Newell Brands

Dynamic scheduling doubles capacity

Newell Brands is an American worldwide manufacturer, marketer and distributor of consumer and commercial products with a portfolio of 100+ brands. With RPA Supervisor, they achieved dynamic scheduling - increasing capacity by more than 50%.

Newell Brands is an American worldwide manufacturer, marketer and distributor of consumer and commercial products with a portfolio of 100+ brands. With a $9.4BN revenue, the company employs around 31,000 people and is headquartered in Atlanta, USA.

Business problem

Newell’s RPA Development Manager, Mark Robinson, is responsible for implementing and managing automation projects.Initially, 3 Blue Prism server bots were deployed to handle dozens of processes for the finance unit.

However, as the scheduler began to saturate, Newell’s RPA services provider, NEEOPS, suggested using  RPA Supervisor to increase efficiency and license utilization. “Whilst Blue Prism’s Control Room and scheduler provide basic scheduling functionality, there isn’t enough flexibility to comply with business-defined SLAs or to meet business expectations for when processes should be triggered –  or ‘when work appears’,” says Zdenek Kabatek, Head of PS in NEOOPS.

Mark adds “In Blue Prism, processes are more or less single-threaded, which means if you have something in the scheduler, then something else can’t run. So even if both processes are fairly light from a resource standpoint, we don’t have the window to fit another process in.”  

“We were getting to the point where - as we wanted to add more processes into our environment -it was becoming increasingly difficult for us to find time slots to fit them in just because of how many processes we had running on our three servers.”

“This meant that it sometimes took us longer to implement processes or get something deployed once we had gone through our QA.”

“We didn't have the flexibility demanded by the business in how we could schedule jobs to run.”

RPA Supervisor solution

In April 2021, Mark - together with RPA Supervisor partner NEOOPS - implemented the RPA Supervisor solution to manage the digital workforce for Newell’s global business system.

“Our biggest customer currently is finance, where RPA Supervisor orchestrates and schedules processes for business units across N America, Europe, APAC and South America,” explains Mark.

RPA Supervisor a game-changer: dynamic process scheduling, doubled capacity

Mark is delighted with the impact RPA Supervisor has had on the business:

“We increased our capacity to a total of 8 bot servers from our original 3 – and these two things really go hand in hand:

  • Just implementing RPA Supervisor gave us relief - even if we hadn’t increased capacity - because of dynamic scheduling capability
  • The fact that we were able to do that in the same time frame as we increased the number of servers made it all the better!

"Now we have completely dynamically scheduled bot processes. For a majority of our processes, we’ve been able to pull all of our bots together into one resource pool. When we deploy something into production, it’s very typical for us to say: this can run on any bot (because all of our servers are configured the same way across the environment).

"So, we’re not concerned what server the process is run on. That means we can be very flexible and dynamic in how we schedule our processes. This makes it easy to schedule processes and I know that we’ve got enough capacity that every process is going to find a home to run. That right there has been a game changer for us!

“RPA Supervisor’s key benefit is in the operational stability it provides," says Mark.

The results have gauged interest from other parts of the business as well, with other departments looking at how RPA Supervisor could add value to their particular teams and areas.

“That awareness is out there now – people are starting to understand what's possible. And we’re gaining more business trust,” comments Mark.

Now that Newell’s operational challenges are addressed, Mark and his team can plan on getting more meaningful metrics for the wider business purpose. He’s already scaling the success of his project towards other departments within the business, including supply chain, transportation and even internal audit teams.

“Even though we’re a relatively small team, we have more confidence in our ability to successfully deploy larger projects,” he says.

“RPA Supervisor’s key benefit is in the operational stability it provides. I know that we’ve got enough capacity that every process is going to find a home to run. That right there has been a game changer for us!”
Mark Robinson
RPA Development Manager, Newell Brands

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