Benefits of robotic process automation for metals companies

Ray Cheung
| 11/17/2022
Benefits of robotic process automation for metals companies

According to the most recent technology in metals survey, metals companies are continuing to invest in technology at a rapid pace. Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are leading the way in offering new ways to gain a competitive edge and step more confidently into the future with greater market share, increased profitability, and long-term sustainability.

But in the shadow of AI and ML, metals companies can easily overlook one technology: robotic process automation (RPA). And without RPA, they could be missing out on valuable benefits.

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Why is RPA essential to metals companies?

Industry 4.0 provides a framework for companies to step into digital transformation by using technologies like RPA to drive innovation and growth. In the metals industry, it’s called Metals 4.0.

RPA is so vital because it can help metals companies avoid the struggle of keeping up with hiring enough people in a tight labor market. Intelligent automation also can save employees from being stuck performing manual processes or missing out on contributing at a higher level – not to mention the business benefits of cost savings and improved profitability.

How can RPA benefit metals companies?

In a competitive labor market amid continued volatility, RPA can provide many benefits, including increased confidence for metals companies. Here’s how:

Alleviate hiring challenges

In the current competitive hiring climate, attracting and retaining good workers can be a challenge for metals companies – especially if employees feel stuck with repetitive manual work. RPA can help automate tasks and avoid the need to hire additional roles or backfill roles if frustrated employees leave.

Set up employees to succeed

Instead of being underutilized and feeling undervalued with mundane tasks, employees can use automation to gain the skills needed for Metals 4.0. RPA gives companies opportunities to train, educate, and increase skills of employees on the jobs of tomorrow instead of the frustrating jobs of the past.

Decrease human error

Tedious and repetitive tasks are notoriously difficult to execute accurately. Even the best and most focused employees can make simple mistakes when required to perform repetitive tasks. Bots can decrease the chance of human error, keeping production on time and customers happy – not to mention giving employees time to enjoy more meaningful and rewarding work.

Improve efficiency and predictability of delivery timing

Not only are repetitive tasks challenging for employees, but they also can hurt the efficiency and timing of delivering critical data and reporting. RPA bots can complete tasks at high speed. What could take an employee days or hours might take a bot minutes – sometimes even seconds.

Increase cost savings and profitability

Metals companies can gain a competitive edge by saving money and increasing profitability with RPA. Automation can drive down costs with the ability to pull data from multiple sources, perform complex calculations with fewer errors, and run critical reports faster than a human.

How can metals companies get started with RPA?

One benefit of RPA is the ability for companies to start small and build as they find new opportunities for automation. Here are some steps to get started:

1. Identify opportunities for automation

Gather key stakeholders to identify repetitive, manual-intensive processes and determine whether those processes are rules-based or ad hoc. Typically, RPA works best for rules-based repetitive tasks that require a large investment of employee time. Then, calculate the time and money savings that might come from automating these processes with RPA.

2. Start with a pilot project

Getting the most out of any Metals 4.0 technology depends on gaining buy-in from every level of the company, especially at the C-suite level. Automating tasks like data reporting can offer fast and accurate data to enhance C-suite decision-making. Starting a pilot project at this level can show value for automated reporting for key business metrics. In addition, it can pave the way to increase the digital journey’s pace with support from the top down.

3. Create a phased plan for developing automation

Once buy-in exists from the top of the organization and the metals company has implemented a successful pilot, it’s helpful to begin in one area of the company and expand into other areas as RPA technology is adopted and results are clear. For example, many companies in the manufacturing sector typically will begin in areas like accounting or finance and integrate RPA into additional new areas, one at a time. The company should determine where the greatest areas of opportunity exist and start there.

Let us help you step into Metals 4.0 with RPA.

When the labor market is unpredictable and the metals industry is volatile, technologies like RPA, combined with metals-specific technology, can make a real difference. Our experienced metals team and automation specialists can help guide your digital transformation journey and save your employees from mundane tasks.

Ray Cheung
Partner, Consulting