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Robotic Process Automation in Manufacturing

For decades, physical robots have been used to assemble, test, and package products in the manufacturing business. Although these robots assist in optimizing the assembly line, the sector still faces challenges in keeping back-office activities simple and quick. This is mostly due to low-wage labour, time-consuming processes, outdated supply chain management systems, and rapidly changing regulatory requirements. Manufacturing businesses use process automation solutions like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to streamline and improve complicated back-office activities, including vendor interactions, payment processing, report preparation, and address these pain issues. RPA in Manufacturing has emerged as a crucial enabler for process automation.

RPA in Manufacturing

BENEFITS OF RPA IN MANUFACTURING

RPA bots have myriad benefits for the manufacturing industry. Routine processes like quoting and invoicing suppliers, account receivable and payable, and general ledger operations can benefit from robotic process automation. Furthermore, the RPA platform may help the company customize billing, production goals, minimize errors, and guide staff through each stage of development. According to a study by the London School of Economics, robotic technologies could potentially return as much as 600% to 800% ROI. A large percentage of manufacturing tasks could benefit from RPA, translating into significant savings for the bottom line

Benefits of RPA in manufacturing industry

1.Cost SavingsManufacturing companies can expect long-term cost savings from RPA platform installation. It entails one-time charges for the initial setup and operation of the system. The company would undoubtedly save a significant amount of money over time, including the price of physical labour and their insurance, maintenance, administration, healthcare, and upkeep. In addition, the manufacturer can operate their system without interruptions such as breaks or downtime.

2.Manufacturing Agility RPA is simple to set up without requiring many changes in the existing IT infrastructure. Even businesses with limited system experience can easily ramp up the system and bring automation into labour the manufacturing business with the help of RPA. Hence, the manufacturing processes become more agile and responsive to the ever-changing market scenario.

3.Extendable Manufacturing Functionalities – RPA bots with faster processors and machine memory can complete dozens of jobs in a fraction of the time and with zero errors. As a result, the RPA system can be customized and expanded to include a wide range of manufacturing functions.

4.Customization – Robotic Process Automation, in addition to manufacturing utilities, can be used for various rule-based and repetitive tasks. RPA can handle all of these tasks simultaneously and at a faster rate than human resources. An RPA bot that was programmed to review and classify inventory requisitions notes on a departmental basis, for example, can be coupled with ERP to obtain real-time inventory levels.

5.Collaboration between Man and Bots – By merging machine memory with human intellect, RPA can revolutionize the manufacturing business. It can collect data from machine sensors, broadcast it for real-time perspectives, and provide decision-makers with digital intelligence. As a result, decision-makers will be able to fine-tune the production assembly lines. The result would be less waste, improved inventory management, and a healthy profit margin.

6.Cut down Errors and Wastage – During their daily operations, every manufacturer encounters inventory wastage and errors. The quality assurance team is required to provide excellent quality and meet industry requirements. It also adds a layer of expense to the business. Manual labor, on the other hand, is prone to discrepancies, which leads to inventory waste. RPA in Manufacturing can eliminate both of these issues easily. The rule-based RPA technology ensures that errors are avoided, which reduces wastage tremendously.

Manufacturing Automation: How Smart Manufacturing Leverages RPA in Industry 4.0

McKinsey reports that at least 87% of manual and routine tasks performed by manufacturing workers can be automated. To respond to demand changes, manufacturers need to anticipate demand flux and appropriately adjust inventory levels. Predictive capabilities will help supply chains be more agile and can monetize business opportunities without compromising margins.

Among the many innovation families that comprise Industry 4.0, IoT (Internet of Things) and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) have been recognized as important levers for process improvement and modernization. As IoT offers information gathering and physical world response capabilities, RPA enables the automation of activities using data and commands from multiple systems. Connecting the physical world with the digital world is made easier with this combination of these two technologies. Eastern Software Systems can help you leverage the benefits of all these latest technologies to increase productivity and operational efficiency.

