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Air Force Sustainment Center Hosts Robotic Process Automation Bot Rodeo

  • Published
  • By Corey Robertson
  • Air Force Sustainment Center

On 2 November the Air Force Sustainment Center hosted their first-ever Robotic Process Automation Bot Rodeo. The virtual event brought together over 100 Air Force personnel and featured multiple exercises highlighting the RPA process in various stages. This rodeo was created to test the creativeness of AFSC employees to implement the process and find ways to maximize its potential. The event featured a live Bot Build, with 20 developers working to automate an outlined process which was revealed to them the day of the event. There were also 10 previously built or in-production builds presented to a three-judge panel to compete for best bot build.

The Air Force has adopted RPA and encourages Airmen to find new and innovative ways of incorporating this process into their everyday workload. The RPA can handle mundane tasks that range from data collection from multiple sources to vendor sourcing across the globe. This process is aimed at giving time back to personnel to focus on additional workload, not eliminating their positions.

The potential of using RPA is limitless and only bound by the creator’s ability to find a task and put the bot to work. The logistics field Is just one area where the bot can be used; other areas within AFSC can benefit too.

Mr. Dennis D’Angelo, executive director of AFSC, was one of the judges on the panel. He was impressed by the automations and hopes to see it continue to grow from here.

"The rodeo proved to me that we can help ourselves in designing very effective robotic process automation.  I see the future of AFSC robotic process automation helping boost productivity, improving efficiency, providing better data analytics and ultimately achieving warfighter needs on time and cost. I couldn't have asked for a more successful first rodeo," said D’Angelo. "I was very impressed with the tenacity of the teams to take a complex issue and innovatively develop a solution that is simplistic in

execution and greatly increases efficiency."

With no preparation time for the live bot build and limited time on the pre-builds, the judges were unsure what to expect, but were very pleased with the outcome.

“I was extremely impressed by the efforts of all the participants, some only had a few weeks or days of prepare. This is a powerful capability and I really look forward to what tomorrow brings,” said Jeff Sick, AFSC director of Logistics. “The possibility of a build that supports human resources or the engineering area can easily be applicable and scalable to financial management. What’s more incredible than the capabilities are the innovative spirit and inventiveness of our personnel working to build these bots.”

With the overall success of this event and the promise of more innovative designs AFSC will hold another RPA Bot Rodeo in 2023.