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Robotic Process Automation In Manufacturing Enterprises

Partha Mondal, Vice President - Information Technology, Atul Limited

Having 20 years of dedicated techno-functional expertise on Enterprise Oracle Applications and related technologies, Partha Mondal now bears the leadership role for envisioning the IT Strategy for Atul Limited.

The usage of physical robots in manufacturing industry is a decade old story now. With the advent of new era technologies, manufacturing industries ascend a step further to automate the business processes which at times is herculean task to perform and results into huge operational and administrative cost. The Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an integral part of Industry 4.0 revolution and has proven immensely beneficial for the manufacturing organizations to enhance operational efficiency and productivity with accelerated performance, thus, leads to a substantial reduction in operational and administrative costs. The process bots are designed to orchestrate multiple processes and tasks seamlessly with a guided operative instructions or on a self-reliant framework to cater almost all the manual repetitive operations that most of the business functions execute on day-to-day basis.

The Power of RPA – Features
Agility- The philosophy of RPA is based on agile framework which enables the solution to deploy very fast in any diversified environments and across myriad applications. Unlike traditional automation software, RPA synergies within the ecosystem in weeks and starts working to the optimal potential to add significant value proposition to the organization’s ROI.

Flexible - The flexible framework underneath of RPA enhances the adoptability of the process bots with no | minimal change in the prevailing business processes. The simplicity in working principle of RPA and Visual process designer makes it easy to espouse by business users without understanding the complexity/algorithm of RPA.

Secure & Compliant - RPA has been designed based on the enterprise security framework (AES & TLS and many more) which enforce a high security measures for the process bots and ensures the compliance aspects. In any of its form - ‘On-Premise’, ‘Public Cloud’, ‘Private Cloud’ or ‘Hybrid model’, the RPA is highly secure and ensures business continuity to the fullest possible extent.

Catalyst of Digital Transformation - RPA is the potential catalyst of digital transformation for the manufacturing enterprises. This disruptive technology can be used to bring a sea change to the organization by transposing repetitive work to software bots and encourage employees for the productive innovation.

A Mandate or Hype – Crucial Business Benefits
In today’s age of Digital Transformation, manufacturing industries, too, strives for operational excellence in optimal operational and administrative cost. Industry 4.0 which conceptualizes an integrated system, is a perfect orchestration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA)- which could bring a sea change to almost all the facets of business operations. This disruptive technology of RPA has become an utmost crucial element today

in the manufacturing world where the organizations are more focused towards productive innovations than ever and transpose the repetitive business processes to RPA.

Operational Cost Optimization – Operational and administrative cost of manufacturing enterprises can significantly be reduced by 60%-70% by RPA implementation. This also leads to obliteration of human dependency to run your manual, repetitive work, thus curtailing the resource cost, too.

Accelerated Performance – Operational performance and efficacy improve substantially post the RPA implementation. The guided or self-reliant process bots drastically enhance the performances as they are comparatively 10x faster than human elements.

Enhanced Productivity and Efficiency - Once the RPA is streamlined, the human resources are freed up and focus on the innovation and core technology, thus improving the productivity of the organization. On other side, since the processes have been executed by process bots, the human errors are completely eradicated, leading to accurate functioning.

Maximize Accuracy and Reliability - This virtual workforce maximizes accuracy of the process execution which ensures the defined process executes with precision and zero errors.

Robust Control and Compliance Enforcement – The flexible architecture and philosophy make the process bots to enforce a proper control over processes being executed and maintain the audit ability from compliance perspective. The essence of RPA lies in its amalgamation of versatile technology and integration capability of many pioneer cognitive services and technologies from third party vendors.

The Major Impediments To Implement RPA Rests In Organization’s Culture And Zeal To Embrace The Technology

Business Cases in Manufacturing Industries for RPA Automations - There are many business cases in manufacturing enterprises where RPA can be used effectively to optimize the cost and bring out the best efficacy of the software bots. Typically, in an enterprise resource planning Supplier Creation, Customer Creation, Invoice creation and validation on Payables and Receivables can very easily be automated and process bots are readily available in markets. Many process bots can also integrate with Microsoft Exchange, Single Sign-on or a wide range of EPR solutions, viz. MS Dynamics, SAP & Oracle. Artificial intelligence and cognitive intelligence can be effectively utilized for social sentiment analysis, image processing, extract and input data from and to multiple ecosystem.

Achilles Heels -
Organization Culture – The major impediments to implement RPA rests in organization’s culture and zeal to embrace the technology. The benefits to be explained to the concerned stake holders conspicuously so that in lieu of foreseeing this as potential risk, the same can be envisaged as opportunity for focused innovation.

Critical Analysis – The business processes to be evaluated thoroughly before the enterprise chooses the process to be automated through RPA. Not all process may require Software bots and one should be extremely cautious while choosing certain process automation through RPA and not just use RPA to be in the mainstream with its peers.

Top Down Strategy – The RPA implementation strategy should be led by Senior Management team and needs to be percolated down to each individual stakeholder for smooth rollout.

Implementation Strategy – Identify the ‘Right’ Business Case - The most crucial success factor for RPA implementation is apt identification of business use case. Not every business process needs process bots. The enterprise needs to critically evaluate the use cases which demands such automation and needs to take a judicial call to automate the processes where most of manual indulgence involves.

Proof of Concept (Pilot) - RPA should be initiated with a PoC, based on success factor of the pilot process automation, the same can be rolled-out to Production environment. Subsequently, the scale up of RPA can be done, if required.

Simple to Complex – Post the success factor of PoC, the implementation should start with simple process and then move towards complex process automation.

RPA is growing exponentially. An eminent global research firm has forecast it to reach $1.7B revenue in 2019 and likely to touch almost $3.0B market by 2021. Be it today or tomorrow, RPA is certainly here to rule the manufacturing world and the sooner the manufacturing enterprises adopt, the better.

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