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Retail: How does RPA Save Traditional Toy Retailers?

Having a variety of fun toys was once a childhood dream of many people. However, with the rapid development of the Internet and digital technology, the traditional toy retail industry is suffering from the dual impact of online shopping and electronic products, and has fallen into a continuous slump.

“Buying an iPad that can play for a few years is always more of a parent's choice than constantly buying new physical toys.” commented Zhihu users.

With the decline in sales performance and severe squeeze on market share, some large traditional toy retailers have begun to use digital technology to actively seek transformation to save costs and improve operational efficiency, such as the global toy retailer.

The company was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Northampton, United Kingdom. It is an association of independent toy retailers and a professional toy retail purchasing group. It has more than 250 independent toy retail stores in Britain, Ireland, Malta and other places, and is an important part of the toy retail market.


Pain points

In recent years, more and more independent toy retailers have joined its membership, while maintaining full independence, enjoying the benefits of a national marketing network. The retailer has therefore become the “central invoice processing machine” for many member merchants.

“When a new store joined our purchasing team, we collect every invoice from the supplier and centrally process all of these transactions. Manually processing more than £40 million of transactions each year is inefficient.” said the system administrator.

According to the original process, it has to prepare separate file cabinets for hundreds of member merchants, and mail invoices twice a week, which was very costly. The time of receipt of invoices is irregular, and the beginning of the month is very calm, and there will be a large number of invoices near the end of the month.

In addition, due to the large number of paper materials, the inability to centralize data information to evaluate member merchants has also increased the difficulty of studying long-term purchasing and sales trends.

With the introduction of new EU legislation, more items need to be declared for import and export commodities. This means that the company needs to get every detail from the invoice of the member merchant. Therefore, the manual processing of massive invoices has become a major challenge of the financial department.

“We know that automation has the potential to make our job easier. The inefficiency of manual processing, coupled with the challenges posed by new industry regulations, has prompted us to take action to automate invoices with RPA.”


Solutions

The company deployed RPA as a solution to centrally process supplier invoices. “Every supplier can now submit electronic invoices to us by accessing a web-based application so that we can receive and process these invoices faster. RPA can record invoice details, process transactions and store relevant data automatically to reduce compliance risks.”

By RPA, it can centrally access the performance data of member merchants and employees, get more detailed information, and study the business model within the group more deeply.


Deployment Effects

By RPA, the retail company processes more than 30,000 invoices per year without tracking paper invoices, saving about £12,000 on postage alone. All invoices that previously required 38 employees can now be processed with only 17 people, greatly reducing labor costs.

In addition, RPA not only optimizes business processes and facilitates members and merchants, but also makes it easier for employees within the group to manage the business and free up time for more valuable work.

“RPA brings change to the group and that is a key business driver. It enables us to process supplier invoices more easily and efficiently, thereby helping our member merchants to obtain greater benefits.”

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