Four robotic process automation challenges to consider

Companies are already using robotic process automation (RPA) to improve operations, but they also need to consider costs and the need for constant maintenance when implementing the program.

By Robotic Industries Association (RIA) February 8, 2020

The explosive growth of robotic automation makes it seem as though nothing could hold it back. Robot automation has brought about substantial, rapid change in many industries, many of which offer improvements that would’ve seemed impossible only a few years ago.

Companies are already using robotic process automation (RPA) to digitize labor, capture and store Big Data, run social media accounts, or manage cloud computing environments. Understandably, companies want to implement robotic automation systems of their own in order to remain competitive, but there are four challenges to consider first.

1. Robotic automation development. To benefit most from robotic automation, companies will likely need a custom package designed for their business. Designing such automation systems is still a new, unique skill. Companies need to find a developer with a team that knows their business and how automated processes can best be used to maximize ROI. The journey is not going to be an inexpensive one. Finding the right professionals is critical to make the robotic automation implementation successful.

2. Process analysis. The automation team needs helps creating processes tailored to the specific business. Analyzing, streamlining, and transferring processes to robotic automation is often more difficult than expected. Companies have to get the team focused on the concept of putting their processes into robotic automation. Companies also have to explain how the change will benefit both the company and your team. That requires a lot of planning and forward-thinking.

3. Economical advantage. Many companies likely have a process that is repetitive and tedious they want to eliminate with RPA. It would be so much easier if the task could run overnight, then human workers could take over in the morning. However, automating a process via RPA can be very expensive to analyze, develop, program, implement and maintain. If it doesn’t save a considerable amount of labor, cost, and time, it may not be economically viable.

4. Maintaining process automation. Even after robotic automation goes live, it’s going to need attention again. Robotic automation processes require regular maintenance, just like the physical robot arms swinging around the facility. Otherwise, expect issues to occur at the worst time. It can be a tough slog, but it is worth it if companies stick with it and keep up with maintenance.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online Blog. Robotic Industries Association (RIA) is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a CFE Media content partner.

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