Impact of RPA deployment on supply chain responsiveness

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Information and Service Management (ISM)
This study aims to understand the role and effectiveness of Robotic process automation (RPA) if any within supply chains. The study focuses on supply chain responsiveness with demand uncertainty. It discusses the effects and how these effects can be alleviated. The primary solution discussed is RPA, its definition, characteristics, differences and advantages over other forms of business process automation systems. With qualitative research and through the process of interviews, the opinion of supply chain and RPA experts are presented and discussed as findings. From this, we understand essential requirements to responsive supply chain and answer the question of if RPA is up to fulfilling this task. A responsive supply chain combines supply chain management where cost effectiveness is essential with agile manufacturing where speed and flexibility are key. When combined, we have a responsive supply chain where cost, speed and flexibility is the goal. The essential requirement to creating a responsive supply chain as explained in this research is an information system that allows for seamless communication, transparency and knowledge sharing among supply chain partners. A system like this can prevent issues that arise from demand uncertainty such as the bullwhip effect. Supply chain partners have upstream or downstream situational awareness of the supply chain. A system that can ensure this needs to be sophisticated and unfortunately due to its nature, RPA is limited in its capabilities to provide this.
Thesis advisor
Kemppainen, Katariina
Tinnilä, Markku
robotic process automation, RPA, supply chain, supply chain management, SCM, responsive supply chain
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