COVID-19 has greatly affected the Supply Chain industry in terms of accuracy, production, and efficiency. Due to this, many organizations have adopted digital technologies to automate and gain greater visibility. In this article, we will explore how RPA will be helpful for the Supply Chain industry.
Robotic Process Automation in Supply Chain Industry
RPA is the key to the ongoing challenges within the supply chain industry, as it enables automation for the processes that are being carried out manually. It eliminates human intervention, allowing employees to focus on high-value work. A recent study states that more than half of the supply chain industry will be transforming their journey to RPA and other automation technologies in the coming years in order to bring down their costs and increase productivity. With the advent of digital capabilities, many companies are depending on RPA to streamline their business processes and gain a competitive advantage.
Use Cases of RPA in the Supply Chain Industry
Automation for the Supply Chain industry was not successful at the initial stages as software robots are provided with a set of instructions that can work on straightforward tasks but not with complex ones. Today, automation with RPA in collaboration with the latest digital technologies has changed the phase of the Supply Chain industry. Intelligent bots with the combination of AI, ML, and NLP are used in place of humans to an extent.
There are several use cases of RPA in the Supply Chain industry and below are some of them,
- Order Management
- Inventory Management
- Payroll Management
- Vendor Management
- Customer Service
Order management in the supply chain has a large set of manual processes involved. Some of the best examples are order placement, order payments, order confirmation, etc. Most of them are executed manually which consumes a lot of time and manpower. Every single process from order placement to confirmation can be automated and streamlined.
Inventory management is the core of the supply chain industry. The manual processes done in inventory management can be simplified by implementing an RPA solution, which can automate all the inventory-related tasks by monitoring the stocks, and notifying and re-ordering the stocks when they are at a lower threshold level than the desired value. It can also help in predicting the inventory levels by considering the historical data and efficiently processing the orders while accommodating the demand spikes.
Automating invoices with RPA can be very helpful for the HR team, as it can validate the employee data. With the automated process, the employee timesheets can be verified accurately and the earnings/deductions can also be updated back to the employees in the same payroll without any delay.
Vendor management mostly consists of manual processes such as quote preparation, vendor discussions, negotiations, and vendor evaluation. Human intervention is only required at the initial stages while gathering the requirements that need face-to-face interaction. Apart from the initial instances of all processes, RPA can be implemented in almost every task of the vendor management to provide more productivity and efficient outcomes.
When the customer service is handled with human intervention, a lot of rules are needed to be followed which in turn leads to delayed responses. RPA in customer service can be used to automate and streamline the entire process. Automation in customer service can help in providing necessary resolutions and sorting out the queries quickly based on various categories, avoiding unwanted escalations from one department to another.
Implementing RPA in supply chain management can deliver many benefits and generate ROI at low costs. But the major challenge here is planning and streamlining the entire process in order to transform a manually working organization into a fully automated enterprise. Although every automation process cannot be the same, it is completely dependent on the enterprise requirements and the final end goal. In order to achieve end-to-end automation, every enterprise must set up an RPA team and a governance body that can help in implementing RPA successfully.