RPA USE CASES IN MANUFACTURING

Robotic Process Automation  has an immense number of uses for Manufacturing, but to list down a few of them, here are some RPA use cases in Manufacturing given below :

1. Automate Administrative Tasks :  In the manufacturing industry, administrative tasks are very time-consuming. Automating these administrative tasks can free up your employees to focus on other important duties. Like any other business, Manufacturing has numerous administrative duties that could be automated using RPA technology. Some of these easy to automate tasks include:

  • Keeping track of action items and minutes from meetings
  • Keeping track of attendance
  • Responding to Frequently Asked Questions emails
  • Meetings are scheduled.
  • Purchasing supplies
  • Predicting computer malfunctions
  • Invoice creation and filing

2. Inventory Management :Inventory management in the manufacturing business is very paper-intensive and requires a lot of manual work. Robotic Process Automation can automate emails, invoices, dispatch activities, and digitize papers to automate inventory management successfully.

Inventory managers may monitor inventory levels in real-time with RPA-based automation and make smarter decisions based on past data.

3. ERP Integration with RPA: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) helps users leverage the potential of ERP systems integrated with RPA while getting rid of non-core, repetitive tasks. Robotic Process Automation can bring transformative changes to your existing ERP system. In inventory management, manufacturing companies can monitor the current inventory and will notify them when the stock is low. Some of the common tasks that can be easily automated by integrating RPA with ERP System:

  • Inventories and Supply Chains Management – The RPA solution will warn as soon as the stock level becomes too low or too high.
  • Data Transfer- Automating processes from CRM to ERP can ensure the utmost accuracy of data transfer.
  • Proof of delivery- A proof of delivery document (POD) proves the delivery of goods to the client. Logistics ERP modules can be integrated with RPA bots for tracking deliveries. Delivery data will be extracted by the bot, updated in the ERP module, and generated a receipt.
  • Real-time Reporting- RPA systems can generate real-time reports that give a detailed account of what is happening with various departments.

4. Invoice Processing : Companies waste time in obtaining, assigning, and approving bills when they use manual processes. Invoice processing begins with the receipt of an invoice and finishes with the completion and recording of payment. Invoice processing can be made more efficient via robotic process automation (RPA). The difficulty mentioned above of invoice processing can be overcome by using RPA to automate the entire process. Without the need for human intervention, all data will be updated in the appropriate systems. Gathering vendor invoice data and transmitting it to the destination system is automated with RPA and runs at predetermined intervals.

5. Bill of Materials (BOM):  Your company can suffer massive losses due to mistakes made in any business process. RPA is one of the most effective methods for assuring an error-free process completion since its quasi error-proof conduct is conducive to efficiency.  A Bill of Materials (BOM) is a vital document in manufacturing that outlines the parts and materials used to create a product. A major function of it is to provide employees with all the information they need regarding the journey towards creating new commodities, that is, when, where, and how things are acquired.RPA ensure error-free operations throughout.

6. Strategic Management of IT Operations : Keeping track of infrastructure and operations is not an easy task. IT teams can gain improved visibility into IT infrastructure and operations by employing RPA, allowing them to manage IT resources strategically without the need for a manual procedure.

7. Proactive Risk Management: RPA can conduct proactive and fully automated business process audits for enterprises. Automated procedures can forecast risk and notify stakeholders about potential issues.

CONCLUSION

RPA in Manufacturing will play an even more important role in transforming manufacturers in Industry 4.0. It provides organizations with an exciting new way to improve their performance while also improving job satisfaction. RPA solutions have become a widely accepted strategy for improving the various aspects of the businesses’ operations by allowing employees to focus their time and effort on more expensive and meaningful tasks. It has helped organizations do more with less while reducing errors, increasing job satisfaction, and ensuring that deadlines are met. These benefits are made possible by very small investments and IT resources. While the RPA does not apply to all types of work, it is a good way to reduce the hours spent on ordinary, manual tasks.

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