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Kao automates return-order process, responds faster to e-commerce demand

Source:BearingPoint     Date:2022-11-17
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BearingPoint client success story

E-commerce trends induced by the global pandemic took online purchasing to the next level of development. This expansion led to significant changes for all online sales and logistics processes, including an increased need to optimize customer return-order processes.

In its recent client story, BearingPoint shows how it supported Kao, one of the leading global manufacturers of hair care products and cosmetics, in leveraging innovative technology to upgrade its return-order tasks.



Staying competitive in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market requires strong interconnectivity, real-time data transmission and reliable processes. In the past, managing an end-to-end process for return orders was labor-intensive and involved many employees, multiple IT devices and coordinating access to various software systems. Even when all these needs were met, the process often generated high costs and human errors in data entry along with strong dependencies.


The Kao Group aimed to leave this scenario behind and leverage innovation to gain efficiency. The company needed a better way to handle its return-order tasks, which at the time required a multi-step processing of documents and the input of data into SAP each time a request was received.


Management and technology consultancy BearingPoint worked with Kao to analyze the company’s existing processes to understand how its warehouse movements and activities – such as goods receiving, put away, storage and shipping – were translated into SAP system return-order data. A technical “to be” process was designed, which covered future workflow steps in detail, transaction loads, business rules, error handling, risks, dependencies and unknown exceptions.


Happy users and even more satisfied customers

“The RPA solution we used for Kao has made the company much more competitive. It not only automated the return order processes but freed up employees to do more value-added work. RPA solutions can benefit businesses in all industries, and it’s incredible how much they free up the workforce,” said Andreas Fitz, Partner at BearingPoint.


By leveraging UiPath’s RPA, BearingPoint developed a solution that formatted return-order email information automatically to create the required documents in SAP. The solution uses a bot first to extract relevant information – like original sales order, customer number, material code, and unrestricted and blocked quantities. It then immediately performs return orders, inbound delivery, and goods receipt transactions in SAP. The process is completed by sending out email notifications to Kao’s Customer Service department.


“With BearingPoint at our side, we were able to streamline and reduce a lot of manual work in a cumbersome internal process! Setting the bot solution live led to happy users and even more satisfied customers!” said Suyin Boehnke, SAP Senior Business Relationship Manager SCM EMEA, The Kao Group.


Kao can now process all its return-order tasks faster and more consistently, regardless of demand or data volume peaks. By using automation, the required documentation is processed 24/7 without significant interruptions or delays. The RPA solution provides transparent and accurate inventory data for further process improvements, such as stock and demand planning. Kao’s products that are eligible for resale are inserted into the marketplace workflow rapidly, thus reaching customers faster.


The company can now rely on an efficient process involving no additional interfaces, system access or need for human interaction, resulting in substantial cost optimization. The bot removes any risk of human error while freeing up time for Kao’s staff to work on other business-related, value-adding activities.


You can read the full client success story here: https://www.bearingpoint.com/en/insights-events/client-stories/kao-return-order-process-automation/

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