The automotive industry has a long history of automation. Automakers have used robots in their assembly lines for decades. But now, the industry is waking up to the benefits of automating processes in other areas of business.
But what kind of automation is possible in the automotive space? What are the specific benefits and challenges that automakers face in trying to make automation a bigger part of what they do?
What Is Automotive Automation?
When people think of automotive automation, they probably envision big robot arms assembling cars on a factory floor. While this is the classic robotic automation you’ll see from automakers, the modern approach to automation, typically, focuses on software.
Beyond the assembly functions within a plant, there are a huge number of digital processes that help support a business. This can include everything from sales and purchasing to accounting and logistics and with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) businesses can have bots carry out tasks and processes – instead of people.
Opportunities For Automation In The Automotive Industry
Car manufacturers have a unique opportunity to implement automation more widely within their businesses. This is, in part, because they already have an existing culture of relying on robots to help with certain tasks.
Collaborative robots, or co-bots, have already offered a big evolution in the space, with smaller machines designed to aid workers rather than just take tasks away from them. Now that manufacturers are taking steps to develop robot assistance further, they also need to take that stance when it comes to boosting process efficiency for the lives of their office staff as well as their shop floor workers.
Challenges For Automation In The Automotive Industry
Right now, the global supply chain is in a state of disarray. Between pandemics and conflicts, there haven’t been this many barriers to the movement of goods for many years. As manufacturers, the automotive industry relies on the movement of goods to not only assemble, but also to distribute their products.
But, that challenge clearly presents an opportunity. Where there is increasing pressure to improve throughput and production times when material deliveries are delayed automation can greatly benefit process improvements throughout businesses.
Use Case For Automotive Automation
Because automation can be incorporated into almost any business process, there is a massive variety of potential use cases for it within vehicle manufacturing. However, one particular area of real benefit is within order processing.
Automotive manufacturers and distributors can use order management software to read and transcribe order information from multiple formats into the company’s order database. This program frees personnel from manually processing orders to focus on customer care.
Order to cash (O2C) is a highly automatable end-to-end process that begins with a customer order and ends with payment processing and collection. Taking payments for goods can be completely automated – just think about how your online shopping normally works, there’s no need for a human operator.
Inventory management software can use RPA and API to verify inventories. This software can be programmed to create an automated restocking order when inventory levels for a car or screw dip below a set threshold.
While the automotive industry does have its own challenges and opportunities with automation, just like any other industry it needs to get on board with the technology. To be competitive businesses need to look to tech to find better ways of doing things, and automation is a great way to boost top and bottom lines everywhere.
Work in the automotive industry and want help with automation? Reach out to PAteam now.