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How Robotic Process Automation in the Manufacturing Industry can help Steer Digital Transformation

RPA-Blog

“Improved productivity means less human sweat, not more.”

–Henry Ford

In today’s digital era of unusual budgetary pressures and rising demand for public services, more is demanded from less. And the technological advancements in robotics have made automation a feasible opportunity to plug the challenges faced by manufacturing industries.

A study by global technology research firm Information Services Group suggests that 72% of companies are expected to adopt robotic process automation to minimize costs, reduce average transaction handling time, increase productivity, and improve compliance management.

According to the Information Services Groups (ISG) study, the automation technology is allowing for a 43% reduction in required resources for order-to-cash processes, 34% for invoice processing, and 32% for vendor management.

In the industrial business, RPA is a significant facilitator for digital transformation activities. RPA can enhance core processes and provide greater agility, speed, and quality in areas such as accounts payable process automation, invoice processing automation, and supply chain automation, to name a few. Furthermore, manufacturers can see a clear return on investment in as little as a few weeks.

RPA in manufacturing has several advantages for businesses:

A typical rule-based procedure can be automated at the rate of 70% to 80%. Robotic process automation (RPA) bots automate rule-based repetitive processes, reducing the need for human interference. RPA bots in manufacturing can:

  • Reduce the amount of time and human labor spent on routine tasks.
  • Reduce the time it takes to get a product to market.
  • Reduce human involvement to improve data quality and reduce process errors.
  • Maintain a record of audits.

Additionally, data collected by RPA bots can be fed into manufacturing analytics tools and a digital twin of an organization’s software to assess overall progress, detect gaps, and discover possibilities for development.

RPA in the Manufacturing Industry: Use cases

Invoice processing

RPA bots can automate invoice processing by:

  • Using OCR to extract specified data from invoices.
  • Converting the retrieved data to a structured manner.
  • Comparing invoices to purchase orders.
  • Checking for duplicates.
  • Keeping invoice records up to date in the ERP system.

Supply chain optimization

Global supply chains are complex since they involve:

  • Suppliers from a variety of countries
  • Providers with varying degrees of technical competence

Smaller suppliers, in particular, rely more on manual processes, and as a result, their customers must rely on paper or pdf-based processes to follow the status of items and orders. RPA can help humans focus on more complicated tasks by automating repetitive portions of such operations.

Production: Bill of materials (BOM)

One of the most important documents in manufacturing is the bill of materials (BOM), often known as product structure. It includes a list of raw materials, sub-assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, and parts, as well as the quantities of each component needed to make an end product. RPA bots can be configured to extract specific product or element data and to duplicate human actions required to compile a bill of materials when combined with OCR.

Data management

According to statistics, 37 % of engineers’ time in the manufacturing Industry is spent manually gathering and interpreting data. Manufacturing data, on the other hand, requires constant updating and analysis. RPA bots can automate:

  • Cleansing inventory and financial data
  • Migrating data from older systems to newer systems
  • Processing unstructured data (e.g. invoices) via OCR
  • Scheduling data imports and conversions (i.e. converting data from one format to another)
  • Updating structured data in ERP systems
  • Managing data warehouses

Order fulfillment

Order fulfillment includes all the processes after receiving an order from a client, up until delivery. Bots can automate the end-to-end process of order fulfillment by:

  • Identifying order emails and notifications
  • Downloading quirement files
  • Extracting relevant data
  • Updating the order fields and creating an order in the ERP system
  • Replying to clients with information about product availability and shipping options.

Procurement

Procurement has time-consuming, error-prone manual operations that are well-suited for bots, powered by RPA. RPA (Robotic Process Automation) drives efficiency, quality, and execution speed in Sourcing & Procurement.

RPA use cases in Procurement:

  • Purchase Orders to Purchase Requests
  • Contract Management
  • Vendor Management
  • Supply and Demand Forecasting
  • Inventory Control
  • Work Orders Management
  • Procure to Pay

A Quick Tale

Trantor leveraged Machine Learning and Automation to deliver digital transformation for one of its leading companies

This leading company was looking to build a solution for its electrical engineers by enabling them to steer meaningful data from electrical blueprints so that they can make more data-informed decisions, at speed and scale.

They tuned to Trantor with their challenge and Trantor helped them achieve 95% data accuracy, reducing operational costs by 60% by leveraging ML and Automation.

The Road Ahead

The reward for manufacturing entities that successfully implement RPA is enormous. However, in order to accomplish this, they must first build the proper ambition, foundations, and agility.

Trantor is at the vanguard of the RPA revolution, driving innovation, shaping public policy, and assisting clients with the adoption and management of this new technology. At the core of our automation service is a methodology for RPA implementations that have been formed by our global client experience.