Automating back-office processes in a manufacturing company
Practical Process Automation Improves Efficiency in Manufacturing Companies
Trushal Thaker, Zoran Gacovski
In order to stay competitive in today’s global environment, manufacturing companies have to adopt some process automation that will optimize their daily operations. The goal for undertaking a new process automation approach is to free up the creativity and time of operations teams, and management to focus on important forward-looking thinking while at the same time leveraging the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence to make better decisions about routine functions. Modern applications of artificial intelligence applications leverage the availability of large and growing data assets available to the company to teach computers (machine learning) determine the best course of action autonomously (robotic process automation, RPA for short)
The practical applications of such technologies are rapidly making an appearance all around us, some dramatic and visible e.g. driverless cars, self ordering refrigerators, smart homes etc. and many on the backend e.g. claims servicing chatbots, routine business process handling like automatic purchase ordering, automatic data transfer & management, cybersecurity etc.
Everywhere around us computers are cataloging, synthesizing and learning from data created by us, in hopes of making increasingly intelligent decisions in real time.
Manufacturers operate broad range of items in form of raw materials, tools and equipment, and ship the products worldwide. They manage the whole production process in-house – from taking the customer order to the delivery of products to the customer’s location. Purchasing materials and delivering products – involves keeping track of different processes, field workforce and facilities in order to be successful and profitable.
In this article we are targeting manufacturing companies who are exposed to various marketing hype about RPA and wonder how to start, what efficiency to expect, what are the most suitable opportunities, and where to begin.
Benefits of RPA for Manufacturing companies
The manufacturing companies have accepted the physical process automation early, introducing robots and conveyor lines to perform daily production tasks in the plant.
Today, as an attempt to achieve automated efficiency in the back-office processes, they would need to adopt some business process automation.
Robotic Process Automation, (RPA), is a tool that can be integrated within business processes – in order to automate the activities, reduce human errors, and increase productivity.
A lot of manufacturers are already implementing RPA – thus automating different scope of tasks:
- Demand and Supply planning;
- Invoicing, Accounting and Finances;
- ERP management;
- Purchase Order management;
- Making Forecast vs Actual expenditures;
- Customs Import processing etc.
A well-designed and developed process automation solution will address all drawbacks smartly and will provide a business intelligence environment that will:
- Optimize time-consuming and recurrent working processes;
- Increase production speed by maximizing productivity;
- Increase workflow agility;
- Reduce cost by minimizing human errors and increasing compliance.
Benefits of using RPA in the manufacturing industry also include:
- Providing intelligent decision-making; by utilizing the power of intuitive graphics and reports – generated from data of large number of customers, inventory and workforce data.
- Bringing data from manufacturing process that will help determine working patterns, and ensure minimal risk of failure.
- Creating efficient supply chain operations, with real-time insights on work processes, employee performance and customer behavior; thus maximizing operational efficiency.
- Enabling management of thousands of products through a unified dashboard view, that will display the damages and losses incurred every month.
- Presenting important views of different worker’s activities, and to determine the areas of improvement and boost their efficiency.
- Enabling consolidated view of the data retrieved from multiple sources; in the form of interactive dashboards.
So, how can a manufacturer start the adoption of the Robotic Process Automation? According to experts, it is necessary to develop a long-term strategy and align changing business processes with technology needs. Companies will need to remain agile and to adapt to the rapidly changing RPA domain.
Robotic Process Automation will provide companies to become more efficient, productive, and competitive by automating routine tasks at a large scale. We, at Visvero can assure our customers that they will achieve a successful RPA implementation, with first results in 2-3 months.