Manufacturing RPA Definition and Overview

by | Jun 4, 2021 | Automation

Manufacturing RPA and Robotic Process Automation

The manufacturing industry has always led the way for automation. Physical robots for hundreds of years have streamlined manufacturing processes to be efficient and cost-effective. But there is still room for innovation in the back-end processes. The perfect solution to many businesses’ inefficiencies and errors is robotic process automation, also known as RPA.

Like physical robots in the manufacturing industry, they can streamline processes to save money and improve employee and customer satisfaction. RPA is fast-growing, with a Tractica report estimating that the global revenue in the RPA market would be more than 5.1 million USD by 2025. This blog will answer the questions: What is RPA? What can it be used for? And, what do I need to implement an RPA system successfully?

What is RPA?

RPA in Manufacturing is a technology allowing computer software known as a “robot”, or “bots” to execute repetitive business processes formerly handled by humans. These bots can learn, mimic, and execute rules-based business processes in order to improve business processes and save organizations time and money. These tasks are usually repetitive and tedious for employees and are subject to human error. When not completed correctly or timely they can affect sales, delay delivery, decrease customer satisfaction, and lead to significant losses. 

Use Cases inManufacturing Using RPA

Here are just a few examples of RPA use cases in manufacturing and how they can help a manufacturing company. The uses, however, are limitless.

  1. Data Mitigation: Data mitigation involves moving data from an old system to a new one. Often legacy systems cannot easily share data with another system. RPA bots act as intermediaries between different systems and can easily transfer data from place to place. The bots are also capable of monitoring any migration by flagging inconsistencies or anomalies in data. This error-free process saves resources on auditing for manufacturing. 
  2. Bill of Materials: Bill of Materials (BOM) includes raw materials, components and subcomponents, and other products that go into the creation of a new product. This wide list should be referred to frequently for detailed information so that they can know exactly what they need to purchase, from where, and when. It is crucial that no errors are present because this will cost the company a lot of money and time. Using RPA in this process will allow manufacturing companies to create products faster with greater accuracy.
  3. Customer Service: RPA can enhance communication with customers. It can be programmed to remind employees to follow up with customers, alert an employee if a complaint has been raised, and send automated messages that ensure a timely response. With RPA, an employee has access to well-organized and multiple stored data at one place, giving them the ability to quickly and efficiently serve a customer.
  4. Proof of Deliveries: This is an important part of customer service but is a tedious task subject to human error. RPA bots can query carrier tracking systems and shipping data without any human assistance. This leaves employees more time to do direct customer service. When a company has multiple carriers and multiple insurances, RPA can compare carrier costs, insurance, and transit time so that the company can identify its best option. 
  5. Sales Order Integration: There are many aspects to completing a sale that is completed across multiple departments, or that don’t necessarily need to be completed by a human to result in success. For example, estimates, product inventory, order processing, fulfillment, and logistics, to name a few. RPA bots can automate many of these tasks, while a company’s skilled sales employees allocate their time to selling products and building customer relationships.
  6. Regulatory Compliance: With regulations constantly changing, regulatory compliance is a part of the industry that needs to be monitored often. RPA in manufacturing allows manufacturing companies to maintain accurate and detailed data processing records that are accessible in the case of an audit. Ensuring that organizations will stay in regulatory compliance. The technology can be updated at any time because of its rules-based nature, so it is easy to keep up with new regulations.

Benefits of RPA in Manufacturing 

Here we list four major benefits of adopting RPA into your current, long-term strategy and agility within your workforce.  

  1. Saving Costs: Robotic process automation saves on costs and frees up your labor to focus on more purposeful tasks. It also allows your long-term businesses to save on costs required for manual labor and their insurance, maintenance, administration, and upkeep. systems to work uninterrupted throughout the year. 
  2. Manufacturing Agility: RPA is simple to set up and deploy and does not require the assistance of broad IT resources, making it agile and responsive to the ever-changing market landscape
  3. Customization: RPA can be programmed to complete any rule-based and routine activity, so the options are limitless and customizable for each company. These activities work alongside human resources and complete the tasks faster than a manual process. The program can change to accommodate a company’s growing needs without needing a significant amount of resources.
  4. Prevent Errors and Scrap: Manual laborers are, by nature, prone to inconsistencies that result in inventory wastage. Human errors can happen at any point and can be avoided by automated intelligence.

The Switch to RPA

While there are many reasons to begin implementing RPA in manufacturing, there are drawbacks to reinventing processes via new technology, which can be viewed as risky and expensive. However, with internal and external trust and support, the process can lead to a better, faster workforce. Read our blog on making a Transformational Change in IA if you are unsure of how to proceed with your RPA journey. Your company will need technical skills, multi-disciplinary teams, reorganization of roles and processes, ongoing support, governance, and a change in management and re-training programs in order to support a successful RPA in manufacturing. 

With the proper resources and support, RPA can save a tremendous amount of time and money for a company, and lead to an increase in employee and customer satisfaction.

In Conclusion

Robotic Process Automation is a fast-growing industry that can streamline repetitive and tedious processes. Given the proper resources, a company can save a significant amount of time and money, while improving customer and employee satisfaction. With manufacturing companies driving innovation, RPA is the latest piece of technology necessary for a company to grow and compete in the market.

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