Many companies are forced to permanently increase their efficiency and productivity. This means that it is necessary to organise business processes without any human intervention to as great an extent as possible in order to reduce operating costs. Any kind of automation is less expensive, faster and almost error-free in the long run when it comes to repetitive tasks. Modern software robots support and relieve employees in the handling of repetitive processes that generate little value so that employees can use the time gained for more challenging tasks. However, most logistics companies continue to rely on manual processes for logging orders, planning shipments, monitoring transport routes and notifying clients about the status of their deliveries. What are the consequences? Goods sometimes arrive at clients’ premises late or in a poor state – or the invoices which are sent are incorrect. Human employees, however, remain indispensable – wherever it is necessary to control machines, provide creative solutions to problems, express empathy, act innovatively, provide organisational skills or simply take decisions. And employees’ support and acceptance plays a crucial role when planning and implementing automation projects.
Whether courier services, universities, manufacturing companies, pharmaceutical enterprises or insurance companies, automation helps to optimise processes in many sectors. Implementing the relevant automation projects is a task for a team consisting of RPA (robotic process automation) developers, process analysts and project managers because the requirements are so complex. These skills and manpower resources are necessary as the simple software robots used in the past have reached their limits in light of the degree of automation that is now required for processes. Much more data is available nowadays and intelligent machine-learning algorithms offer an entirely new level of quality when it comes to digitalising documents. Modern software robots have access to different systems such as CRM and various databases or web portals. Following strictly set rules, these robots complete the necessary processes in the background one step at a time.
Many tasks in the field of transportation, freight forwarding and logistics can be automated. These include scheduling, logging and tracking shipments and extracting shipping order data. Members of staff are relieved, particularly if machines take over undemanding tasks such as monitoring the incoming emails for delivery orders, transferring data from customer portals and internal transport management systems or logging incoming invoices. Employees will no longer need to process complaints or handle customs clearance and reporting in future either. The same applies to recording air waybills and processing master data, including any data migration from ERP systems. These are just a few examples of the many activities that can and should be automated.
It will be impossible to imagine life at many companies without some automation technologies in future. AI-based predictive maintenance can be used at manufacturing companies and anywhere just-in-time or just-in-sequence systems operate and sensors supply data. This kind of maintenance helps to monitor machine calibration and therefore prevent breakdowns and expensive production errors. When it comes to complying with sustainability and transparency regulations, block chain technology, which is based on local digital databases, is helpful. Using this technology, it is possible, for example, to issue a digital product pass for the circular economy. This is becoming increasingly relevant as companies will presumably have to make even more information available about the production and usage, repair work and disposal of their products in future in order to promote circular applications. Control tower solutions for supply chains, which enable data-based insight, help with monitoring operations. As a result, any unplanned events such as breakdowns can be predicated at an early stage so that it is possible to dynamically plan logistics processes.
Automation technologies relieve employees from having to do repetitive tasks so that they gain more time for more challenging activities that better suit their qualifications. Companies can often save several working hours a day thanks to automation. The quality of the processes is enhanced too. This means that complaints and irregularities decline in accounting entries. As a result, automation increases both the satisfaction of clients and employees in equal measure.
The Rhenus Group introduces complex automation projects for clients in a very wide variety of sectors.
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