What motivates businesses to consistently strive for further improvement of their operations? The answer is simple, to increase wallet share. For businesses to accomplish this they must obtain a competitive advantage that helps fulfill their consumers at a higher rate than their competitors. The question is, what can assist them in their endeavor? In today’s era technology has established itself as a competitive advantage businesses can use. Engineers have reached new heights with the evolution of technology over the years. With these technological advancements, engineers have created physical (robots) and virtual (software automation) forms of technology to further serve our society.
Robots are concrete machines functioning by the implementation of sensors, motors, and controllers to execute physical processes. A popular type of robot utilized within some businesses today is autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) due to their scalability and easy implementation. AMRs can perform multiple physical tasks within a given environment over a period of time. These tasks can include picking items, sorting items, transporting items, and more. This is all done without the need of human manipulation or supervision as AMRs can operate off of a digital map integrated into their system and use sensors/cameras to sweep their surroundings to adapt to any obstacles that may appear. This allows the machine to find the quickest route to its destination while ensuring the safety of employees and increasing productivity.
Amazon has benefitted immensely from the use of AMRs, “cutting operating expenses by about 20%, translating to roughly $22 million in cost savings for each fulfillment center, quoting former Amazon exec Dave Clark.” (Yahoo) After seeing the success of Amazon warehouses in utilizing its technological acquisition of AMRs, more businesses have begun looking for ways AMRs can be beneficial to their operations.
Automation is the completion of processes through self-regulated technological applications. Software automation (IT automation) streamlines the routinely tedious and long tasks otherwise manually done by humans. This scalable tool repeats processes with higher accuracy, reducing errors and providing delivery of production ready resources at a much higher rate compared to its human counterpart. All of which saves time and frees up employees to focus on high priority tasks.
A large building supply distribution company experienced the benefits of software automation in DataXstream’s OMS+, a cross-channel order management system that simplifies complex order processing and point of sale capacity businesses have encountered within SAP. With OMS+ the company was able to leverage the automation of SAP SD transactions and streamline their sales and order management processes.
OMS+ contains an abundant number of features such as Advanced Material Lookup, Document Management, Tendering Functionality, and automatic cash and carry of sales. Advanced Material Lookup gives access to recent customer purchases, internal and external catalogs, cross selling functionality and alternatives to item proposals. Document Management allows management and viewing of all documents related to the sales process. Tendering Functionality leverages any certified SAP payment gateway partner granting users the ability to accept all forms of payment including signature and pin capture and allowing the return of payment in forms of original payment, store credit, or corporate check.
With the utilization of software automation the building supply distribution company reported a 50% reduction in time to process orders, 15% increase in sales and quote conversion, and a 25% improvement in customer satisfaction. As a result of the various software automation success stories, businesses are now looking to implement this technology into their operations.
Autonomous Mobile Robots execute physical labor they have been tasked with, assisting employees by relieving them of physical tasks and reducing the possibility of injury due to the lack of physical labor all while increasing productivity. Software Automation(s) reduced operational cost and the ability to rid employees of long tedious task. This is beneficial to organizations as it increases ROI as a result of software automation faster rate of completion and a decrease rate of error, improving productivity. Ultimately whatever investment businesses decide to make, both robots and software automation alleviate employees from taking extensive amounts of time to conduct tasks that don’t add to their operational value and focus on the ones that do.