Mechanical robots support the manufacturing floor, but these robots work in the buyer's office.
When you have a repetitive, rules-based task to perform in manufacturing, it's not strange to consider using a robot to handle it. However, in the supply chain, with its spreadsheets and order forms, the idea of a robot taking over a manual computer task initially seems ludicrous. Perhaps an electromechanical robot typing away at a computer is far-fetched, but a software robot is not. By emulating the actions of a human user, robotic software can automate many currently manual tasks in the supply chain, saving time and money in the process.
(Photo Courtesy of Redwood Software)
"Some 80% of supply chain processes have already been automated," said Redwood Software's director, supply chain transformation, Ray Barratt in an interview with EBN. "But between nine and 20 percent of the cost in supply chain management consists of manual efforts, including handling the occasions when things go wrong."
Barratt pointed out that even automation systems handling SAP and MRP need overarching management by human operators. And if problems or exceptions come up, such as a need to reschedule, these systems need manual intervention. Yet most of these manual operations are rules driven, meaning they can also be automated. All that's needed is the right tool.
This is where software robots come in.
Read the rest of this article in EE Times' sister site, EBN.