Many manufacturing industries have already started replacing the human workforce with physical robots in their production units to perform tasks like product assembly and packaging or performing quality checks. Though the assembly line is streamlined with these physical robots, they struggle to keep up with their operational processes, inventory management, regulations and compliances and other back office work. These industries span over continents with a global supplier and customer base, which makes it even harder to manage the operations and costs.
With Robotic Process Automation (RPA), manufacturers seem to have a solution to handle such repetitive, humdrum tasks, as well as identify and improve the gaps between these operations and save up to 40% of cost. It also helps in eliminating third-party access that makes the tasks secure and error-free.
Use Cases of RPA in manufacturing industries
The tasks that make up majority of the day-to-day operations and can be automated, may be broadly as following:
- Bill of Material (BOM) generation: BOM has a wide list of raw materials, components and sub-components for the new product creation. Employees in the manufacturing industry need it to get detailed information like where, when, what and how to purchase the item needed. Any error in this process may lead to massive loss to the company. But RPA comes in handy to this type of task and can create the records quickly and with better accuracy.
- Purchase Order (PO) creation: The manual process of creating PO involves dealing with multiple product categories, vendors and purchase info records. This process needs 100% accuracy and prompt results which when done manually may not give the same results as RPA will do.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Management: ERP involves processes like planning, supply chain management, reporting and stock keeping unit (SKU) updating. RPA can automate these functionalities of the ERP system with accuracy and also send relevant notifications and mass update SKU.
- Data Migration: When a company acquires new business, their policies and data also need to be managed. Migrating this huge set of data is time-consuming and also involves cost. With proper planning and execution of RPA, things can be managed well in time and money.
- Logistics management: Every manufacturer has their own logistics team that manages the complete information and data about transportation of supplies and products. RPA can monitor this data and report the output as and when needed.
- Inventory management: Inventory is the most vital part in supply chain management. It maintains data about the stock and its supplier. RPA when integrated in manufacturing can enable timely notification about stock levels and reorder them when levels go below threshold.
- Vendor management: Manufacturing enterprises need to communicate with thousands of customers, vendors and internal workforce on a daily basis. The experts handle queries, tracking status, updates and changes which may pass through a number of ERP systems. Organizing these requests and sharing information at each level is mandatory but also time taking. RPA can help with this exchange process by sending emails, downloading attachments, logging into ERP systems and updating logs in a timely manner without much human interference.
Benefits of RPA in manufacturing industries
As described in the use cases, RPA can be a savior at various steps and processes. Some real-time benefits are:
- Up to 40% reduction in operational cost
- Increased control and visibility of end-to-end processes
- Digitized communication at each step
- Significantly lower downtime and increased quality
- Resources save time and can focus on more productive tasks
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