Like every other industry out there, the manufacturing industry is also seeing a transformation led by new-age technology such as Robot Process Automation. RPA software is set to be a US$2.9 billion industry by 2021, according to Forrester, and the services market alone is expected to hit US$12 billion by 2023.
RPA in manufacturing is instrumental in making processes efficient, error-free, and low-risk. RPA algorithms take manual processes and automate them to function with minimal human interference. This frees humans to take on higher-order tasks including strategy, growth, and developing insights.
Why is RPA in the Manufacturing Industry Essential
The benefits of RPA in manufacturing are multifold. RPA reduces the chances of human error and delayed processes as a consequence. These algorithms optimize time-intensive but repetitive operational processes, in turn reducing the chances of human error. Lower human error means reduced post-operational costs and better regulatory compliance.
RPA implementation in manufacturing also drives up productivity, as human workers are freed from frustrating processes and allowed to use their higher-order thinking skills on more complex tasks. This bolsters employee satisfaction, creates safer workplaces, and reduces the go-to-market time significantly.
RPA is also vital to seamless operation during crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. As employees work remotely and are designed to email or phone communications from their homes, RPA algorithms on the work floor ensure processes continue as smoothly as possible with only minimal human workers on deck.
Harnessing the Power of RPA in the Manufacturing Industry
1) Managing the Bill of Materials (BOM)
The BOM is a list of all the raw materials, assemblies, and parts required to manufacture a shippable product. It is critical to ensuring the factory floor and higher offices are on the same page; it is also vital to ensuring optimum production speeds and manufacturing times. Human error in the BOM can have catastrophic consequences, right from delayed production to product recall from the market and bad press. As shown by multiple RPA in manufacturing use cases, RPA can be deployed to manage the BOM in real-time such that manufacturing and shipping processes run smoothly.
2) Accurate Inventory Control
Inventories ensure the right parts are used to manufacture products bang on the deadline. There is no room for error, given that manufacturing floors work on tight schedules. However, human oversight can often lead to critical parts going missing or not being ordered from suppliers at all. Naturally, even the smallest mishap can derail the entire manufacturing process. RPA application in manufacturing can be extended to inventory control such that automated processes are set up to alert the staff of missing materials, in sufficient quantities, or potential delays.
3) Better Regulatory Compliance
Once an automated workflow has been established, RPA algorithms function the same way each time, establishing high levels of process accuracy. RPA can also be used to keep track of activity logs for years on end and pull them up in a flash, which makes the entire process easily auditable. These logs also allow companies to resolve issues internally as and when they pop up, rather than wait for a regulatory audit to take place.
4) Higher ERP Automation
ERP systems form the backbone of back-office operations in the manufacturing industry, including finance, HR, and supply chain management. However, they are still disproportionately reliant on error-prone manual processes. Using RPA in the manufacturing sector to automate these systems has a whole host of benefits including higher levels of accuracy, faster processing speed, shorter time spans, and scalable processes.
5) Faster Data Migration
RPA automates frequently used processes that are time-intensive and repetitive, but they can also be used for one-off large-scale operations such as data migration. RPA is designed to cope with multiple levels and a variety of systems. It can filter useful data to make data dumps more insightful. Rule-driven steps in the migratory workflow ensure that data migration is carried out in a smaller amount of time and with lesser costs.
6) Better Customer Support
Manufacturing companies can automate several routine customer service tasks, leaving human employees to tackle more complex issues. RPA algorithms can be scaled to limitless heights, which works well in customer service where the flow of interactions cannot be predicted. Processes such as name recognition, customer history, and natural language responses make customers feel attended to, through a personalized experience, without any manual interference.
7) Seamless Web-integrated RPA
Many manufacturing companies have several offices, warehouses, offshore sites, and back-offices that need to be interconnected to work as a single organism. RPA helps to access, monitor, and change data on any of these systems by connecting them to each other and to a central server. This way, no part of the chain functions in isolation, and every action or expense is seen and accounted for by all parties. Such RPA systems ensure higher transparency levels.
The Final Word
RPA use cases in the manufacturing industry have given us just a glimpse of the overwhelming potential of such automated solutions. CONTUS is a leading company that crafts and sets up RPA solutions that check all your boxes, from affordability to efficiency.
CONTUS provides end-to-end RPA solutions, from strategy to deployment, and then to support. These solutions have helped cut expenditures for past clients by a whopping 40%, all the while making critical processes more efficient and accurate. CONTUS’ team of expert designers, developers, and strategists keep on top of RPA trends in manufacturing to ensure you get top-tier RPA solutions.