Kao Automate Return-Order Process to Keep Up With Growing E-commerce Demands

kao factory interior image

Chemical and cosmetics company Kao has revamped their online sales, logistics and return-order processes with a view to keeping up with rising e-commerce demand. 

Kao recruited the help of management and technology consultancy BearingPoint to navigate the return-order tasks upgrade. The COVID-19 pandemic led a surge in online purchasing and fast-tracked the need for more robust e-commerce processes, particularly in the fast-moving consumer goods market, the company said. 

The driving force behind Kao and BearingPoint’s project was to streamline, consolidate, and automate outdated return-order processes – many of which still required significant amounts of manual labor and many software systems  – and boost interconnectivity across the entire supply e-commerce function. Previous processes also involved multi-step manual data entry in SAP after every request, often resulting in human errors and higher costs. 

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After analyzing every step of Kao’s return-order process, BearingPoint consultants put together a plan of action covering future goods receiving, put away, workflow steps, transaction loads, business rules, error handling and more. Then, using UiPath’s RPA technology, BearingPoint’s solution worked to extract relevant details, configure return-order email information and automatically generate the required information in SAP. After performing return orders, inbound delivery, and goods receipt transactions in SAP, the solution sends out email notifications to Kao’s Customer Service department.

One of the main draws for the expansion is that the solution will hopefully allow return-ordering processing to take place around the clock, making space for the rapid reinsertion of products that are eligible for resale and more-or-less eliminating the need for human interaction. 

Commenting on the impacts of the upgrade, Suyin Boehnke, SAP senior business relationship manager SCM EMEA, The Kao Group, said they have been able to significantly reduce manual labor work and “cumbersome” internal processes, which in turn have led to an improved customer and user experience. 

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