RPA in ManufacturingRobotic process automation (RPA) is a real game-changer in the manufacturing industry, even more so than in other branches of the business. For companies with multiple branches of factories and offices, keeping and managing the data in the system can be quite overwhelming. Deploying RPA services in this area can greatly help with monitoring, accessing and updating any changes within the web-connected systems. And by doing so, reduce the communication time between one branch and another.
Continuous pressure from the global market and the need to reduce the costs makes the companies from the manufacturing industry look out for new and innovative solutions. RPA is such a solution. And what is more, robotic process automation introduces transparency, agility and enhance the customer experience by supporting the entire supply chain and warehouse management.
For manufacturing companies that are looking for an efficient (and reasonably cheap) solution to unlock their full potential, increase productivity and improve management and administration, it might be worth implementing RPA in every functional area.
But what exactly is robotic process automation (RPA)? To put it simply, this is software that can be fully integrated with your business processes. What for? To automate repetitive, mundane activities, minimize human error risk and also maximize productivity. It is worth mentioning that the automation happens end-to-end so you do not have to worry about supervising the processes or operations once you have the RPA bots.
If you are a manufacturer of parts or machinery, think of all the processes that you have and that could be automated. Those tasks could be:
- Payment/ refund processing
- Customers import processing
- Generation of finance contracts
- Reconciling expenditures
Benefits of Robotic Process Automation in manufacturingRobotic Process Automation bots can help in many ways in manufacturing industries. The RPA implementation helps make the supply chain stronger and replace routine activities around quoting and invoicing, accounts receivable and payable or general ledger operations.
Robotic process automation (RPA) in manufacturing also enables the companies to tailor billing and production objectives with no human errors and guidance provided for employees. The implementation of RPA services also simplifies the process of handling compliance issues by maintaining a track of all activities and assurance of data processing according to regulatory and business requirements for a given business.
What benefits does RPA bring into the manufacturing realm? Let’s sum up:
- Increased agility for manufacturing operations
- Better control over (manual) processes
- Optimized time-centric and repetitive routing processes
- Optimized employee performance
- Increased go-to-market speed (through maximized productivity)
- Up to 40% reduction of costs (through minimized human error and higher compliance)
The advantages of robotic process automation in manufacturing when combined with AI are endless. It allows for:
- Predictive maintenance: as machine downtime is very costly and risky to the business, AI combined with RPA should be used to predict machine downtime and maintenance times so that all physical production processes run uninterrupted.
- Price forecasting: RPA and AI-assisted automation can run calculations based on historic prices of materials and thus, predict future prices and update the budgets. You can also automate even more complex pricing for budgetary calculations with help offered by robotic process automation bots.
- Shipping automation: controlling the shipping processes is burdensome and meticulous. With RPA and AI-based intelligence, you can make these processes faster and smoother through instant data recognition, help in sorting packages and making complicated shipping reports and calculations.
- Extendable manufacturing capabilities: machine memory and fast processors or RPA bots guarantee that umpteen tasks are completed in a fraction of time. What this impacts is also the extension of the manufacturing ERP system with any number of necessary manufacturing functionalities.
- Production customization: apart from manufacturing capabilities, RPA services can be deployed for a lot of other routing and rules-based tasks. The activities can be performed by RPA bots in parallel and much faster that any human is capable of. You can, for example, integrate RPA programmed for inventory requisitions classification with your ERP to procure real-time inventory levels.
- Manufacturing agility: the great advantage of RPA over other types of automation is that it us extremely easy to set up and deploy. Low-code solutions (for example Microsoft Power Platform) do not require the assistance of any IT resources. Even with little system or technical knowledge, business operations executives can improve the system’s performance. Hence, the manufacturing process is more agile and also responsive to the changing business and market landscape.
RPA examples and use cases in the manufacturing industryIn the previous section, you saw what benefits robotic process automation can trigger for manufacturers. Overall, it eliminates up to 65% of manual workload and the processes can be done by both with no human intervention (of course except any unexpected events).
Now let’s take a closer look at what areas RPA can improve when talking about the manufacturing industry: