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What is Lean RPA?

You may have heard of the term Robotic Process Automation or RPA, but what about lean RPA?


Lean RPA applies the concepts of lean to your RPA implementations. While RPA is about automating tasks in a cheaper, faster and better manner, lean helps to ensure that your automations are both efficient and effective.


Lean RPA shares many of the same principles as lean, including the identification of value and the elimination of waste. Waste is any action or step in a process that does not add value to the end customer. In other words, waste is any process that the customer does not want to pay for.


The following are some examples of the 8 types of waste typically found in RPA:

  1. Transport — For complex or long-running processes that require human-in-the-loop, not designing the processes with the users in mind often introduces additional friction and inefficiencies.

  2. Inventory — Generating unnecessary process artefacts (e.g. reports, email notifications, files) that no one uses and are costly to housekeep.

  3. Motion — Processing of data from multiple applications or systems instead of relying on single sources of truth.

  4. Waiting — The idle time during and in-between automations reduces the efficacy of your RPA bots.

  5. Overproduction — Triggering or scheduling a process at a frequency higher than required. This is a waste because the bot capacity can be used to automate other processes instead.

  6. Overprocessing — Redundant or superfluous activities performed by the bot, typically because that’s how things have always being done.

  7. Defects — Frequent bot breakages that result from automations that are neither robust nor reliable.

  8. Skills — Not utilizing the full technology stack offered by a modern RPA platform, e.g. relying on UI automation when API automation offers a better approach.



Does any of the above sounds familiar to you? Now might be a good time to perform an audit of your existing bots, and identify opportunities for continuous improvements of your automations.


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