What is RPA (robotic process automation)?
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a cutting-edge technology that can automate construction processes, reducing time spent on tedious tasks and making the processes more manageable and less prone to error. The goal of RPA is, however, not to replace human workforce. Rather, it is to make construction activities more viable.
Robotic process automation has a lot to offer and improve for construction businesses. With RPA, companies can extend the automation beyond their worksites and enhance their various processes in different functions.
RPA in construction industry offers a lot of benefits for contractors. It brings down labor costs, eliminates human error when it comes to document management and also speed up the work. RPA bots can run tasks much faster than people and can work 24 hours a day without any breaks. In overall, robotic process automation helps retain employees by doing the mundane, repetitive tasks, thus reducing employee burnout. What is important, RPA frees the workforce to focus on more skilled activities.
Applications and use cases of RPA in construction industry
Robotic process automation can help with repetitive tasks and limit the number of hours spent on those. However, in the long run, it does more than that. RPA in construction industry improves the whole process when it comes to dealing with contractors, scheduling works, ordering supplies, managing the machinery, invoicing, offsite management and document management.
RPA transforms the construction business with:
- Automated technology
- Altered workforce
- Lean construction practices
- Brick laying
- 3D printing
What are the most common use cases and applications for RPA in construction industry? Let’s take a look:
Cash flow problems are one of the main challenges for the business. One of the reasons is the (in)efficiency related to invoice generation. It is a process that needs to be done rigorously and requires a lot of data, hence effort and time.
RPA in construction industry can greatly help with streamlining invoice generation and compiling all supporting documents necessary. The whole invoice generation with robotic process automation can be reduced from hours to minutes. A properly designed RPA solution can compile all relevant billing information – also from multiple systems – and create error-free invoices. Apart from time savings, you also get rid of any issues related to cash flow for your construction business. RPA can also collect data from invoices, enter it into the company’s accounting system and generate and email confirming the receipt of the invoice or asking for additional information if necessary.
Cost estimation – although needs to be rigorous – carries great risk of error. Establishing a cost baseline requires estimate reports that are accurate. Robotic process automation offers software/ programming that can generate preliminary numbers in the form of estimated reports automatically, based on input data related to suppliers, contractors, materials, etc. or even data collected from prospective customers. RPA in construction industry performs all the calculations with 100% accuracy which for large-scale, complex construction projects is an impossible task.
Construction companies need a robust document management system that prevents any misplacement, loss of documents and human error. All this can have detrimental effect on construction activities in general. RPA in construction industry can help in this respect by automating the document process. Robotic process automation bots can automatically find the exact location of the folder or file, save the documents and save the users’ time spent on locating the folders each and every time. Also, all the documents are scanned in high quality and can be routed to appropriate recipients or file them away in a centralized repository. The impact of RPA for document management is significant – by enhancing the process, it improves construction costs, time and work quality.
In the construction industry skilled and expert employees are always in demand. Hence, the recruitment process is longish, time-consuming and also leaves no room for errors. Robotic process automation scans various employment sources and on the basis of basic information about the candidate (education, experience, skills, etc.) helps find suitable candidates for the role based on the gathered information.
These areas of construction industry are being impacted by robotic process automation as we speak. With the right robotic process automation tool and the RPA design that answers your specific needs and eliminated the bottlenecks, you can stay ahead of competitors and focus on managing change rather than dealing with day-to-day office tasks. The future is unknown but with RPA it is definitely more manageable.
Learn more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Construction