Robotic Process Automation in Manufacturing
Manufacturing is an industry known for leveraging advanced technology to remain competitive in the global market, having already implemented physical robots to automate critical tasks such as packaging, product assembly, and quality checking.
In these two years, manufacturing companies are setting their sights on Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to automate repetitive back-office processes and ultimately save costs while boosting employee productivity. Early adopters of RPA have been amazed by its powerful capabilities, and have subsequently expanded its adoption in other areas of the business. In an industry where astute companies swiftly take advantage of the latest technologies to get a head start, RPA is a digital solution manufacturers simply cannot afford to ignore – particularly in the current business landscape where COVID-19 has exacerbated competition challenges. How exactly can manufacturing companies use RPA effectively to avoid being outflanked by competitors? This article outlines some of the ways many companies are already using RPA to optimize their operations.
It's no secret that manufacturing rapidly changes its operations in sync with the latest technologies, and as a result, many companies often need to upgrade legacy systems.
Many legacy systems struggle with sharing data with other systems. Custom interfaces must be built to facilitate data transformation before it is entered into the new system. This time-consuming process is known to be a major pain-point in manufacturing. Luckily, this type of task is exactly what RPA is designed to handle - and this has been recognized by prominent manufacturing organizations who have adopted RPA to address this exact issue.
RPA bots can integrate applications from both old and new systems while flagging any inconsistencies in real-time. RPA is a major advancement in this area and many firms have felt a surge of relief knowing that this tiresome process no longer needs to be conducted manually, as it can be effortlessly automated with RPA.
Bill of Materials (BOM)
BOM is a highly important document that contains records of materials and components for product creation. Employees can refer to the document to determine the required materials along with when, how, and where to purchase them. Anyone who has or is currently working in the manufacturing industry knows far too well how even a minor error in these stages can lead to a domino-effect and adversely impact the production cycle.
To minimize the risk of errors, major manufacturers have already utilized RPA bots in this area since RPA bots are almost 'error-proof' and can be easily programmed for precise and timely operation. Manufacturers know that one small error can be extremely costly, and therefore consider RPA to be a worthwhile investment in this area.
Manually handling invoices can be burdensome while draining valuable time that could be spent elsewhere. Tech-savvy manufacturers have implemented RPA as it presents a modern, highly efficient way of processing invoices through simple automation of the entire process. No human intervention would be necessary as all the data will be automatically updated on the relevant systems. This allows human employees to be more productive on tasks requiring thought and use of their unique skillset.
Even in 2021, the manufacturing industry is infamous for its heaps of paperwork in inventory management. This can now be easily digitized through RPA to allow easier access and management. Moreover, RPA can automate emails, dispatch processes, and also file invoices. This ultimately enhances communication between the supplier and the manufacturer, reduces costs, and improves overall operational efficiency.
The above are just four pain points that manufacturing firms are addressing through RPA. However, it is important to note that the list is not exhaustive as their RPA has wide applicability in this industry. From ERP automation to enhanced customer support, RPA can assist in a broad range of sectors and can be certainly be used to unlock the business' full potential.