What does the future hold of Manufacturing?

Skills shortages, demand forecasting and inventory management are still some of the toughest challenges in manufacturing today. But can a digital workforce help solve some of these pains?

Skill shortage

81% of leaders in manufacturing surveyed in a report by Crowe (a leading audit, tax, advisory and risk firm), said they had difficulty recruiting skilled staff, due to various issues. The main being a struggle to find the right skills, though Brexit would have a significant impact too

The skilled workforce, mostly baby-boomers are aging and retiring, though they are hardly being replaced by new graduates how are tending toward more cutting-edge technologies. I, myself opted to move into fintech and automation instead of perusing a potential engineering career in Formula One or Aerospace

Deloitte estimated a job shortage of about 2.4 million in manufacturing by 2028 in the US alone, that’s a $2.5trillion impact.

Can intelligent automation provide a solution for finding the right skillset more effectively, can this technology work with works and physical robots to help manufacturers do more with less?

Skills shortage: finding a needle in a haystack:

Training and knowledge retention are some of the key solutions to solving this issue, as well as attracting skilled labour and graduates in the first place. And though Robotic process automation can’t assist with manual tasks to make up for the shortage in skills workers, Intelligent automation (RPA and AI) can help manufacturing businesses find the right skillset or right apprentice who will be a great addition to their team.

CV filtering is not new, and there are some very good CV analysis software out there which should be considered if you have the budget. However, a cheaper and effective way is combining RPA and Natural Language AI to check for such things as keywords, phrases, calculate years of experience, to identify your top 10% most suitable applicants and can even part-automate the initial interview setup, on-boarding or rejection processes

This can be a fairly quick set up– saving your hiring team hours of time scanning CVs and responding to job seekers. AntWorks has an interesting cognitive machine reading solution which is quite straight forward to customise and train, and can work in tandem with your RPA provider of choice

Skills shortage: augmenting existing staff:

Augmenting existing staff with RPA and AI can considerably improve productivity, accuracy and compliance, and by automating your back-office processes, RPA can collection and share data amongst legacy systems that had previous not communicate well with each other.

More data on digital processes leads to better reporting and in the world of lean manufacturing, better insights for re-engineering processes

Robotic process automation (RPA) is an extremely versatile software platform which allows businesses to quickly build automated processes by mimicking the clicks and keystrokes of staff for specific processes and tasks. It can only work on digitised processes that do not require any human intuitive, as an RPA robot can only make logic-based decisions. RPA is most suitable for high volume, repetitive tasks

HR, Finance and Accounting are some of the common areas for automating processes. Here are a few of the processes that can be automated:

The best place to start is to understand how worthwhile adopting RPA would be by calculating how much potential savings exists in your business right now.

What is the total effort in manhours for manual processes like the ones mentioned above?

A simple calculation of (volume of each process) x (average handling time of each process). You may uncover six, seven or even eight figures of untapped finance savings if these processes where automated

Find an automation consultant to help you determine the complexity, timeframe and cost for implementing these automations, to determine the payback period and ROI

If the business case stacks up, it’s time to start thinking about this strategically. Look for expert advice to stand up a Centre of Excellence team to successfully deliver automation company-wide

Tony writes for the Digital Transformation network, educating businesses in using new cutting-edge technologies.

To learn more about using Process automation and other technologies, check out the AEIO YOU® Portal, a one-stop centre of excellence enablement platform for getting value from RPA and IA – speak to your local AEIO YOU® partner to learn more