Beijing Shougang's Technology Leap: Unleashing Efficiency with AI-powered Automation
Established in 1919, Bejing Shougang has evolved from a traditional steel company to a diversified large enterprise group over a century. It operates across regions and countries with steel as its main business and also engages in mining, machinery, electronics, construction, real estate, service industry, and overseas trade.
With the digitization of business, integrating the enterprise system from upstream to downstream horizontally, different management levels vertically, and the entire product lifecycle from design to service end-to-end has become a significant challenge for it. In 2019, Beijing Shougang Group enhanced its digital capabilities by completing the construction of an integrated production and sales system. This system consolidated the business processes of multiple bases and production lines, unified the coding system, and achieved comprehensive process integration, establishing a unified system architecture. This thoroughly solved the issues of information silos and business barriers, standardized all business operations online, and brought digitalization to an industry-leading grade.
The comprehensive integration also led to a large amount of data exchange. During the connection process between business system data and financial system data, data consistency became a new challenge. As processes are integrated, data continuously flows through multiple systems, and the data logic of business systems often differs from that of financial systems, easily leading to data discrepancies. Ensuring data consistency has become an extremely tedious and time-consuming task, occupying a significant amount of business personnel's time and energy.
Bejing Shougang's intelligent automation practice has not only improved production efficiency and saved costs but also encouraged employees to engage in more valuable work. With the deepening application of RPA technology, Bejing Shougang has become a model for digital transformation in the manufacturing industry, laying a solid foundation for future development.
Robotic Process Automation Makes a Big Impact in Data Transfer Between Systems
Enterprises face challenges in achieving seamless data transfer and integration within automated processes. Even a 5% error rate in data transfer between systems can have serious consequences. Employees often find themselves burdened with the repetitive and tedious task of monthly data verification and reconciliation, frequently requiring overtime work. Although the quality of data transfer between systems has improved, it introduces new risks. Therefore, Bejing Shougang's Deputy Chief Engineer, Yu Wei, proposed using Robotic Process Automation technology to handle data verification to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
For instance, in the area of equipment lifecycle management, which involves multiple systems from procurement to usage, including project management, equipment management, purchasing, and financial systems. Relying on manual detection of data errors can significantly reduce efficiency and increase costs and risks. With RPA, issues can be discovered beforehand and releasing workers from repetitive duties.
In the task of inventory verification, after switching to intelligent automation software robots, a job that previously took 30 minutes can now be completed automatically in just 3 minutes, with an accuracy rate of 100%. In the scenario of monthly financial reconciliation, intelligent automation software robots have shortened the time required from 3 to 4 days to just 4 to 5 hours, with triple improvement in efficiency.
Shougang chose to work with Laiye because of its stable and user-friendly RPA product, especially notable for its efficient and stable element capturing. Additionally, intelligent automation software robots can operate 24/7, providing round-the-clock service and resolving delays caused by long process cycles and the inability of employees to be online at all times.
Advancing Enterprise-grade Intelligent Automation
Bejing Shougang deployed 10 robots involving 29 distinct processes in its initial trial phase. Yu believes that there is a broader application and development for intelligent automation software robots. Enterprises should evolve from basic automation to intelligent automation, further freeing up human resources and allowing employees to focus on more valuable work. In the early stages of RPA technology, robots for finance-related applications received much attention, but the key in overall planning is how to make intelligent automation software robots play a greater value in the automation of business processes.
In daily enterprise operations, robots should automatically trigger forward processes and provide connectivity in reverse processes. For example, in a common return process, the sales department usually needs to communicate with the finance department to change the status of goods from sold to inventory. Manual coordination can lead to time delays, while robots automating cross-system processes can ensure timeliness effectively.
Intelligent automation software robots can replace manual work in processes involving multiple people, efficiently integrating workflow, and can also interact directly with customers with AI, handling requests and intelligently allocating them to the right person. This enables intelligent decision-making and end-to-end automation.
Achieving Human-robot Collaboration
Employees were encouraged to firsthand experience the advantages of RPA and then independently develop and construct processes. Fostering collaboration between employees and robots gradually will result in cost reduction and increased efficiency for the enterprise.
In large enterprises, the effective utilization of intelligent automation necessitates thorough planning and layout to play a pivotal role in scaled production. This includes addressing market diversity, refining management processes, and achieving comprehensive process automation.
For traditional manufacturing, the intelligent automation platform has the capability to deploy multiple software robots. These robots optimize critical business processes such as material management, inventory, and order processing, thereby promoting the automation of various business processes.
In industries like logistics management, optimizing the daily work processes of logistics service providers and modifying the management and delivery methods of business processes makes the entire logistics process more convenient and swift. This leads to a significant improvement in operational efficiency and productivity.
The advancement of intelligent automation implies that robots are not restricted to backend tasks but also possess the ability to interact directly with users at the front end. As more software robots are integrated into enterprises, the norm will shift towards human-robot collaboration, realizing end-to-end automation and delivering increased value to both enterprises and employees.