Transforming Smart Factories with RPA

Transforming Smart Factories with RPA

One of the biggest differences in business-related technology between 20 years ago and today is that nowadays, it’s possible to implement effective solutions with significantly less investment in time, effort, and capital.  Process-digitization, 3D printing, Internet of Things (IoT), along with machines and RPA technology allows industries to better serve their customers by processing and manufacturing their orders more quickly. A recent PwC survey indicates that a third of the manufacturing industry has already digitized their supply chain, and three fourths expect to do so by 2020.

Let’s explore three ways in which RPA technology has transformed Smart Factories today.

  1. Getting products where they need to be, faster

According to Industry Europe, an efficient manufacturing operation focuses as much on getting the product to a customer as designing and creating it. However, the globalized economy has made shipping and distribution challenging.

Tarsus Distribution, a leading IT distributor in South Africa, struggled to keep up with inefficient processes that make it difficult to ship products. These processes required significant manual data entry, to the point where they didn’t have the staff to cover it. They decided to try RPA technology, implementing a robot that automated the data-entry of its suppliers’ invoices. They discovered that their main problem was the invoices’ formats.

RPA allowed them not only to automate data-entry, but also ensure complete data accuracy while processing shipments faster than ever.

Industry Europe reports the ROI of this automation:

  • 100% data capturing and data entry accuracy
  • 76 shipments processed by the robot in three hours
  • Three to four hours of manual work saved per shipment
  1. Speeding up back-end finances

Industry Europe affirms that the pace of a factory’s transformation into a Smart Factory will be as fast as its back end. In particular, finance departments can have incredibly complex operations, which can lead to chaos quickly as the number of orders and updates grows. The more systems become interconnected, the more chances there are for errors to compound.

Clariant, a speciality chemicals manufacturer, faced the immense challenge of keeping up with the number of invoices it had to process: more than 800,000. These invoices varied in language and format, and while some vendors sent a neatly ordered form, others sent a hastily scrawled note. Collating, organising, and using all of this data involved manual tasks at almost every step, which caused inefficiency and errors.

Implementing an RPA platform automated almost half of all invoices.

The ROI of Automation:

  • 50% of invoice processing in the pilot region is now automatic
  • 2,500 invoices processed per month entirely with robots
  1. Scaling new technology adoption

The greatest challenge when implementing new technologies is that they be capable of growing at the same pace that the company needs them to. The success of a technological investment doesn’t depend on how much is spent, but rather how the technology is deployed and scaled.

General Electric (GE), a Fortune 500 company with product lines across the aviation, energy, and manufacturing industries, adopted RPA with two main objectives: high-scale RPA adoption and enhanced productivity across the enterprise.

GE created an RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) that coordinated and lined up automation projects across multiple regions with a special emphasis on training hundreds of finance professionals to use RPA. According to Europe Industry, the level of automation that GE reached translated to hundreds of millions of dollars in productivity benefits by scaling RPA.

As with these cases, Conciliac’s clients have received the counsel and tools needed to modernize their industries. Get to know the solutions that Conciliac has developed to transform your business.

Author: Team Conciliac


“4 Ways RPA Is Changing Modern Manufacturing”, December 2019, Industry Europe