Manufacturing industries are among those complex industries that involve a lot of man-power. With so many processes involved in the manufacturing industries, the employees have to often engage in the monotonous tasks when their talent can be put to better use. Using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for such repetitive tasks can help manufactures operate smarter, increase the efficiency of work and eliminate human errors.
An RPA software performs structured activities in a more efficient, consistent and accurate manner. There are various manufacturing industries in the world today, which have extensive processes that need to be followed strictly. These processes do take up a lot of time and most importantly, produce error that can sometimes be major. One way to overcome this problem is to automate the processes using robotic process automation tools. The best part about RPA is that it can execute the tasks accurately without skipping anything or making any mistakes.
Since RPA is capable of mimicking human actions, it can perform a wide range of tasks. Some RPA use cases in the manufacturing industry have been listed below:
Raw material record maintenance:
This is one of the most basic examples of using RPA for repetitive tasks. The raw material record should be maintained to ensure that sufficient raw materials are available to continue with production, or if there is a shortage, some urgent measures need to be taken. This task is usually done manually by employees who have to check through the records daily and update them regularly. Using RPA, this process can be automated by reading the scanned documents and updating them in real time.
Maintenance of machinery records:
A manufacturing unit requires adequate machinery for production. The machinery also needs proper maintenance for it to work at maximum efficiency. The machinery records need to be updated on a regular basis about its maintenance and other details such as condition of machinery, spare parts required, etc. All this data needs to be stored somewhere so that it can be accessed easily and when required. Using RPA for this task will help in maintaining all this data in one place and keeping it up-to-date without any human errors.
Staff credential verification and record maintenance:
It is important for any organization to have all relevant employee data at hand when required. Many manufacturing companies and factories have various processes to verify the credentials of their employees. Theses credentials include verifying their employee ID, issuing badges for their new employees, etc. The employee badges are handed over only after careful verification of all employee credentials. This is a time-consuming process which is also prone to human error. Using RPA bots, all employee documents can be scanned and stored in a centralized database from where they can be accessed easily whenever required.
In addition to this, even employee attendance, performance records, leaves, salary records, etc can be monitored and maintained through RPA.
It is known to all that billing is a tedious chore, especially if there are thousands of invoices to go through every day. Manufacturers spend a lot of time on processing invoices and ensuring accuracy. Thus, the manufacturing industry uses RPA for billing. RPA bots can capture information from an invoice, extract key fields and feed them into an ERP system. RPA solutions can streamline invoice processes and remove errors that normally occur when humans handle it.
Monitoring production lines:
For any product manufacturing company, monitoring the production lines on a regular basis is necessary for effective supply chain management. RPA can help in achieving this by detecting any anomalies and scheduling alerts and automatically updating management dashboards that display real-time status of the production line. If a problem occurs on the line, RPA bots can reroute work to other machines so that production does not have to stop.
Waste management is one of the most crucial aspects to keep production costs low. RPA can help manufacturing companies with waste management. RPA allows manufacturers to digitize many repetitive processes, which allows them to detect any issues with product quality. It can be used to track the waste being generated in production process and then optimize the production process accordingly. It would also help identify areas which are causing excessive wastage and take corrective actions for it. Moreover, when a manufacturer uses RPA to manage their waste, they can reduce their environmental footprint and save money by maximizing their resources.
For a manufacturing company, it is essential to provide customers with products in a timely manner to meet customer demand at all times. In addition, inventory management helps manufacturers avoid stock-outs or overstocking, both of which have adverse effects on profitability. Since the manufacturing industry produces a variety of products with different components, it is important for manufacturers to know exactly how much inventory they have at all times in order to avoid delays and ensure order fulfillment.
RPA can help with inventory tracking as well by using barcodes on products which are then scanned by bots to determine the quantity of each product at each stage. This information can then be fed into an ERP system which would give real time updates to everybody concerned.
Data migration is an important RPA use case in the manufacturing industry as it helps migrate data from legacy systems to newer ones. Automation can also be used when migrating from one system to another due to acquisitions or mergers. The process of data migration usually involves cleaning up data, updating data, re-formatting and other tasks which are repetitive and tedious. The RPA bots can help with this task by automating it. These bots can debug bad data or incorrect entries which were made during manual processing.
Manufacturing companies are required to adhere to many rules and regulations like food safety, labor, safety compliance. Automating these processes ensures that they meet all norms by storing data in a proper format. Thus, RPA also plays an important role in regulatory compliance of the company along with all its employees.
RPA use cases in the manufacturing industry are extremely compelling and more than just analysis. It is about improving efficiency and cutting cost at various stages of operations. From task automation to fraud detection, from support of industrial IoT devices to enterprise integration, from intelligent customer service desk to data analytics- RPA addresses them all. Simultaneously, it creates opportunities for a new breed of intelligence workers in the industry, who are capable of handling varied business requirements and finding correlations to help the management make informed decisions.