AFMC Robotic Process Automation Roadshow Drives Innovation> Wright-Patterson AFB> Article Display

AFMC Robotic Process Automation Roadshow Drives Innovation> Wright-Patterson AFB> Article Display



Air Force Materiel Command Airmen now have the tools to accelerate change faster and smarter thanks to the Robotic Process Automation Roadshow, December 6-9, led by the Commander’s Accelerated Initiatives team.


The goal of the event was to teach aviators better ways to handle repetitive work tasks through automation technology and tools.


“Our Airmen are mired in repetitive and monotonous tasks,” said Matthew Roberts, RPA Program Manager at the Air Force Robotic Process Automation Center of Excellence. “The overall mission of the RPA Center of Excellence is to empower all of our Airmen and Guardians through training events that teach our workforce how to use and apply automation tools.”


The roadshow theme was “Democratizing Automation for Every Flyer” and focused on hands-on RPA training. The training focused on ways to automate the repetitive and redundant processes that Airmen go through on a daily basis.


Most attendees were unfamiliar with RPA and were selected to attend the workshop based on both a need to process and a desire to learn more.


“If a process takes 100 steps, you may be able to automate just 10 of these steps, but that alone can cut the whole process down to 10 minutes,” said Dave Sorrels, Customer Success Manager for UiPath. “If the same process is done 100 times a day, think how much time could be saved by aviators to work on other projects?”


Participants, based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, learned how simple work processes can go from hours to minutes with the help of a computerized robot. They were introduced to the RPA software on the first day of the training event and by the end of the week they had created a real bot to speed up a specific activity.


“We were directed by the Air Force Chief of Staff to be innovative and to accelerate while also empowering the aviators,” said Captain Javier Colon, an accelerator in the commander’s accelerated initiatives office. “I see automation and this roadshow as part of an offshoot of those CSAF action orders.”


RPA is already used in industry and throughout the Air Force to automate many processes, such as identifying cyber threats and launching firewalls in seconds, extracting information from document files to automatically insert logistics information and for a variety of other processes, minimizing the potential for human error.


It is also used to connect multiple legacy systems to embed data in one place and to automatically feed updates into weekly PowerPoint slides for leadership awareness and briefings.


“We hope to capitalize on the training experience by providing Airmen with the exposure and tools to automate, improve and simplify the daily process they encounter and achieve greater productivity,” said Colon. “We want Airmen to focus on their mission and automation can enable that.”


The training was motivated by General Stephen W. Wilson, former Deputy Chief of Staff of the US Air Force. Attendees took an inside look at the drive for change, reviewing a video from Wilson in 2020 stating, “Automation will give Airmen back the time to build the Air Force they need, without wasting time on do things that computers were designed for. “


By the last day of the training event, all attendees were able to practice automation and some of them were able to complete an automated process.


“The results of this event were amazing. Having automation engineers co-located with Airmen really brought us home for both training and automation application. We hope our Air Force workforce will maintain the momentum of automation to enable a cultural shift in the way we do business, “said Colon.” With this training event, we’re not only taking a step forward to train aviators to be self-sufficient in automation, but we’re also expanding the ability to scale automation across the enterprise. “


Through automation, AFMC is bridging the gap between redundant processes and accelerating innovation, ensuring that teams can work faster and more effectively every day.


“We’re equipping our workforce with new capabilities, making sure we’re working smarter, not harder, to meet our mission needs,” said Colon.


To find out more about upcoming events, aviators can contact SAF.ARPA.COE@us.af.mil or log into the MilSuite Center of Excellence.



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