5 ways RPA improves the manufacturing industry
While some manufacturing businesses are integrating robots on the factory floor, a different kind of robot is increasingly useful in other areas, such as the office. These robots are essentially algorithms that perform repetitive tasks quickly and without human error. This is robotic process automation (RPA).
RPA tools eliminate human error from simple processes, ensuring products are built and shipped on time in various ways. Here are 5 ways RPA benefits the manufacturing industry:
- Bill of materials (BOM): The BOM bridges the factory floor to the office. It lists what is required to manufacture the end product, including raw materials, sub-assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, parts and the quantities of each. Human error on the BOM can cost the business a lot of time, money and possibly the sale of a product. To avoid this, RPA can manage the BOM in real time, which ensures products will be manufactured and shipped on time.
- Inventory: Similar to the BOM, accurate inventory is necessary to manufacturing products on deadline. With human oversight, materials required for a job can be missing or used for a different project. This would lead to team members scrambling for materials. If the materials need to be shipped to the factory, time will elapse, production may slow and the sale might be lost. To avoid losing money in any of these scenarios, RPA tools can be implemented to manage the inventory in real time. RPA tools can notify the team when inventory is low to allow time for the materials to be restocked before any shortage happens.
- Compliance: Some manufacturers sell products internationally. It is time-consuming to manage compliance issues for every product and every country, but implementing RPA tools can simplify and speed up this process. RPA tools not only ensure data is processed accurately and according to compliance requirements, but they also record what they update at any given time and leave a trail of changes. This way, the business can monitor what and when something has changed.
- Communication: Communicating with clients, prospective clients and others is time-consuming. Automating some of these processes with RPA helps those on the factory floor and in the office alike. From name recognition to language detection and automatic email replies to chat-bots, a manufacturer can communicate much faster with the use of RPA tools than with humans alone.
- Data migration: Whether your data is on paper or in an old system, finding, organizing and utilizing data can be difficult and time-consuming. To streamline the migration process from partially paper to a completely new digital system, RPA tools can be integrated in the migration process. Paper files can be digitized and then integrated into the new system, and files from an old system can be transferred to the new system properly. Automating the transfer of data can save time and eliminate human error, such as duplicate or missing files.
Overall, the enemy of production is human error. RPA ensures human error is not added to the equation, allowing manufacturers to focus their time, energy and materials on building the best products for their customers.
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