As the aviation industry seeks to restart, RPA could be a potential game-changer, offering the opportunity to save costs, improve service and focus on higher value work
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) streamlines and automates rules-based business processes and activities bringing quality, speed, compliance and lower costs. It is also the gateway to such complex technologies as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Text Analytics.
The catastrophic effect that the coronavirus pandemic has had on aviation has really brought home the need for these qualities. The industry restart has made it clear that we are not returning to business as usual. Airport processes will change enormously, airlines will go out of business, and countries will come out of the crisis at different speeds and with different attitudes.
RPA offers significant advantages in functional areas, including Passenger Revenue Accounting (PRA), Cargo Revenue Accounting (CRA), Fare, Tax, Commission and other audit services. Without automation, domain areas such as revenue accounting, auditing and many others, present some serious challenges and become inefficient as well as less effective.
The good news is that it is relatively easy to achieve at least semi-automation in PRA, CRA and audit with the help of a company such as Hexaware, which has enormous experience working with a vast number of airlines. The company has strong RPA capabilities and a focused Intelligent Automation Center of Excellence.
Consider the headline numbers: there are cost savings of approximately 25%-40% based only on semi / partial / conditional automation. The only key additional cost is in developing the RPA bots that will perform the semi-automated functions.
Bots are capable of copying relevant data records by opening up other airline applications to find and input missing data, and for updating or approving certain processes or steps after carrying out all the relevant checks / tolerance ranges.
Going just a little bit further, Robotic Process Automation can even send pre-designed email requests to an airline, understand the response and then update the corresponding section within the PRA system.
Bots can even be developed to use smart derivation / aggregation / checks to figure out the correct data value if, for example, exchange coupon numbers are not reported properly. Documents can be compared and reissued as appropriate.
The advantages of RPA in these examples range from a reduction in manpower to faster turnaround to fewer human errors and revenue leakages. Overall, efficiency, productivity, quality of processing and revenue declarations are improved.
Importantly, it means the human effort is better utilized. This can lead to all manner of gains, including happier staff and better staff retention.
Robotic Process Automation is surely an obvious path to greater business opportunities and optimization. Arguably, it represents the best value for money in the entire technology domain for airline companies.
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Read the full analysis of the advantages of Robotic Process Automation to the aviation industry.