What started as a project two years ago, has today become numerous automated processes. A path full of benefits that is just beginning in digital transformation.

Sodexo, a leading multinational in Chile in food service and facility management, initiated its digitization process and integration of robotic process automation (RPA) together with Tiaxa during 2019.  To date, an important part of the Remuneration and Human Resources operations have been automated, with positive impacts on the wellbeing of the workers.

“One of the main strengths of RPA is that it is tailored to the client”, says César Gaete, Sodexo’s Manager of Remuneration and Human Services, who has seen how the digital changes in Chile are setting the standard for innovation for other subsidiaries of the company in Latin America.

The first step that the French multinational took was the automation of medical licenses, achieving the management of more than two thousand documents per month. As a result, it was possible to streamline the processing of licenses, avoid digitization errors and reduce the company’s costs due to non-compliance with legal payment deadlines.

The implementation of RPA in the processing of medical licenses reduced execution time to less than three minutes per license, being carried out completely autonomously and automatically, operating 24×7 and without throwing any errors, which drastically reduced paperwork thus benefiting workers’ quality of life.

The implementation of this technology is non-invasive, although Gaete maintains that “initially there is always fear of change and of losing one’s job, but it is a myth to believe that decoupling will be the result of automating operations. In fact, these processes improve workers’ quality of life, by saving 70% of their time, which they can invest in other processes and in their family life.”

The digital urgency of the pandemic

The first RPA solution was implemented in March 2020, shortly before the arrival of the pandemic. To date, there are already nine automated processes. “The pandemic made us learn and accelerate things, we started with one process until it started to escalate.” Gaete confesses.

One of Sodexo’s main challenges in the face of the coronavirus crisis was the constant change and relocation of workers, from the communes that were released from or entered quarantine, where more than a thousand cases were executed per month. Thanks to the implementation of a Tiaxa bot, they found an efficient solution.

The main interest of Sodexo’s Remuneration Manager has been to integrate the use of RPA to achieve a system of process interoperability, which “has made us work 40% less in a highly operational area.” Regarding the implementation time of this technology, Gaete emphasizes: “most believe that making these changes is time consuming, but on the contrary, by installing this technology you can immediately see its benefits”.

RPA scalability and adaptation

Sodexo has more than 18,500 employees throughout Chile, where there is rapid growth in staff, which means contracts are constantly changing; transitory, fixed term and indefinite. In a month the company has more than a thousand movements to process, however, thanks to the work carried out in conjunction with Tiaxa, today all these administrative procedures are automated, reducing their execution times by thirty per cent.

RPA technology goes beyond numerical, repetitive processes or operational tasks. It can even be developed with machine learning and artificial intelligence. This enables the automation of any key process of a value chain or business, thus highlighting its scalability in any area. For César, “companies can see these improvements as an expense, but they are an investment, they make companies move forward.”

César affirms that “it is very important for these processes to work with experts”. When he refers to his experience with Tiaxa, he adds: “there is trust, we have verified that they will always comply 100% and also meet the deadlines”.

Gaete sees a more digital Sodexo in the future, “With a higher level of automation and clarity in the processes. RPA will also serve us for other areas and things, where we have not yet implemented it, but for now it is a world without limits”.