In the age of Industry 4.0, global manufacturers are turning to automation to improve their productivity and lower costs. The global market size of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is set to reach $30.85 billion by 2030.

Manufacturing jobs are undoubtedly ripe and ready for automation-based technologies. McKinsey has previously reported that 87% of manual work performed by manufacturing workers can be automated. Additionally, automation has a significant opportunity in manufacturing-related occupations like maintenance, material movement, and engineering.

Manufacturing companies also use technologies like AI and RPA to streamline back-office processes like vendor payments, communication, and report generation.

Here is a detailed look at the challenges, business applications, and benefits of RPA in the manufacturing domain.

Challenges of RPA in the Manufacturing Industry

According to Ernst & Young, nearly 30-50% of initial RPA projects fail. Among the significant challenges, RPA implementation incurs high upfront costs. Enterprises need to understand that, on the positive side, it provides healthy returns on investment in a relatively shorter period. Additionally, organizations must align their business and IT objectives when implementing RPA.

David Wright of Deloitte Consulting points out, “IT is absolutely critical to the successful deployment of RPA.” He adds that supporting strategic technology initiatives can bring a “significant difference in speed and cost.”

Manufacturing organizations implementing RPA without this support tend to create “implementation silos” in their IT infrastructure and architecture.

Besides this challenge, some organizations need a clear and consistent RPA strategy. Zeeshan Rajan of PwC emphasizes, “RPA is a technology that is easy to use, but things take time, and so does an RPA implementation.” A successful RPA implementation requires significant business transformation and change management.

Implementation of RPA in the Manufacturing industry

Here’s a rundown of RPA’s implementation (or use cases) in the manufacturing industry:

1. Data Migration

Effective digital transformation requires that manufacturing companies migrate their applications and data to the cloud or a modern ERP system. Whatever the reason, RPA-based robots can automate and increase the speed of data migration. Additionally, RPA-enabled systems can reduce the cost of data migration.

2. ERP Automation

ERP-based automation can drive significant benefits like higher productivity and cost efficiency. However, ERP automation is challenging to implement in a changing business environment. Manufacturers can leverage RPA capabilities to implement ERP with minimum disruption to their existing systems.

3. Inventory Management

Inventory management in the manufacturing industry is often rife with many concerns, including a lack of operational visibility, inefficient stock handling, and the absence of a centralized inventory management system. RPA helps in streamlining inventory management through:

  • Automated order processing and receipts
  • Real-time visibility into inventory flows and supply chains
  • Accurate inventory forecasting

4. Invoice Processing

RPA-enabled solutions can also automate invoice-related processes like invoice generation and payment processing. Manufacturers can reduce invoicing-related errors and delays and improve the customer experience.

5. Admin Tasks Automation

RPA solutions can also automate administrative tasks in the manufacturing industry. This includes back-office tasks like scheduling meetings, ordering office supplies, tracking employee attendance, and responding to business emails.

Benefits of RPA in Manufacturing

Manufacturing companies depend heavily on reliable processes, where RPA can deliver business value. Here are some of the benefits of implementing RPA solutions in a manufacturing business:

Cost Saving

RPA solutions in the manufacturing domain involve a one-time setup cost. However, in the long run, RPA can deliver cost savings in the following areas:

  • Automation can replace manual labour, thus saving labour costs.
  • It can eliminate the expenses that otherwise went into maintaining legacy and outdated IT systems.
  • It can reduce administrative time and associated costs.

RPA solutions can save up to 20% of manufacturing costs.

Reduction in Human Error

RPA solutions enable manufacturers to improve efficiency by reducing human or manual errors. For instance, RPA can automate administrative tasks like payroll processing, thus allowing the finance team to focus on high-value tasks. Additionally, RPA performs repetitive or low-value tasks, thus boosting job satisfaction in the existing workforce.

Improved Operational Efficiency

Shibaji Das of UiPath stresses the role of RPA for manufacturers before they can upgrade their ERP systems. For instance, RPA can streamline manufacturing processes like demand planning and procurement. Along with AI technology, RPA can play an important role in distribution channels, warehouse management, and logistics.

Customer Service

RPA can improve customer experience by automating back-office and administrative functions. By reducing the time spent on repetitive tasks, RPA can reduce the time to market for delivered products. Further, data analytics tools can analyze RPA data to identify and rectify any process bottlenecks.

Next, let’s discuss how Emergys can help manufacturers implement RPA.

How Emergys Can Help with RPA Implementation

At Emergys, we enable manufacturing companies to implement RPA correctly with our expertise in AI, machine learning, analytics and text recognition. Through our RPA-based cognitive automation, our manufacturing customers have been successful at:

  • Mitigating or reducing human error
  • Automating repetitive tasks
  • Improving process efficiency
  • Reducing operational costs

We offer our technical expertise for products such as UiPath, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, etc.

Conclusion

Manufacturers can leverage RPA technology across back-office, customer service, and administration functions. Overall, RPA solutions can mitigate losses (due to manual efforts) by up to 30%.

At Emergys Solutions, we offer customized RPA services that automate various tasks across the manufacturing domain. Here is a blog that talks about the potential of RPA in enabling cognitive automation for enterprises.

Are you seeking the right technology partner in your RPA journey? We can help. Contact us today!

Emergys Blog

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