Business process automation (BPA) enables manufacturers to remove both simple and complex steps from their processes, which streamlines operations and results in efficiency. BPA shouldn’t be confused with industrial automation (IA), which is also widely found in manufacturing companies, as they are quite different.
IA targets human labor such as welding, machining, and assembly; BPA leverages technology to automate workflows and provide critical information at the right time. For example, inventory replenishment, late order management, exception reporting, and automatic email alerts.
The Major Benefits of Business Process Automation
Business process automation delivers tangible benefits across your entire business. It minimizes the chances for human error, streamlines processes to speed the business, provides cost efficiencies, boosts morale via higher-value work and fewer tedious tasks, and helps your company respond to issues before your staff even knows they exist.
Transformation via Process Automation
Business process automation can transform several functions. Here are several examples of inventory management and production management.
Inventory Management. Consider a company with their ERP integrated with their eCommerce system. When a customer clicks “buy” on the website, an automated workflow (process automation) sends a sales order into ERP without human intervention.
From there, further process automation leads to a whole set of workflows. The ERP system can automatically query warehouse inventory levels for that product, initiate a new purchase order if the purchase caused inventory to hit a reorder threshold, and send an automated workflow to accounting for invoicing and reconciliation. Order fulfillment and the warehouse are proactively notified to avoid stockouts.
Production Management. To perform production management accurately and efficiently, your business needs to integrate a broad set of data, including sales forecasts, supply chain availability, lead times, machine uptime/downtime, production line capacity, and more. There’s no reason the collection, aggregation, and analysis of this data should be performed manually.
For example, on completion of a production run, an automated workflow can launch label printing of “finished product.” Machine availability information, integral to production planning, can be triggered so your ERP can confirm the schedule of the next production run in the queue while reordering materials. The result is more robust, cost-efficient, and faster production management.
Business Process Automation Possibilities Are Endless
Business process automation functionality within modern ERP systems means that if you can imagine something you want to receive notifications about, you can get it. At Acuity, we specialize in understanding the business processes that underpin your business and finding ways to automate them for repeated, predictable success.