Amber Beverage Group’s (ABG) products are found in millions of households across the globe. ABG is a leading beverage producer, distributor, logistics provider and retailer, with 600 brands spanning everything from premium vodka and sparkling wines to specialty Mexican tequila. From its headquarters in Luxembourg, ABG operates a diverse international business that includes production and distribution companies in Russia, Mexico, the UK, Austria, Australia, and the Baltics.Kryon first implemented unattended automation for Amber Beverage Group 18 months ago, streamlining key processes for its 2,000 employees. Jekaterina Stuģe, CFO and COO at ABG, recognized that the value of team members with specialized skills and industry knowledge was wasted on repetitive processes and tasks that disrupted more meaningful activity and inhibited productivity.
Eliminating Errors, Enhancing Customer Service
In the first three and a half months of our journey together, Kryon automated 10 processes, mostly working with the company’s ERP system, Outlook and Excel. That first set of automation brought immediate tangible results, including streamlining purchase order approvals to 300 per day (more than double the previous number), eliminating human errors, expediting returns that improved customer service, and freeing up employees to contribute more creatively and strategically.
We’ve come a long way together since then. Over the past 12 months, the company has scaled its RPA to 100 processes across the entire organization, from accounting, production, purchasing, and logistics to its client service center.
We sat down with Jekaterina to learn how the company’s RPA effort has evolved and the latest outcomes of the collaboration. She explained that across departments, the primary goal is to be as much effective as possible from several key perspectives: quick response, zero errors and maximum cost efficiency.
We find ABG’s focus on people and operations refreshing. Automation isn’t just about ROI and cost savings, though these are certainly significant benefits. For Amber Beverage Group, an improved customer experience and a decrease in the number of errors are equally important. Because they are typically more difficult to quantify, these outcomes may not be top of mind when considering RPA systems. Robots can make the customer service process faster and more seamless, allowing more time for customer service teams to engage with clients, which directly contributes to customer retention. These are indirect, but very valuable benefits to consumers.
As more processes have been automated, Jekaterina also appreciates Kryon’s business user-friendly approach to programming, which allows businesspeople involved with RPA processes to easily communicate with programmers. She points out that this is not the case with other solutions. “Often you need an intermediate manager to translate business process needs to the programmer. Kryon has cut out the need for this middle person, which saves time, money and logistical effort.”
She adds that once automation is up and running, people want more. “The more work robots do for you, the more you and your employees will want to automate.” But she’s careful to qualify that all employee proposals for automatization must be pragmatically reviewed. Not all processes, especially those with too many exceptions, are right for automation.
Automation Improves Working Lives
At the same time, ABG is working fast to deploy more automation, estimating at least 50 projects for implementation within the year. It’s the reason the company is testing Kryon Process Discovery to fast track the identification and description of processes for automation. “I think the biggest predictor of success in automation is clearly understanding and defining all nuances of the process you are targeting for automation.” You can request a demo here.
Automating the time- and labor-intensive process of discovering and mapping processes to automate and generating workflows, is perfectly in line with Jekaterina’s approach to business. It’s the sort of work that Kryon has enabled robots to do. Employees should concentrate on intelligence work.
For Jekaterina, it comes down to recognizing how automation will improve the working lives of employees and bringing better operational results, rather than focusing only on cost savings. “Cost benefits are a fundamental part of this equation. But centering on people and results will ensure better buy-in from colleagues and allow improvements to the overall performance of the company, often in ways you weren’t thinking about during initial implementation stage.”
Asked for a single piece of advice for companies embarking on RPA, Jekaterina’s response is simple: “Just do it. It ushers in what could be, unlocking potential you didn’t even know was there when you started.”
Want to learn more? Download the Amber Beverage Group case study. And stay tuned for results on the next wave of RPA projects.