Automation for each team in the company: ASML tells

After a successful implementation of an RPA project (robotic process automation), there comes a time when the number of bots in the business environment must increase. This is not always without struggle, so upscaling becomes a project in itself.

ASML was a guest at UiPath Together Amsterdam, which took place on 14 June. There, the company dedicated a full presentation to the method of scaling across your entire organization.

“You need to find a partner in your organization. With us, the automation project started with the finance department and in the end the IT team was a good partner ”, Sonia Henriques Vieira, IT Group Lead at ASML, sums up the story very briefly.

Free workers from paperwork

That the RPA story started with the finance department is hardly surprising to those who have already dived into automation solutions. The finance department has a lot of paperwork in traditionally functioning organizations. Completing these papers requires you to perform the same action multiple times, a tedious job that RPA solutions like to take away.

Joris van den Bergh, Enterprise Business Architect and colleague of Henriques Vieira, devotes many of his working hours to the digital transformation of the finance department. He further explains the projects: “We started with small, often recurring tasks.” According to him, the automation train traveled to ASML four and a half years ago. “In 2017, I researched RPA, a year later we implemented the first solution.”

To stretch the boundaries

ASML is a Dutch company, but in addition it is a well-known and important name in the chip industry. Chip machines for producing the world’s smallest and most complex chips are distributed by the company as a monopolist to chip factories by, among others, Intel, Samsung and TSMC, which are largely located in Asia. The company continues to produce machines that produce smaller chips with more computing power. In other words, the company is no stranger to pushing boundaries.

Start by automating, but do it with the IT team. This is where knowledge of the company’s infrastructure lies.

Sonia Henriques Vieira, IT Group Lead at ASML

Although there are more boundaries to be stretched than one can see, Van den Bergh says: “The company has grown at a rapid pace in recent years. From a business perspective, we also reach the boundaries. In 2017, therefore, it was urgent to focus on the scalability of the processes. ”

“Shortly after the first automation project was completed, the entire organization supported automation. Everyone felt we had to grow, ”adds Henriques Vieira. Moreover, it still seems strange to work in a high-tech company using outdated methods.

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Faster with IT

It quickly becomes clear that she has not come to talk small talk. Henriques Vieira would like to point out to companies how important it is to involve the IT department from the start of the project. “My message today: Start automating, but do it with the IT team. This is where knowledge about the business infrastructure is located, and the IT staff can give a lot of tips on implementing a new tool. ”

According to her, there is only one address for upscaling and that is of course the IT team again. “They probably already use technologies like APIs and low-code platforms.” There was great enthusiasm at ASML, as evidenced by its CIO’s motto: “Let’s automate heck out of it.”

Outside the IT environment, enough people also showed interest in the automation projects. Due to the strict security protocols that the chip machine manufacturer must adhere to, there is simply no place to involve non-developers in the projects through low-code. In the future, that should change, she reveals: “If we have the skills and the standards, then it’s time to keep growing and decentralizing.”

From an IT perspective

But what if you yourself are part of the IT team and do not know how to scale up an automation project? Knowledge and tools are actually a crucial factor in achieving success, but they do not guarantee it. According to Henriques Vieira, collaboration can also be the solution: “Share all successes, but also dare to share challenges you struggle with with your leader and your colleagues.”

Share all successes, but also dare to share challenges you struggle with with your leader and your colleagues.

Sonia Henriques Vieira, IT Group Lead at ASML

This method led to a success story. At the moment, the company faces new challenges, which arise by increasing the number of bots: “We face new challenges now that we have been able to scale up successfully. Bots need to be maintained because they have operational issues or are completely depreciated. “

It’s not just about the numbers

ASML was able to emulate exactly how RPA specialists define the work of the future: repetitive tasks disappear and office jobs make every employee happy again. Van den Bergh has internalized this mindset: “In the early days, there was a lot of focus on the amount of bots. I then turned to Corporate Chief Accountant to change this approach because I wanted to focus on creating value. “

With the RPA mindset in mind, the number of bots will have to increase. Retaining employees in your company will be a difficult task in an environment where repetitive tasks make up the bulk of the job content. “We expect to expand by another 18,000 jobs by 2030. To fill the jobs, we must also keep our current employees happy,” he concludes.


This is an editorial team in collaboration with UiPath. For more information about the company’s solutions, click here.

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