India, April 10, 2021–The COVID-19 pandemic has put every industry under stress disrupting business operations in unprecedented ways and the manufacturing industry was no exception. Manufacturing is a highly labor-intensive industry and the pandemic forced the manufacturers to think of ways to reduce the dependency on manual labor while allowing their workforce to focus more on strategic things.
In the case of Excellent Products (name changed to protect identity), they were heavily reliant on manual processes. But they wanted to leverage the technology to improve their business efficiency and approached Bautomate Intelligent Business Automation. Bautomate is known for its highly versatile automation solutions that can help businesses to standardize and automate business processes.
Mr Arun (name changed to protect identity), Head-Production Control, Excellent Products, explains how Bautomate helped them achieve business efficiency through RPA technology.
Arun says that Bautomate discovered the areas of improvement where robotic process automation (RPA) can be utilized to improve efficiency and they suggested deploying RPA in three major areas of manufacturing.
Extracting information from the documents
Integration with ERP system for Production Order Management
Extracting information from the documents using Bautomate’s RPA technology
Extracting data from documents is a crucial component in the manufacturing industry. Till Bautomate entered, we were using the manual workforce to do the process, which used to be very time-consuming and prone to errors.
Bautomate classified our documents. They analyzed and told us that we were getting different kinds of documents in a wide variety of templates, styles, formatting, and sometimes language. Hence, Bautomate recommended not to rely only on the OCR technique to extract the data but use both rule-based approaches and model-based approaches within OCR to handle data from different document structures.
Bautomate integrated OCR in RPAs based on the type of documents. Since our documents fell into three broad categories such as structured data, semi-structured data and unstructured data, Bautomate leveraged different approaches to solve the challenge.
Since the layouts and templates are usually and almost consistent in structured documents, Bautomate used a template or rule-based engine to extract the information from such documents.
To extract data from semi-structured documents, documents having the same information but arranged in different positions, they used machine learning and deep learning models for information extraction using OCR.
In some cases, Bautomate also used hybrid models involving both rules and ML models.
For the unstructured documents, they used techniques from Natural Language Processing (NLP) like Named Entity Recognition and Word Embedding.
We realized that RPA is cost-effective and simple to implement. Now, we can convert any digital text format to other data formats that are easily editable. Integrating RPA in our company ensured high efficiency in terms of data extraction workflows. It automated tedious and manual tasks. Now, extracting specific data from an order confirmation or a sales order is quick, effective and has been saving countless hours of manual work for us.
Automatic Validation using Bautomate’s RPA technology
Clean contact data is crucial for a company’s workflow. And we as a manufacturing organization knew that we needed to refine and filter the incoming raw data into a useful form. But we were perplexed about which way to go- either do it manually using our team and resources or depend on an agency to get it done efficiently.
Initially, we were hesitant to follow the agency method as we thought it would cost us a high fee. But when we received the quotation from Bautomate, we realized that they can get it done more efficiently and accurately without burning a hole in our budget. Hence, we decided to go with Bautomate’s data validation solution. With this, we also realized we could save our team’s time and budget while yielding cleaner and more up-to-date results through Bautomate’s RPA.
After we automated our validation system, we could eliminate human errors and handle multiple receipts with speed. Automation has also improved safety, increased productivity and paved the way for electronic documentation.
Integration with ERP system for Production Order Management
Efficient and reliable production order execution is critical to keep the manufacturing function well. For effective execution, all the operations of the business system should be aligned with the shop floor including systems, entities and people involved in the process. Bautomate provided a solution for us to ensure that the production is efficient and reliable as they integrated plant operations and enterprise business applications (ERP).
The integration between plant operations and enterprise business applications brought in improved productivity, flexibility and quality control for us. To use the ERP to its full potential, RPA technology was used for production order management.
Bautomate established bidirectional integration between various ERP systems and process control, creating a channel of data exchange for the production flow. Today, the data exchanged includes order details and configuration, product unit details, workflow information, Bill of Material (BOM), quality test result, labor times and instant reporting of material consumption and goods produced.
With timely information from the ERP system, we could achieve production order dispatching and execution efficiently.
By integrating the shop floor with the ERP system, we could ensure an error-free process as orders are managed without a manual paper error, now.
In a nutshell, I can say that we could achieve 100 % accuracy in process results while we reduced the processing time by 40%.
While we reduced the operational cost by 10 %, there is a 26% revenue increase per employee and a 50% increase in customer satisfaction.