Variant Schoonmaak Service B.V. is a cleaning and maintenance service provider located in Deurne, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands. Its 400 employees provide offices, schools, hospitals, and other commercial clients with flexible, reliable services.
Spending Too Much Time on Manual, Time-Consuming Tasks
Like many organizations, Variant relies on multiple software applications to run its business. The challenge was that users across the company frequently had to print out data from one system and enter it into another, a routine and time-consuming task prone to errors.
According to Variant Director Ramon Haazen, this was because the individual software programs were so different there wasn’t an easy way to connect them. “For example, there is an industry-specific tool that is based on a Firebase database and Exact OnPremise which is running on MSSQL and web services,” he says. “Then there is also an iOS/Android/web application which is using REST APIs. All of these need input from each other and had to be connected.”
Finding an Easier Way: Robotic Process Automation
Haazen and the Variant team knew there had to be a way to ease the information-exchange burden on employees. They learned about Automate after searching online for robotic process automation (RPA) and discovered Korper ICT, a local IT services and consulting firm and trusted HelpSystems partner.
After evaluating another RPA option, Variant worked with Korper ICT to purchase and implement Automate due to its plug-and-play nature and low-code development. Haazen says the ability to create an unlimited number of workflows with a single license was another factor in Automate’s favor.
Expanding Automate’s Impact
Automate is now used in Varient’s planning, finance, ICT, HR, and customer support departments to simplify routine tasks. Haazen says the solution is enhancing the user experience and helping the team think more about the precise steps needed to complete tasks.
|• Reduced manual errors by 100%
• Reduced scheduling errors by 75%
• Enhanced scenario planning
Automate also offers numerous possibilities and integrations for Variant to create interfaces and keep data in sync. “We mainly use the web services and database connections,” Haazen says. “We are also very pleased with how easy it is to create reports in Excel.” Other tasks include report generation and image conversion. “We use MSSQL, MS Excel, Webservices (OData), REST API (JSON), CSV imports/exports, and XML manipulation with XSLT techniques,” he adds.
As for what they like best, Haazen says it’s the wide range of actions available within Automate. “Even if there isn’t any option, we can create our own code or run scripts,” he says.
Automating the Employee Scheduling Process
One major area of improvement has been with employee scheduling. “The automation makes it possible to plan completely digitally because our planners are provided with the most recent status of the availability of employees at all times,” Haazen says. “As a result, the number of planning errors has reduced by 75%, and our employees are deployed much more efficiently.”
The schedule is created in Exact, and then Automate sends it to Variant’s mobile app, where every employee can see their assigned hours. The app also enables employees to check in and out at customer sites and have their hours sent back to Exact.
Automate is responsible for all the data transfers, connections, and even some calculations occurring within these systems. The solution can verify whether an employee’s hours stay within a defined range. If they are excessive, it alerts the appropriate manager for follow up.
“The automation uses our data to provide insights into existing situations or possible scenarios,” Haazen says. “An example of this is the capacity planning of our employees. Based on historical data, Automate forecasts the availability of employees, taking into account leave or absence due to illness. This provides a lot of insight and peace of mind within the organization.”
Achieving Strong Results
Variant has seen numerous improvements with Automate. “Automation saves us a lot of time, and it prevents human error while keeping our software tools in sync,” Haazen says. “The number of manual errors on the automated processes has decreased by 100%.”
Although he says it’s difficult to quantify the true number of hours saved, he believes projects wouldn’t be as successful as they are now because of the amount of data Automate synchronizes and checks across various systems.
Hazan believes they could use Automate to monitor and manage services to complement other software in use. He says when it comes to interconnecting systems, Automate gives them a wide range of options.
The Variant team is very satisfied with the product, giving it a 10+. “We recommend it to other companies and colleagues,” Haazen says. “We are happy with the possibilities and out-of-the-box integrations that Automate has to offer.”