RPA for the Automotive Industry

Automotive companies are turning to robotic process automation (RPA) to streamline operations, reducing costs by automating tedious tasks. This frees employees to focus on higher value work.

What is robotic process automation?

RPA is an application of software robots. These are governed by business logic and structured inputs, aimed at automating business processes. An autootive company can configure the RPA software robots to capture and interpret applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other data systems. RPA can be used things as simple as automating a response to an email to deploying hundreds of software robots, each configured to automate a separate activity in an ERP platform.

Because Robotic Process Automation replicates the inputting behaviour of a worker, using the same software and user interfaces, there is none of the large-scale disruption associated with a technology roll out. A company may have spent years selecting and deploying software in their business.  On top of this layers of security to protect the business. Robotic Process Automation allows for all this to remain in place. It does not need the opening up of systems to third-party APIs or the resulting potential security risks.

The ease of adopting Robotic Process Automation allows for focus on immediate benefits. These include cost reduction, operational efficiencies and reducing errors. RPA automates existing systems rather than replacing them.

The IT resource needed for an RPA rollout is low as there are no new IT platforms or services to be deployed.  And the benefits are faster to be realised.  Which makes Robotic Process Automation deployments easy to justify economically.

What are the benefits of RPA for Automotive companies?

In our experience, there is a very strong case for the use of RPA software robots in the automation industry.  This is because of the masses of data companies need to manage to be competitive and compliant; there is a lot of value software robots will add at both front and back end.

Here are some more specific examples.

• Automation of the joiners/movers and leavers process. Implementing a software robot to fully manage this process for the team as it is time-consuming and hard to scale. The software robot will log into all the necessary applications and mimic the keystrokes normally carried out by the team to set up/move or remove people from all systems in the correct manner.

• Automation of the accounting process, bank reconciliation, all of AP etc including time sheet reconciliation and payment. Software robots are perfect for accounts because of its repetitive nature handling large volumes of data. One software robot can remove up to 70% of a teams work.

• Compliance, as compliance is standardised across the automotive industry it becomes possible to template most of the requests and the software robot will carry out those actions.

Legal departments need to raise agreements and NDAs and this can be automated by a software robot.

• Data migration – One company is in the progress of migrating to Microsoft Office 365 so a software robot will move the data from their existing database and uploading into Office 365. Doing it this way is quicker and with zero error rate.

• Requirement absorption / actioning from client portals / email. Quickly processing requirements.

What are the pitfalls of RPA?

Installing software robots bots has taken a lot longer and is more complex than most organisations have hoped it would be.  Expectations have been set too high with people thinking they will be able to automate 100% of the processes.  And far too often the projects have failed because they have been scoped out by inexperienced staff.  This leads to the selection of the wrong technology and the desired outcomes never being achievable.

These issues are avoided by working with a consultancy who not only understand Robotic Process Automation but also have experience in the automotive industry.  While there is an overlap across all industries, automotive has its own peculiarities which need to be accounted for when specifying, deploying and managing a Robotic Process Automation solution.

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