Business Continuity

How Automation is Changing the Shape of Manufacturing

Matteo Polpi |

Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) to name a few – the exciting smart technologies available today, and coming tomorrow, is nothing short of a new industrial revolution.

As technology advances, manual processes can be automated, making things faster, more efficient, and less expensive. Here are a few ways that automation can advance your manufacturing business…

Real-time reporting from cloud technology

Cloud computing has already made its mark on pretty much every industry you can think of. In manufacturing, a key trend is using cloud technology to build intelligent factory environments. Smart sensors can record and convert data, while IoT functionality gives you the information you need to work smarter and faster – for example, by tracking production and automatically generating reports.

SAP Concur expense, travel and invoice solutions use automation in a similar way. Doug Myhill, SAP Concur Specialist for Manufacturing, says: “Many UK firms with highly tuned manufacturing processes still operate manual, paper-based systems. This involves teams of people getting distracted from revenue and profit by moving receipts and paper around the country.”

Time is money, so any way to improve productivity is a bonus. You could see significant savings by introducing automation and transforming manual and disjointed processes into simple and efficient workflows. This gives you real-time visibility into spend, so you can reduce the risk of duplicates and identify opportunities to drive down costs.

Mixing the old and new for seamless integration

However, new tech doesn’t mean you throw away your previous investments and start again. As manufacturing gets smarter, you can update older systems more easily, without losing the foundations you’ve built your business upon.

The same goes for your expense, travel and invoice solutions. SAP Concur can integrate with your existing ERP systems, so you can easily manage your expenses, book travel, and process invoices alongside tracking inventories and managing procurement.

“You wouldn’t automate a production line without first talking to the experts and users – or running time and motion studies,” says Doug Myhill.

“But at SAP Concur, with thousands of customers globally, we understand many of the risks, challenges and how to mitigate them.”

Automated manufacturing takes over tedious tasks

Accuracy in manufacturing is crucial for business success. And automation is improving precision in everything from production line productivity to spend visibility. Plus, the latest capabilities in machine learning and robotics allow robots to recreate human tasks, taking on the tedious and time-consuming jobs, and freeing staff up for greater productivity in other business areas.

SAP Concur solutions also automate lengthy manual tasks – like entering expense data – to do the job faster and more accurately while improving employee satisfaction in the process.

Doug Myhill says: “You can dramatically modernise your user experience, from incurring a business expense to reimbursement of out-of-pocket costs. Also, you can entirely eliminate paper from the process and streamline the approval workflow.”


Want to know more? See how SAP Concur supports manufacturers.

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