Robotic Process Automation: The Secret to Supply Chain Management Success

Source: Innovation Enterprise

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is defined as the application of technology that allows employees in a company to configure computer software or a “robot” to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems.

According to a 2017 study by global technology research firm Information Services Group (ISG), within the next two years, 72 percent of companies are expected to be using RPA to minimize costs, reduce transaction times, increase productivity, and improve levels of compliance.

Furthermore, the study shows that this kind of automation technology is allowing for a 43 percent reduction in resources needed for order-to-cash processes, 34 percent for invoicing, and 32 percent for vendor and talent management.

These numbers prove to be a huge gain for those concerned with effective management of their supply chains – like manufacturing and distribution companies. The adoption of automation within supply chain management (until recently) has been slow, but with the development of new automation innovations, a growing number of companies are beginning to rely on RPA to streamline the flow of goods on their supply chains and gain a competitive advantage with customers.

The potential for automation within the supply chain combined with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems is changing the way manufacturers and distributors are handling their work processes.

In the beginning, RPA ‘robots’ lacked the agility required to keep up with the pace of technology developments. As advancements in the evolution of the automation technology continue, however, there’s real potential for the growth of supply chain management. Companies that have long relied on a range of technologies, such as ERP, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and/or Transformation Management Systems (TMS) don’t have to rely on them as much today.

The incorporation of cognitive and knowledge-based capabilities with RPA is allowing software robots to act like human employee, freaky right? As a result of these cognitive capabilities, RPA is being adopted within the supply chain to duplicate the actions of human employees: processing data, communicating with customers, and making better informed decisions based on past actions and analytics.

RPA in Supply and Demand Planning

Before automation capabilities, supply and demand planning was not easy. Employees would have to seek out and gather the required data, combine the data into a standardized format, run simulations, analyze data exceptions, and finally confirm and communicate the plan to the right contact.

Enter RPA technology and these tasks can be automated and streamlined for you. RPA also enhances supply chain cycle time, agility, increases capacity and asset efficiency, improves receivables, as well as increases levels of supplier, customer, and employee satisfaction.


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Elizabeth Quirk
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