To more closely consider the role of RPA in manufacturing, let’s look at a large auto company based in North America with 150,000 employees. Despite the use of physical robots in its manufacturing assembly line, the company faced significant pain points in the back office: keeping up with new regulations, lack of skilled labor, and inventory management. These factors limited the company’s ability to reduce costs, provide exceptional services and innovation to its customers, and maintain efficient communication with suppliers.
Like many other companies in the manufacturing sector, the automobile manufacturer was significantly burdened with changing regulation and compliance measures in the areas of finance, health and safety, and waste management. Because the manufacturer had a global customer and supplier base, it was especially challenged to maintain compliance with regulations that varied between countries. Furthermore, abiding by these regulations contributed to more than 11% of the company’s expenses each year.
The manufacturer was also faced with a significant skills gap because many of its skilled workers, particularly of the Baby Boom era, were retiring and rates were increasing rapidly. In order to keep up with the proportion of retiring workers, the company faced a 280% hiring increase compared to 7 years ago. Increased operational hurdles with the boom in hiring burdened the HR department (recruiting new individuals, reviewing resumes, scheduling interviews, processing paperwork).
Another labor-intensive, manual process, which was problematic was inventory control, especially due to unpredictabilities in supplier delivery and customer demand. The manufacturer was unable to maintain efficient inventory turnover and often did not have enough finished automobiles to meet customer demand.
With RPA, the auto company shifted gears. They were able to automate crucial back office processes, and also identified and improved deficiencies within these operations. By automating emails, procurement processes, as well as the digitization of paperwork, the company was able to attain better inventory control and ensure optimum levels of skills employment. Real-time monitoring of customer demand, production capacity, and inventory levels meant that the company experienced leaner, more efficient operations across the value chain, reduced costs, and enhanced communications with both suppliers and customers.
The UiPath platform never stores any process-related data from the software, meaning that all customer, supplier, and company information is kept secure throughout automation. The software robots’ actions are saved into a central log where they can be monitored and reviewed through ElasticSearch, ensuring visibility throughout a manufacturer’s supply chain and operations. The needed data is easily accessible for a potential audit and automated processes can be quickly updated to reflect changes in regulations.
UiPath is a tool for non-invasive data extraction for wider and deeper analytics, but it also provides specific analytics for each executed processes. Real-time reporting provided by the software robots allows manufacturers to determine optimal inventory levels based on previous needs, and to modify current operations based on patterns in customer demand. UiPath’s intelligent scheduling and execution mean that software robots are always working on the task with the highest priority.
Due to its computer vision technology, the UiPath platform interacts with the presentation layer by imitating a human user. Because the software is process and application-agnostic, UiPath can be seamlessly implemented in addition to existing programs, such as
UiPath relies on Google, Microsoft, and IBM and ABBYY OCR technology. This means that the platform is able to provide manufacturers with language detection, named entity recognition, and sentiment analysis capabilities that are invaluable and necessary features in automating communications. When applied to email and chat-based communication, UiPath’s automation capabilities help manufacturers respond to customer and supplier requests in a timely and efficient manner.