No, it is not umami, but greater job satisfaction that the team enjoys after achieving self-sufficiency in automating mundane duties

Can a bland activity such as data entry be spiced up with monosodium glutamate (MSG)?

At the Thai facility of Japanese food manufacturer Ajinomoto, maker of the flavor enhancer, the digital equivalent of MSG has to be automation.

Employees of the Finance & Accounting (F&A) department used to spend transferring, converting, and manually checking reams of data such as cash flow reports and other financial transactions.

The tedious work not only strained their eyes but also drained their energy, leaving them with little time for higher value tasks. Said Sanvaris Amornnuratkul, Finance and Accounting Manager, Ajinomoto Thailand: “We realized that we needed to transition to digital and other innovative technologies,” referring to the firm’s initial automation journey in 2019.

The F&A department eventually automated the processes for creating bank balance reports; recording and exporting impairment data before importing to a financial management software (Record Impairment Fixed Asset); creating a report backup server; and exporting data from PDF documents to generate a report in Microsoft Excel (Net Backup Report).

Since 2019, Ajinomoto Thailand has implemented 20 automation processes, with seven to 10 of them being run daily. This technology has supposedly saved its employees a total of 14,000 minutes per month, as of end 2021. More specifically, employees now spend around 95% less time on the Daily Cashflow Report and Record Impairment Fixed Asset processes respectively. In future, automation will expand to include accounts payable payments and creating other F&A reports such as production cost reports.

“Many of the automation functions we currently use can be developed for greater use in future. As we continue to do so, the time needed for development and implementation will be reduced,” said Sanvaris.

The firm had partnered with NCT, a partner of UiPath, to start its journey of self sufficiency in automation development.