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Automation Exposé Focuses on Rapid Automation at Primanti Brothers

By DAVID Jenness posted Thu May 12, 2022 11:10 AM


Here comes another close look at an IBM Automation application, presented by the designer who deployed it, and afterwards you can ask your questions. Join us on Thursday, May 19 at 11 AM ET for the third installment of Automation Exposé, the creation of our joint North American User Groups. The format helps reveal the Best Practices and Tips and Tricks of expert practitioners, which you can benefit from to help your Automation projects succeed.

Quick RSVP here.

Primanti Brothers is a chain of sandwich shops well known throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio, with restaurants in Florida, West Virginia, Maryland, Michigan and Indiana. Like many small and medium sized business, Primanti Brothers, which is headquartered in Pittsburgh, encountered new challenges created by the Pandemic lockdown in 2020 and its aftermath.

A challenge can either be a problem or an opportunity, depending on how you look at it. As they began to re-open their restaurants, they took a close look at the productivity of their back-office operations. The analysis revealed one area that needed significant improvement: reporting.

The company was relying on eight regional managers to manually pull sales and labor reports for five locations each, taking at least 45 minutes per person to generate 40 reports by 10 AM every day, including weekends and holidays. Caitlin Stritmatter, Director of Financial Planning & Analysis at Primanti Bros, recounts the conversations they were having. “We started to think, ‘Do we need to hire a person in every restaurant just to do the paperwork and the administrative side of stuff? There has to be a better way’.”

“You only have so much time every day before you start running the restaurant. You can get so bogged down in the process of copying, pasting, filling out and double-checking a spreadsheet, when you should be focused on actually looking at the numbers and what they’re saying,” says Stritmatter. “So, we wanted to take the busy-work out of the process to free up time for thought and planning.”

Enter Salient Process, an IBM Business Partner that specializes in Business Automation solutions. Jimmy Hewitt, a Senior Automation Advisor with Salient, who lives in Pittsburgh, suggested that the team look at Robotic Process Automation, an ideal technology for automating just the kind of rote repetitive tasks that Stritmatter and her team were looking at.

. Jimmy Hewitt, Senior Automation Advisor at Salient Process

Hewitt was optimistic that he could design and implement a solution quickly and prove the value of Automation to the chain. “I really like two things about IBM Robotic Process Automation. First is that because it takes the bot no time at all to do work that took humans 2,000 hours per year to do, it quite literally gives you the gift of time. They say you can’t buy time. I say, yes you can! Second is how low the barrier to entry is for this capability.”

Indeed, it took only two weeks to implement. Three months later, Primanti Brothers reported that the RPA application had paid for itself. Instead of sitting behind a desk, the company’s regional managers now spend more time focusing on providing the best experience to their customers. With access to real-time numbers and data, the management team can quickly compare the trends and begin planning for the day.

In fact, the success of the application led Primanti Brothers to call for an enterprise-wide discovery process of where to apply automation next. “There could be hundreds of reports we can automate when it’s all said and done, but we are prioritizing what will have the biggest impact,” confided Stritmatter.

That's the story. Now get the details. Jimmy Hewitt will be our Special Guest for Automation Expose. He’ll show us how the initial application works and how he designed it. He’ll also share some results of the analysis that he and the Salient team for future projects, showing how he worked with Blueworks Live and Salient’s Automation Compass tool for identifying and mapping Automation opportunities. 

I hope you can join us May 19. This is a great example of what many Automation experts advise when building a successful Automation Program: Look for a quick win that gets the organization eager to expand and then document and prioritize new opportunities and get started on the Journey.

Quick RSVP here.

Read the full story here.