A recent DocuWare-sponsored whitepaper explores how manufacturers can apply the successful approaches to reducing waste in inefficiency on the factory floor to processes, systems and procedures in the back office to reduce cycle times, achieve more timely access to key performance indicators and reduce errors/exceptions.
Data- and document-dependent Procure to Pay (P2P) and Order to Cash (O2C) processes are fertile ground for applying principles like Lean to data entry and document handling-relates bottlenecks.
As the Association for Information and Image Management points out, manufacturing companies are much like their peers in other industries when it comes to a wide range of processes that involve data and documents, rather than parts and assembly lines. Manual tasks and processes that lack standards to ensure repeatability and predictability are no lesson common among manufacturers than other markets, even though most have adopted principles and methodologies to deal with these issues in other parts of their business.
One challenge that manufacturers often face when it comes to managing data- and document-intensive processes is the wide range specialized software platforms maintained for a variety of processes. ERP systems and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems are common to most organizations, but on top of that, manufacturers maintain information within product lifecycle management systems, manufacturing execution systems, production scheduling control systems, and a variety of other systems that are often siloed or poorly integrated.
Data and documents flow though manufacturing operations in support of multiple processes, including:
When looking for opportunities to streamline the flow of data and decisions through these systems to support business operations, procurement and processing for customer sales orders stand out as two potential quick wins for manufacturers, allowing them to apply principles already common to other part of their organization to routine predictable, high-volume back office operations .
Most companies, including manufacturers, regard procurement/accounts payable and sales operations/order processing as cost centers. Organizations that have automated and transformed those operations, however, are able to leverage timely information and process control to drive greater innovation and better customer satisfaction, so that even back office operations support strategic and financial goals.
The good news for many manufacturers is that they often possess most of the component systems needed to automate these processes—and generally don’t have to address the kind of culture shift required in other industries to approach these processes differently. Frequently, the only missing piece is the ‘connective tissue’ to streamline the most painful parts of those processes—document handling and data entry chief among them.
Intelligent Process AutomationPlatforms that automate document handling and data extraction, like Artsyl’s docAlpha, integrate with ERP, ECM and other business systems to transform business documents and correspondence (emails, etc) into structured data, without the need for manual data entry or document sorting/filing. Today, these systems leverage machine learning, allowing for far shorter implementation cycles, without the need for custom coding or tons of professional services to configure and integrate with other existing systems.
For back office personnel, automating data entry and document handling means spending less time on tasks like invoice/order matching, tracking approvals and verifying coding, data re-entry or document filing. Instead, the role of these team members gets elevated to include budgeting, analysis and ongoing process improvement.
For the C-suite, back office automation translates into better overall process visibility, more timely access to financial and business performance data.
The benefits of all this efficiency and insight ultimately flows to customers, who experience faster responsive times, better service and lower costs.
Learn more about Intelligent Process Automation and data capture and discover how you can automate and accelerate operations for your organization by contacting your Artsyl Technologies representative.