Robots are not new to the manufacturing industry as they are already using physical robots to perform hard labor processes such as assembling, testing, and packaging products. Although the assembly line process was brought under the control of these robots, the back-office operations still struggle to keep the wagon moving. Manufacturers have been facing hard times in managing repetitive, time-consuming tasks that are related to customer communication, procurement, inventory management, and payment processing.
At this juncture when the industry needed something innovative to continue its operations smoothly, RPA came in handy for the manufacturers, enabling them to rectify inadequacies in their processes and achieve better control of the business.
Now, let’s dive deep into the benefits of using RPA in manufacturing,
RPA cuts costs on manual labor needed to perform mundane, repetitive tasks, eventually helping them to boost productivity with the 24/7 operating ability of RPA bots.
Reduced Wastage and Mistakes
RPA bots can fix manufacturing issues such as manual errors and inventory wastage through automated schedules. The rule-based execution of RPA systems reduces any indication of errors, thereby reducing wastage as well.
Increased Focus and Efficiency
RPA helps manufacturers enhance efficiency by reducing errors. With RPA managing administrative tasks, the workforce can focus on operations that are of greater importance.
Use Cases of RPA in the Manufacturing Industry
1. Bill of Materials (BOM)
BOM is a central document with a list of materials, components, and instructions required to create a new item or product. The document provides employees with all the data required to create new products like what, when, where, and how to buy. Any mistake committed at any stage of the production cycle can have an impact on the remaining cycle, resulting in a huge loss for the company. As a result, RPA with its ability to perform error-proof tasks becomes a crucial requirement as it is programmed to complete the tasks timely and precisely.
2. Customer Support and Service
As we all know, customer experience is very important to the success of any business. RPA comes in handy for front-office operations when it comes to enhancing customer interactions. RPA can be employed to know whether your employees are keeping pace with customers and be able to stay updated with customer complaints.
3. Data Migration
In any manufacturing industry, getting regular and effective upgrades are a must to succeed. To make sure the consistency of business procedures is maintained in the production cycle, shifting data from old to the latest systems is needed. In this process, there is a possibility for errors due to manual performances which could be enormous and costly. Implementing RPA can help accelerate the performance and reduce the possibility of errors, thus providing more productive results.
4. Invoice Processing
Manual invoice processing is a very slow and tedious process, especially when there are several approval steps involved. RPA bots can help automate invoice processing by extracting specific data from invoices using optical character recognition (OCR) technology and converting the extracted data into a properly structured format. It compares invoices against purchase orders and cross-checks for any duplicate entries. In this way, RPA bots not only speed up the invoicing process but also reduce labor costs and errors, and enable employees to focus on more important tasks.
5. Inventory Control
Inventory is a back-office process that gets labor-intensive when executed manually. It is reported that 40% of small businesses do not have an inventory management system in place or are stuck with manual processes. Implementing RPA in your manufacturing business can help you to automate inventory monitoring, order placing, generating receipts, tracking deliveries, and replying to query emails. This gives you complete control over your stock and helps you make better decisions on production and storage, helping you reduce cost and enhance operational efficiency.
6. Compliant with Regulations
For any type of business, there will be some regulations and they keep on changing, especially in the manufacturing industry. Work safety conditions and product regulations are constantly under review to adjust to technological advancements. Enterprises take a lot of time to implement these changes, especially in a manual setting. RPA bots help companies get accurate data and detailed audit reports.
A Key Enabler for Digital Transformation
Leveraging RPA in the manufacturing industry provides immediate and future benefits. Manufacturing industries that wish to unlock their full potential in aspects like productivity, management, and administration can see better results by considering RPA. However, you need to ensure you implement it effectively so that you can reduce inventory wastages, improve employee and customer satisfaction, and manage your team effectively.