March 2020
March 2020
March 2020

Cinemas invite the world to escape from it all and immerse themselves in a world of movies. Watching a movie at home can never match up to the excitement of the cinema theatre, and so, despite other entertainment options, the cinema industry continues to thrive.

The cinema industry in Australia is currently progressing through a significant phase of disruption, innovation, and growth. Last year, the industry spend was forecast to exceed AUD 1.8bn while growth is expected to continue at an average of 1.4% over the next five years.

Once thought of as a mature industry facing decline, the entertainment and film industry today is adapting and continually evolving to offer something for everyone. The industry is staying ahead of the curve and reinvesting in better experiences for consumers; experiences that are memorable, that leave a mark, and make an impact. Service providers in the industry are also continuously seeking ways to operate more efficiently.

Despite increased competition from other sources of entertainment such as online subscription streaming services, the exhibition industry is thriving, forging ahead with innovative ways to provide the ultimate movie-going experience, be it luxury seating, new cinema concepts, and the use of emerging technologies.

At the same time, industry data suggests food and beverage (F&B) to be a lucrative investment area. F&B expenses average around 20-30% of the total costs, and the introduction of hot food and better-quality food products could boost the efforts to deliver competitive advantage.

Event Cinemas realized that the food and beverage value chain for the company’s 80+ cinemas across Australia and New Zealand was an opportunity for business transformation through the use of Intelligent Automation.

Through engagement with suppliers, cinema operations teams, and food and beverage departments, the RPA Center of Excellence Team was tasked to review and reengineer its processes completely. This exercise resulted in three key projects being identified:

Many external factors can impact demand for food and beverage requirements; seasonal considerations such as public holidays, fluctuations in ticket admit demand in line with blockbusters and the film line up, promotional food offering and bundles, and supplier product changes.

Event Cinemas identified an opportunity to improve order cycle management by reducing sellouts and excessive ordering. With EdgeVerve, Event Cinemas was able to simulate a virtual just-in-time supply ordering system, across all products replicating a traditional Kanban card system.

The result has been the ability to maximize asset productivity through more efficient use of storage space, improved cash flow operations, and reduced stock wastage.

Once the algorithms for ordering supply were defined, EdgeVerve was engaged to help develop a robust, accurate, and timely predictive analytics process to identify the best-recommended order for each product.

With the use of EdgeVerve’s RPA technology, the team was able to define a process whereby every product was assessed by demand and usage history, right down to the amount of salt allocated to popcorn.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) helped Event Cinemas assess thousands of product cataloged items even before the ordering process started. This was achieved by calculating the activity over the previous 52 weeks, for each product, by each Event Cinemas in Australia and New Zealand. The result; Event Cinemas now understands supply and demand trends — right across the network — and uses these insights to propose the recommended order requirements based on RPA data for each product.

This recommended order quantity feature also considers future demand variables and provides a rolling 12-week order forecast for cinema operation and planning purposes. The recommended order and prediction are also delivered to the cinemas, using automated communications, by 7 am weekly.

Each Cinema Management and the Entertainment Food & Beverage Team reviews the recommended order, allowing for flexibility and the capacity to consider local or national programing changes and upcoming events. Once the order process has been checked, RPA is used to re-cut all finalized cinema order requirements and data by supplier type for order preparation.

This new process means each supplier now receives only one order on behalf of all cinemas, with additional product and distribution information communicated using automation. Suppliers also receive a 12-week rolling forecast to support forward manufacturing estimates.

The entire process is human-led, assisted by stakeholders across the supply chain order process, and is completed on the same day.

Other benefits

Process improvement using Intelligent Automation has also resulted in greater efficiency to the overall ordering process, including:

  • Standardized order processes with greater transparency in centralized operations

  • Increased order governance and controls

  • Improved revenue from the reduction in sellouts

  • Thousands of hours in productivity savings through cost reductions or reallocation of resources to more valuable tasks

  • Improved customer satisfaction

Partnership for Success Through EdgeVerve

To support the delivery of these projects, in conjunction with the EdgeVerve Team, Event Hospitality and Entertainment developed its own methodology and operations plan to manage the RPA / AI program. Led by Mark Pinder, this methodology combines best practices from the waterfall and agile approaches. An 8-stage waterfall project approach retains sufficient governance while deliverable activities within each stage take an agile approach to project delivery.

Perhaps the key success driver has also been incorporating the ProSci Change Management methodology across the operations plan. Mark suggests this approach is a good fit and ensures change management is considered throughout the entire lifecycle of the project.

Event Hospitality and Entertainment utilizes onsite EdgeVerve resources and offshore resources in India. However, the team is seen as one combined team internally, with EdgeVerve staff embedded in the company’s culture. The combined team also shares the same key drivers for the RPA / AI program, which are revenue recognition, cost reduction, productivity gain, and experience.

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Conclusion

Designing the entire process with human-assisted intelligent automation capabilities in mind has ensured the successful adoption of the new process across all stakeholder groups. These cinema projects are proving to deliver a favorable result across all metrics

Staff resources have been freed, enabling greater focus to be given to tasks that are meaningful to cinema staff and that have a positive impact on the organization, ultimately increasing customer engagement and the overall customer experience.

From ideation to deployment, the full project took just under six months. Event Hospitality and Entertainment is now seeking to leverage this capability for re-use into other areas of the business and will continuously explore ways to advance the process further by increasing the use of cognitive automated solutions.

So, the next time you visit Event Cinemas to experience the thrilling 4DX concept, the latest Boutique Cinema experience, the luxurious Gold Class menu, or you simply can’t wait to grab a popcorn and drink combo, spare a thought for how technology and automation have helped deliver the best experience possible!

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2020-04-26T09:12:57+00:00