RPA in the Manufacturing Industry

T-Impact work with enthusiastic and driven manufacturers seeking to empower their workforce and improve efficiency using digital transformation. Our robotic process automation & AI subscription model enables you to develop a strong business case before embarking on further automation projects, as well as achieving large levels of ROI within the first year of operation.

Speak with one of our experts today to learn how other manufacturing organisations are already embracing this technology and what you can do to get ahead of the market. You can also visit our resources centre to download a copy of the ‘RPA Use Cases in Manufacturing” guide.

What are the disruptions to Manufacturing?

Shifting Regulatory Environments

Companies do not have the time to brief staff on the latest legislation, meaning that changes to health and safety regulations have left organisations on the wrong side of the law.

Under-skilled Staff

Manufacturers have found themselves operating over capacity due to a shortage of highly-skilled workers. Product quality is also affected.

Communication Issues

A lack of direct communication internally and externally means that vital details are withheld or missed due to technological and staffing limitations.

Emerging Technologies

5G connectivity, sensor technology and the Industrial Internet of Things has created massive levels of unstructured data for manufacturing firms.

Global Competition

Manufacturing firms have to adapt, offering unique propositions to remain competitive. Production is shifting towards high-value technology products of services to avoid price wars.

What can robotics do for manufacturing? 

Manufacturing has always used physical robots in assembly, testing, and packaging. Back-office operations have, however, remained understaffed and under-utilised resulting in delays. Problems like under-skilled staff and shifting regulations have reduced efficiencies for manufacturing firms. They have turned to RPA to optimise these back-end operations. RPA is now the essential tool for manufacturers to maximise their output for minimal cost.

Software robotics is essential for manufacturers to access new revenue streams and improve back-end efficiency. A balance of highly skilled virtual workers and technically skilled human staff can quickly lead to massive improvements in output, revenue and profit.

RPA is best used in rule-based processes with a high volume of data and clear workflow. In manufacturing, they can specifically be deployed for:

Managing Stock and Inventory

• Robots can monitor and control inventory levels.

• They can generate stock notifications and automatically re-order products when necessary.

• Minimal shortages of materials occur as a result.

Purchase Orders

• RPA can use a rule-based workflow function to extract data.

• Approval is obtained from senior staff and the request is processed accordingly.

• Capacity is shared and bottlenecks are avoided.

Vendor Communication

• The virtual workforce can open and manage all emails, downloading attachments when necessary.

• Details are logged into the central hub and the next action is determined.

• Human staff are freed, to focus on complex tasks instead.

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The Robotics involved in Manufacturing 

AI and Robotics in manufacturing have traditionally been limited to the assembly line. However, new modern Robotic Process Automation (RPA) refers to software robots that can perform a variety of manual functions such as opening emails, processing data and downloading attachments.

By mimicking human activity, RPA can perform the same functions as humans on your console, creating and accessing information in your existing systems. When partnered with AI platforms such as IBM Watson, Microsoft AI and Google DeepMind, these tools can work in tandem to manage more complex processes.

 

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What are the benefits of RPA in Manufacturing?

Robotic Process Automation is essential for manufacturing firms to continue delivering a high ROI, but other benefits include:

Reduced Operational Costs

RPA can work 24/7 without stopping. You won’t need additional staff to support busy seasonal periods.

Standardised Levels of Quality

Your virtual workforce replicates every process identically. Quality assurance checks are efficient and extensive.

Improved Control and Assurance

Your RPA records every action end-to-end, so you have full visibility of where the robots are adding value.

Seamless Integration

Robots can be easily incorporated into your existing IT architecture without incurring significant costs or structural changes.

Free Key Staff Members

Robotics unlocks important staff members. Rather than dealing with administration, they can focus on generating revenue streams and business development opportunities.

FAQs

Where do most Manufacturing Companies start when looking to implement robotics?

Although every division can benefit from the introduction of RoboticProcess Automation (RPA). Numerous forward-thinking councils are already experimenting with automation in a number of different areas. Most manufacturing companies start by automating high value transactions, where quality and accuracy is critical. This is typically in (1) revenue benefits, (2) finance and (3) HR departmentsMuch of this work is rules-based, repetitive and time-consuming, an ideal fit for automation. Staff released from this admin work can then invest time enhancing council revenue. 

Common examples include Accounts receivables, Accounts Payable, Supplier setup, on-boarding new starters, leavers. 

HOW IS ROBOTICS RELEVANT TO ME, AS A MANAGING Director OF A manufacturing company?

You want to innovate and grow your company and need technology to support your ambitions. It can be hard to convince your peers to invest in long-term and risky technology projects. Robotics is an easy technology to start your digital transformation journey. It works with your existing IT systems and doesn’t require integration or APIs to be built. Your return on investment is quick – allowing you to trial new ideas and evolve the ones that show promise.

 

I’ve read about ai tools that are replacing manufacturing jobs. How does robotics factor into this?

Artificial Intelligence is a powerful technology that aims to simulate human thought. The technology isn’t there yet, so current technology is being used to identify and deal with complex data patterns. AI requires training and this requires a large volume of data. AI requires interfaces to access existing IT systems and the results must be communicated in a way that affects the service your customer receives.

If you think of AI as the brains, think of Robotics as the hands. Robotics performs work as humans do today, accessing IT systems (including spreadsheets, websites, and email) to complete processes which deliver value to your customers. Robots don’t require interfaces; they access the screens and reports that your staff use. Robotics links into the most common AI platforms enabling you to introduce AI into your business processes.

Robotics – also called Robotic Process automation – helps you reduce the manual work involved in administration. It is a technology that can be applied to any number of processes across your company, reducing errors, increasing profits and improving customer satisfaction.

Speak to Our Experts

If you would like more information on how our Robotic Process Automation can help your manufacturing business, please enter your details and one of our experts will be in touch shortly to discuss your requirements and set up a demonstration.

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MANUFACTURING TESTIMONIALS

Management and Administration

Financial Operations

Management and Administration

Gavin Goates, CEO of PCML Ltd.

Financial Operations

Nadine Bishop, Finance Director at PCML Ltd.