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Manufacturers & Distributors

Emerging Tech for Manufacturing: RPA & the Human Workforce

Posted on June 29, 2021 by

Jim Biehl

Jim Biehl

Elly Mioduszewski

Elly Mioduszewski

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Many of today’s manufacturing jobs include repetitive tasks that could pull qualified talent away from more essential responsibilities. While nearly one-fifth of manufacturers continue to hesitate over the technological changes brought about by the digital revolution, there are many technologies that can improve and optimize your production. For the completion of jobs, your business can utilize Robotic Process Automation or RPA. Unlike other technologies, including artificial intelligence, that often replace human workers with machines, RPA is most often adapted to emulate the actions of a human workforce and automate specific business processes to work in concert with people.

Benefits of RPA

By adapting your facility to accommodate RPA, you can:

  • Optimize time‐centric and routine processes
  • Increase the go‐to‐market speed through maximized productivity
  • Reduce cost by minimizing human error
  • Increase operational agility and efficiency
  • Decrease turnover and elevate employee satisfaction

RPA as a Digital Assistant

RPA can act as a digital assistant on the facility floor or for common office functions. Whether it is human resources, finance & accounting, your IT systems, sales & marketing, or facility management, a manufacturer can program RPA software to interpret and communicate data in the same way as humans but with fewer mistakes, the ability to function 24/7, and reduced processing costs of up to 80%. RPA is a technology that frees people to function in areas where critical thinking and adaptability skills are at a premium.

RPA by the Numbers

Consider the following research from Automation Anywhere, Grand View Research, IBM, NICE, and QPR:

  • The global robotic process automation market size was valued at $1.40 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $11 billion by 2027 (GVR)
  • Employees spend 10%-25% of their time on repetitive computer tasks (AA)
  • 98% of IT leaders say automating business processes is vital to driving business benefit (AA)
  • More than 90% of C-level executives using intelligent automation say their organization performs above average in managing organizational change in response to emerging business trends (IBM)
  • RPA can reduce labor intensive tasks by 80%. (AA)
  • Greater process understanding can improve 80% of automation focused on exception handling (QPR)
  • 38% of managers reported compliance improvements as the leading benefit of RPA; followed by improved productivity/performance (27%) (NICE)

How RPA Can Help

Robotic process automation is the trend of manufacturing’s next decade and RPA can help companies operate at a fraction of the cost by leveraging the existing infrastructure and implementing new technologies without fully replacing the human aspect. RPA is also compatible with most of the existing production processes, making it a better solution than other automation options. By programming robotics to handle any repetitive process, your business can scale up faster and become more flexible — allowing you to capitalize on opportunities you could never have entered a decade or two earlier.

You can consider the following roles for RPA implementation immediately and look to expanding the technology into other areas moving forward:

  • Administration and reporting by automating functions like scheduling meetings, ordering supplies, responding to e-mails and recording meeting minutes
  • Invoice processing by automating the entire effort from start-to-finish while achieving faster speed and greater accuracy
  • Inventory management by monitoring current stock and suggesting purchases based on historical data while digitizing paperwork previously managed by a human workforce
  • Customer service through a customer service management (CSM) solution and direct communication with customers via advanced applications
  • Data migration of legacy systems to new systems while flagging inconsistencies and errors in real-time

As your business and your competition increases its dependence on emerging technologies, incorporating technologies that improve administrative efficiency will allow you to dedicate resources on the floor to other more expensive technologies including artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

Contact Us

For more information on robotic process automation technology in manufacturing & distribution, call us at 248.208.8660 or start a conversation today. Interested in other emerging technologies that could move your manufacturing business forward? Check out Clayton & McKervey content on enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain technology, and cybersecurity.

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Jim Biehl

Shareholder, Manufacturing & Distribution

Leading the firm’s manufacturing & distribution group, Jim has built a reputation for providing strategic tax, accounting and operational support to owners.

Elly Mioduszewski

Manager, Consulting

Elly is an integral member of the firm's digital advisory group, helping owners leverage data analytics and improve their business processes.

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