The Digital Supply Chain Company

How to Become More Efficient Using RPA in the Procurement Process

RPA in the Procurement Process
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Posted by John Delligatti on Wed, 06/30/2021

The transactional nature of maintenance, repair, and operations procurement make it a target-rich environment for robotic process automation. The desire for manufacturers to cut costs, reduce material risk, and maximize efficiencies in an area often still thought of as an unavoidable cost center, is accelerating the movement. 

A No-Brainer for MRO

 Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is simply the implementation of computer routines and macros that accomplish routine, complex, or time-consuming tasks that take workers’ time away from more productive and profitable activities. Tasks that require careful rote calculations or are boring to the point of distraction are perfect for RPA. Machines do not get careless, bored or distracted. Imagine the boost to revenues and morale if you could program an application to reliably and automatically handle these jobs:

  • Data lookup, entry, extraction, and transfer from sources to downstream systems.
  • Preparation and response to requests for information/proposals/pricing.
  • Compilation and validation of daily reports for use by upper management in planning the next period’s tactics.
  • Checking, comparing, and reconciling discrepancies in invoices, bills of lading, etc.
  • Updating contract terms, and spare part and consumables ordering.

Getting Started

 Companies that perform millions of transactions involving thousands of SKUs and hundreds of suppliers can actualize immediate and long-term benefits from RPA. SDI helps clients not only understand what RPA can accomplish but also how the process can be applied to their particular business model and workflow. Much like our supply chain management services, our first step is to fully understand your organization, identify the low-value manual tasks your team undertakes, develop and implement the logistics required to allocate those tasks to robotic processes, and ensure your talent and resources are redirected to jobs requiring human intervention, judgment and analysis.
SDI’s RPA services empowers better decisions because it ensures the data informing those decisions is accurate and current. RPA can extract, transform, and load data into various platforms in seconds what would take a data entry team days to finish. This translates to better proficiency all along the supply chain and across functions:

  • Procurement – Error-free orders, cost assignation, compliance, and payment.
  • Sourcing – Shortening of tail spend, supplier consolidation, data aggregation, and contract management.
  • Maintenance – Monitoring of parts for wear and tear, predicting and scheduling optimal service times, communicating with customers when maintenance may affect delivery.
  • Inventory – Generating warnings or automatically reorder when critical supplies run low, SKU ID validation, integration of batch picking and kitting with demand forecasts.

Easy Wins

SDI can evaluate your company and discover how RPA can streamline your MRO supply chain management workflow. We can find easily implementable early success candidates to help you achieve buy-in from executives and front-line contributors for more extensive implementation. Here’s a sample of what we have been able to achieve for clients:

  • Eliminated the manual deletion of irrelevant columns and rows in Excel spreadsheets that was required for the daily emailed report containing a pivot table of the remaining change data. Not only does RPA apply the search criteria to find and eliminate the right data, but it also creates the pivot table updating the day’s sourcing numbers and sends the email! Hours of monotony is reduced to a few seconds and a couple of keystrokes.
  •  Automated the extraction process to pull data that has been input, changed or calculated to eliminate errors and keystrokes. To reach this point. SDI documented the keystrokes and mouse movements the user was required to perform to reach the internet and intranet sites were the data and spreadsheets exist. We then programed this procedure so a bot could learn it and replicate it. The bot then reads the file and collects the specific data fields corresponding to the client, supplier, invoice, or part the user is working on.

 SDI is ready to help you overcome the challenges and reap the full benefit of RPA. We have assembled an experienced team to help you build flexible, standardized, automated workflows that replicate success while achieving economy of scale. We provide the expertise to build, implement, manage, and support your RPA infrastructure that workers cannot wait to adopt, and leaders cannot help champion.
Contact us for a free demonstration.

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