VisBot – RPA Case Study

A division of Probity Consulting

Port of Tauranga required systems to collate, check and create PDF support documents for invoicing based on shipping line preferences.

Project name: VisBot

Client: Port of Tauranga

Location: Tauranga

Description of project:

Port of Tauranga is the busiest port in New Zealand. Each vessel in port must be invoiced for marine charges, including hatch cover removal and replacement, docking, harbour charges, garbage removal, and crew transport.

Each container on the vessel must be charged for customer-required movement, rail cost, security and power. While the operations data is handled in N4, the charges for services are handled in proprietary software built by the port. Data is emailed between the finance team and operations so the robot must open, scan, scrape and process this data. An audit trail is built by the robot for checking and review, as it runs. All incoming data is preserved in the audit folder by the robot.

Containers on-board vessels are charged to the shipping lines who own them. Charges vary by line and service, as well as by container type.

There are three systems which were used to capture, assess, and finally invoice shipping lines. Handled manually, each vessel took an average of approximately three hours to process. On robot test runs, vessels were processed successfully in 5-7 minutes each.

Timeliness of delivered services:

The initial trial robot was delivered in one calendar month. Another month was spent by the client doing UAT, with no input from Probotics. The final update took two working days to complete and install before go live. The timeframe was as predicted.

Benefits delivered:

  • Where invoicing used to take 2. 5 FTE up to three days to complete per month, the expected result of installing the robot is that it should take 1 FTE approximately half a day per month to complete.
  • Several steps used in the manual process, including a barcoding and scanning process are no longer required.
  • Staff are freed for more valuable work, confident that the robot outcomes are robust.
  • The robot integrates seamlessly between the operations system (N4), the email system (Outlook) and delivers the checked, collated PDF documents for each shipping line to the correct folder for consumption by the finance system.
  • The output is always in the same order and format, improving standardisation for each customer’s requirements.

The implementation went live in December 2017.

Deliverables:

  • Identified project risks and issues.
  • Mapped and validated “current state” and “future state” processes with client staff.
  • Meaningful error messages were embedded in the running log for the robot, supported by moving input data to successful or unsuccessful email folders for operator attention.
  • Developed test strategy, test plan and test data sets.
  • Completed testing in test and live environments.
  • Installed user documentation on client site.

The IT / Finance Manager expressed satisfaction with the outcome.

“We engaged Probotics to automate a process using their Robotic Process Automation tool – UiPath. The purpose of the bot was to collate information from various systems to support invoicing to our customers. Probotics undertook this development in a very professional manner, working well with our staff and delivering a bot that met the business requirements. It was delivered on time and to budget, and worked exceptionally well.

We would have no hesitation in engaging them to develop additional RPA solutions for our organisation.”

Simon Kebbell
IT / Finance Manager
Port of Tauranga

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