RPA is the process of automating business operations by using software robots or ‘bots’ that mimic and execute tasks done by humans. RPA bots can interact with systems and applications just like humans. RPA bots can adapt to the workflow and processes without the need to change the underlying business process for automation. RPA bots are seeing widespread adoption as part of the Digital workforce across various industries. The manufacturing industry has been an early adopter of RPA implementing bots on the manufacturing floor as well as in various business functions. Let us look at some of the top use-cases where RPA is applied in a manufacturing company.
1. Invoice processing
Invoice processing is one of the most important processes as part of a manufacturing company’s procure-to-pay (p2p) or source-to-pay (s2p) functions. Invoice processing is challenging due to invoices with different formats like pdf, email, or images, checking relevant details like bank information or supplier details, data consolidation from different systems like ERP, CRM, banks, vendors, etc. This task becomes even more difficult and time consuming with large volumes of invoices. Repetitive tasks related to these workflows along with human processing can lead to incorrect payments or entries in the system. RPA can be used in such a situation where paper based invoices can be automated and read using OCR. Data entry, reconciliation, invoice data extraction, checking invoices against purchase orders, duplication checks, payment scheduling, etc. which are rule-based tasks can be automated using RPA. Machine learning based RPA solutions can be used for capturing invoice or matching invoices to accounts.
2. Customer Service
Customer support operations are one of the most important support business functions in manufacturing companies. Customers today want quick and accurate service. Delivering these is essential to gain customer loyalty and keep them from switching products or brands. The majority of customer service queries are repetitive with different customers facing the same problem and customer service having to provide the same solution. Regular diagnostics and troubleshooting can be carried out by bots. For example, in home automation companies, bots regularly check smart camera status and troubleshoot any issues before customers spot them providing proactive customer service. Automated customer service systems can provide an initial response to customers. Bots can also categorize queries and forward them to respective departments like tech, service, etc. RPA accelerates collaboration automation and ChatOps in customer support function by automating alert management. RPA with AI can be used to map the customer journey and better customer targeting.
3. Inventory management
One of the most common problems faced with the manufacturing supply chain is the inability to predict and match supply and demand levels. RPA can be used to keep stock inventory in check and monitor stock inventory levels. Demand supply planning is done manually including data gathering, data standardization, data cleaning, or running simulations on a tool. However, these tasks can now be automated with RPA. Bots can read the documents, extract data, and update stock details in enterprise systems automatically. Bots can then send notifications to various demand and inventory planners to update stock levels as needed. A number of other back office processes like paper digitization, email automation, procurement process automation can be achieved with RPA to remove inefficiencies and make the inventory control process more nimble. Cognitive RPA and analytics can also help in real time demand monitoring leading to better communication with customers and suppliers.
There are also various other miscellaneous use-cases where RPA can be leveraged. RPA can also be used for automating the supply chain and logistics where bots can track product delivery, provide notifications, and link the shipped data to warehouse ERP system. Bots can be used to save HR processes, costs of hiring, recruitment or paperwork processing. Bots can also be used in marketing function for CRM updation or sales scorecards updation. Data integration among various disparate systems to unite data silos and create a unified version of data is a mammoth task where RPA can be implemented. This data can in turn be utilized for reporting and decision making. The manufacturing industry faces a lot of regulation changes. RPA can be used for regulatory compliance in terms of updating product regulations in the system or record maintenance for audits.
Thus, automating the above use-cases using RPA can help in reducing operational costs by bringing down human errors. Manufacturing companies are also adopting RPA as it helps increase go to market speed by improving productivity and setting up leaner agile streamlined operations and processes.
eInfochips helps enterprises adopt a long-term process automation strategy that aims to implement intelligent automation solutions that combine both RPA and AI capabilities. eInfochips provides RPA consulting, Proof of Concept, RPA tool migration, and RPA implementation services. For more information please connect with us today.