How Organizational Structures Affect the Implementation of Robotic Process Automation

University essay from Lunds universitet/Industriell elektroteknik och automation

Abstract: Problem description: The case company, a packaging company in Lund, Sweden, operates in an industry where high productivity is becoming increasingly crucial to remain the industry leader. One of the most rapidly growing automating technologies today is RPA. The case company has adopted this technology. As of now the case company uses a centralized approach in implementing RPA which means that the planning, development, and deployment is conducted from a specific department. The Parts Supply Chain (PSC) department at the case company has identified that this centralized approach leads to long lead times and a reduced development speed. To achieve a better outcome in future RPA projects, the company’s PSC department wanted to investigate if there is a more efficient approach to implementing RPA. They wanted to investigate whether decentralizing their RPA-related Information Technology-structure (IT) would be beneficial. Purpose and research questions: The thesis investigated the effect that different organizational structures have on the implementation of RPA. The purpose of the thesis was to deliver a proposal of whether the department PSC at the case company should decentralize their IT-related structure. Given this purpose the following research questions were formulated; ‘How does the proposed decentralized structure measure against the existing centralized structure regarding RPA implementation at the PSC department?’ and ‘How do data from two implemented RPA pilot cases, using the proposed decentralized approach, compare to an existing RPA project which was implemented using the existing centralized approach?’ Methodology: To answer the research questions an investigative practical case study was conducted. In the study, quantitative data was gathered through automating two work processes from a decentralized approach proposed by the case company. Data was also collected from an already completed project, performed with a centralized approach at the company. The data from the decentralized cases was compared to the results of the centralized case quantitatively. Thereafter, the comparison was analyzed qualitatively with regards to the organizational structures to fulfil the purpose of the thesis. Conclusion: From analyzing the results of the practical case study it was concluded that a decentralization of the IT-related structure would be beneficial for the PSC department. The decision lead times between process identification and development would decrease, as would the development time. As a result, the department would see a lower investment cost per project. Furthermore, from the qualitative analysis it was concluded that decentralization would lead to increased autonomy and project flexibility for the PSC department.

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