News | Jan. 31, 2019

The BOTS are coming

By Connie Braesch DLA Energy Public Affairs

Computer-programmed Robotic Process Automation, or BOTS, can be developed to perform routine tasks done by humans and eliminate repetitive, manual data-entry tasks. Soon, tedious and time consuming technological tasks could become a thing of the past.

Defense Logistics Agency Energy’s Business Process Support Directorate and Procurement Process Support Directorate are in the forefront of employing a couple of BOT initiatives to improve the quality and increase productivity of routine automated processes.

Tom Turets, director of DLA Energy BPSD, explained how BOTS can make life easier for DLA Energy employees.

“For the DLA Energy BPSD Change Management team, a BOT can help send routine email notifications to Enterprise Business Portal users,” he said. “Currently, the team manually distributes custom notifications to employees, customers and partners for EBS maintenance windows or downtime. Potentially, the BOT could be expanded in scope for other similar communication efforts.”

In DLA Energy PPSD, a BOT is being implemented to pull and populate pricing data on large DLA Energy contract solicitations. Detailed data manipulation and repetitive data entry requires extensive time to update the solicitation, averaging around a minute per line item.

“BOTs can be commanded to gather the pricing data and perform this same entry overnight,” explained Bruce Blank, director of DLA Energy PPSD.

Robotic Process Automation is well suited for processes that are clearly defined, repeatable and rules based, Turets explained. To be most efficient and useful, BOTS are usually developed to perform processes that can save 2,000 man hours or more per year.

“While these BOTS will certainly spare employees the task of performing tedious and time-consuming computer processes, the intent is not to take away anyone’s job,” said DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Albert Miller. “Using technology, we can save critical man-hours and allow employees to focus on more engaging, complex, analytical work.”

Miller added these projects are being coordinated with DLA Information Operations and, based on the results, the intent is to go out to a broader DLA Energy audience to solicit additional projects.

For more information on DLA and BOTS, you can read this story by Sara Moore with DLA Information Operations.