If repetitive tasks that are performed by humans can be automated, the working time expended on routine work can be cut, and the time that is freed up can be reassigned to work that only humans can do.
Tanigawa says “The Office Transformation Group in the DX Promotion Group tries out digital tools to the full for changing operation processes and creating an easier working environment.
It then introduces the good tools within the company and promotes their use”.
Conventionally, it would have been the norm to ask the IT Division to develop systems and applications for automating routine tasks, but the Office Transformation Group is promoting a change of approach, to one in which the employees of each department take the lead in development.
Actions using RPA began in the second half of 2018.
RPA software was introduced that allows people to develop robots even if they have no expert knowledge or skills.
Our first step was to spend half a year asking the whole company what kinds of operations should be replaced by RPA.
Tanigawa reveals that “at first we didn’t get a lot of answers”.
Then, in 2019, they made a companywide search to identify routine operations.
The search found around 4,000 routine operations, equivalent to around 24,000 hours of work.
That triggered a rapid acceleration of action, and now every department is developing robots tailored to its own operations, to advance its improvements.
“Such operations were particularly numerous in the Production and Procurement Headquarters, and by March 2022 we’d developed 104 robots that had saved 1,279 hours in improvements.
That was amazing progress in RPA use” (Tanigawa).
The introduction of Microsoft’s Office 365 business software began in 2018.
To make effective use of the various tools included in Office 365, they first thought of using Microsoft Teams, which enables chat and video conferencing within teams, to improve work efficiency.
“Our starting point was that meetings we don’t need to meet up for should be completed without meeting.
But people didn’t really understand what was different from email, and the number of users didn’t increase, so it was ineffectual at first”, says Kudo, looking back.
But after that, Microsoft Teams sank in, partly because of the Covid pandemic, and people started using other functions too, like task management.
In the last two years or so, they have been working to promote the use of Power Platform, and that makes it easy for people to make their own apps, which help with operation improvements in their departments.
Apparently in-house app creation has begun in some departments.