RPA in Manufacturing – Automate Your Processes, Improve Your Value Chain
When we think of the use of robotics in manufacturing, physical robots performing repetitive tasks on the factory floor, such as assembling and packaging products, are often the first thing that comes to mind. However, the use of robots in manufacturing is taking a new turn with robotic process automation (RPA). RPA is the use of software robots—or bots—that perform repetitive manual tasks related to back-office and front-office processes in much the same way physical robots perform manual physical tasks.
The use of RPA in manufacturing is about taking operational efficiency to the next level. This includes the operational efficiency of workflows that provide the most value for an organization and its customers, suppliers, and other partners. According to MAPI, 84% of manufacturers are either using, implementing, or planning to implement RPA in order to streamline their operations in finance, information systems, business strategy, and risk and compliance. The result is an improved value chain between the supplier and the customer.
Improving the Value Chain
The value chain between the supplier and the customer is a series of critical processes that include logistics, procurement, accounts receivables and payables, supply and demand planning, order management, inventory management, customer service, and regulatory compliance. The benefits of RPA in these areas are many, including such things as:
- The automation of data acquisition from multiple sources and the filling out of forms
- Improved data management and real-time data analytics
- Results that are consistent and free of error
- Increased accuracy in estimating delivery times
- Full regulatory compliance even as regulations change
- A full trail of documentation for work that is performed
With this in mind, here are a few use cases for what can be automated using RPA in manufacturing.
RPA makes it possible to automate the entire logistics process, assessing various carriers and insurance options to determine the optimal balance between transport time and cost. In addition, RPA allows you to monitor the transportation of raw materials and finished goods with real-time freight tracking and reporting.
RPA has the ability to draw data from a variety of data sources, making it possible to gather enough information to accurately determine demand. This information, which includes data such as market trends, internal sales forecast, competitive analysis, and product catalog information, can be imported, processed, and cross-referenced to determine an accurate sales forecast.
Bill of Materials
The Bill of Materials (BOM) is a critical document when it comes to the manufacture of new products. it can take a lot of time for a human worker to go through the BOM and gather the required information to determine what to purchase and where to make those purchases. RPA can pull the required information from the BOM in a fraction of the time with increased accuracy. This will drive the creation of new products, ensuring they are completed on time every time.
Onboarding New Suppliers
The BOM requires the use of the right suppliers across all categories. Assessing potential suppliers requires a lot of information gathering from many disparate documents. RPA makes it possible to automate the collection of this information. The bots can analyze proposals, gather supplier information and consolidate this data into a ready reckoner and evaluation sheet that can be of help during negotiations.
Navigating the COVID Crisis and Beyond
All the benefits RPA brings to the value chain in manufacturing is helping manufacturers not only weather the COVID pandemic but come out of it stronger than ever before. The COVID pandemic has resulted in lower supplier production and a decrease in inventory, while at the same time, the cost of logistics and transportation is higher than ever.
The ability of RPA to streamline inventory management, navigate supply and demand planning, manage inbound logistics and automate the supplier onboarding process makes it possible for manufacturers to scale and adapt to the changing requirements of the industry.
For more information on how RPA can help your manufacturing company, reach out to our sales team today.