA)


Automation Anywhere


The client is a leading retailer


South Africa


An automated solution that would increase the speed of the purchase order capturing process, reduce the amount of manual, error-prone processing of purchase orders and cut down on operational costs wherever possible.

This leading retailer saved hundreds of staff hours per week and reduced operational costs by automating their labour-intensive, error prone Purchase Order Process using Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

The challenge

In order to achieve their goal of expanding their store base in South Africa to 900 in the long term, consideration must be taken with regards to increasing the efficiency of some of their backend financial processes. One of these processes identified was their purchase order upload process as something that was labour-intensive and in need of automation.

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Performing the process required a group of six Administrators manually retrieving purchase orders (POs) from email attachments and uploading them into their SAP FI platform. The company deals with approximately 270 POs per day and each extraction and upload took six to ten minutes. This equated to between 27- and 45-man hours per day that was hindering their ability to scale.

In addition to the time lost, this manual process was error-prone, with the administrators having to copy the information across from one system to another. It was also not scalable and caused additional operating costs when the wrong products were purchased due to the errors.

The solution

The company understood that Robotic Process Automation could unlock return on investment by reducing costs and improving operational efficiency within their business. The Decision Inc. team utilised their skills and expertise with RPA technology to deploy an RPA solution using the Automation Anywhere RPA technology platform.

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Introducing a “Purchase Order Processing Bot” meant that the finance department could leverage great benefits from the bot, such as:

  • Managing high transaction volumes automatically
  • Seamlessly automating user interactions with systems interfaces
  • Paving a way for enabling business process owners to instill process re-engineering
  • Gaining true insights into the business process by understanding business exceptions, non-standardised areas in the process and application exceptions that result from executing the automated process.


Bot Pic

The bot was built to be able to open a purchase requisition received via email submission, validating and transforming the data into a ready state for capturing into SAP, and finally, automatically capturing the data into SAP in order to complete the creation of the purchase order transaction.

The Benefits and value realised

Since implementation, the retailer has now been able to meet its Purchase Order Service Level Agreements. They have a quicker turnaround time processing purchase orders and have saved operational costs by not ordering stock in error. In addition, they can now manage high volumes of POs with a process that can scale with the business. The RPA Solution has freed up staff to perform more cognitive intensive tasks and thus creating further improvements to their finance workflow innovation. They can confidently expand its footprint knowing that its PO process will no longer be a bottleneck to this growth.

To find out more about automating your finance processes  click here.

About Decision Inc.

Decision Inc. is a global digital partner that enables businesses to reinvent themselves to realise their full potential.

We deliver agility, resilience, and intelligence to any enterprise, enabling them to adapt quickly and thrive through innovation and opportunity. Our teams have engaged with more than 400 clients globally over the past 15 years, providing them with the expertise to build, operate, and optimise their digital businesses.

We achieve this by leveraging the world’s best technology to drive our client’s business ambitions forward into tomorrow’s reality.

Our success is ultimately driven by our entrepreneurial culture, industry exposure, and the passion of our people. We have three key cross-functional teams – Functional and Specialist Consulting, Development, and Engineering teams. Based in four global offices, our exceptional consultants focus on delivering value to clients by keeping them at the centre of our service delivery.


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