Manufacturing deals with a wide range of use cases in relation to document processing. Considering manual processing, the amount of time incurred to complete these processing can be mammoth in comparison to an intelligent document automation solution. Learn about the different IDP use cases that can be automated using an IDP.
Today in manufacturing, with the rising demand of products in almost every industry vertical, deadlines can often get sidelined because of subpar tasks such as manual document processing. It is because the production department requires clearance from accounts payable for putting through new purchase requests to fill up the inventory.
Manufacturing today is still dependent on traditional methods such as manual processing and OCR for document processing. It is high time that the industry looks beyond and adoptsE intelligent document automation solutions that can completely eliminate the need for any manual processing. It will not only speed up the task but will empower the industry to focus primarily on core operations.
Intelligent document automation can be considered as simplifying the document processing processes in any organization. It includes tasks such as, data extraction, data verification, data management, etc.
There can be a variety of new business data that needs to be captured from a heap of raw documents ingested into the organization. These documents can be supplier’s invoice, purchase orders, inventory lists, etc. With an automated process of data capture or extraction, the work becomes much more streamlined and optimized without any human induced error.
In a growing business, there can be new prospects (Customers) or older ones. However, verifying the data is simply the process of reconciling data before it is fed to the ERP system’s database. To do so, an intelligent document automation system such as an IDP platform would look for a source of truth. This source of truth can be sourced either from the database (for the existing customers) or in forms of documents submitted by the new prospect. The system would automatically detect the source of truth, reconcile the data with it, and upload it to the database. This function is performed on key variables for reconciliation decided by the user at the beginning of the process.
A majority of CXOs in various industries rely on data to base their decisions. In business terms, it is often known as the pull system where the inventory and raw material management is based on demand rather than prediction. To make matters worse, a traditional system can cause delays in acquiring relevant data at time but not an intelligent document automation system. These systems extract and validate data from documents (as explained above) and push them into the DBs (databases) in the form of sorted and segregated information. This data can also be directly uploaded to a cloud infrastructure for remote access.
With an effective document automation solution such as an IDP platform, organizations can automate document processing for tons of documents along with allowing them to downsize the time and cost incurred by a considerable size.
There are a variety of use cases in the manufacturing industry where an intelligent document processing platform can be a fruitful partner. We have mentioned some of the most common ones below:
Invoice processing is a collateral task across industry verticals including manufacturing. The task of processing invoices is a complete cycle. It starts from receiving a supplier’s invoice and ends at its final payment.
The entire process of invoice processing is inherently time and cost consuming because of different layers in documentation and multiple quality checks of the shipment received. Adding to it, multiple issues like duplicate invoice, lost invoice, incorrect invoice data etc. further adds time to the deadline. This whole process of invoice processing can take from 60 to 95 days considering everything runs without any errors.
To speed up the manual side of the process where accounts payable clerks have to go through each and every invoice manually, invoice document automation can be chosen. A much greater example of this automation could be an IDP platform. The platform is not only able to process data from unstructured invoices from different sources but is capable of extracting custom data and verifying invoices with a defined source of truth. Also, the end output is categorized data that can be easily utilized for accounting purposes, maintaining the ledger, and archival. Leveraging the power of an IDP will not only cut exponential time in internal invoice processing but speedup the entire process overall.
Order form is a specific document that helps in procurement, sales, and operations. The form is ideally utilized for large and high-value transactions. An order form would comprise of necessary information such as:
The order form works as a legal binding between the supplier and the company. The entire agenda behind using an order form is to document the purchase. The data from the form is useful for any manufacturing company to keep track of their purchase transactions. It requires hours of manual work to document these forms and extract relevant data from it. In contrast, an IDP would easily aid any company in securing useful data from these documents and provide genuine processed information to work with.
Manufacturing companies are often subjected to change requests. These requests can often pertain to changes in the manufacturing process or the equipment used. The standard operating procedures (SOPs) can often be received by a manufacturing entity signifying changes and amendments to the overall process. These change requests need to be pre-processed, interpreted, and forwarded to the production team.
With manual processing, this process of translation can be easy but very time consuming. On the other hand, an IDP platform because of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing is able to understand these changes and extract relevant information from a massive pile of these requests in a fraction of time. The operator only needs to define the entries and associate it with a predefined global entry. After that, the platform would automatically extract the data associated.
A manufacturing company can time and time again receive proposals. These proposals are often hard coded in physical copies requiring digitization. With traditional solutions, it was difficult to process these proposals because of their unstructured nature. However, with the inclusion of intelligent document automation using IDP, it is possible to process a pile of them in a single go. An IDP is more than capable of securing data from unstructured documents with higher accuracy levels than manual processing, thereby, automating the task at hand without any manual intervention.
With a manufacturing process, hitting a necessary level of quality is the entire goal. Each manufacturing company makes sure that the item manufactured by them is not of subpar quality. To record this consistency of quality, quality assurance records are maintained for each item. These documents are often maintained in hard copies. Also, there are good chances that the figures mentioned in it may be handwritten. An IDP is not only capable of processing hard copies but also the handwritten data. With an IDP, it is a lot easier to extract data from these hard copies and segregate them as processed information in the form of an excel or CSV sheet.
A manufacturing unit consistently receives sales orders from a supplier or a vendor. These sales orders are fulfilled by the manufacturing unit and later on sent to the associated party. To keep a track of these transactions, these sales orders are recorded. With an IDP, it is possible to auto-extract the data from these sales orders and easily record them to the central repository or database.
Processing orders and later on managing them can be a cumbersome task. It is because the entire set of data is from varied sources and formats. For instance, mails, fax, or hard copies etc. An IDP can integrate with multiple downstream applications such as CRM, SAP, emails, messages, legacy infrastructure, etc. It can auto-extract data from these systems, process it, and send it to the production department automatically using the ERP system.
EXIM processes oscillate between multiple types of documents. Documents such as bills of lading, commercial invoice, shipping bills etc. To manage these sets of documents is referred as EXIM process management. It is essential to have an intelligent document automation system that can auto-validate these data and provide the necessary information for ease. Thankfully, an IDP is an effective solution for the same. It is not only able to extract and verify useful information out of these but it can segregate and sort this data beforehand. On top of this, its capability to establish business rules and a custom workflow makes it a worthwhile solution for EXIM process management.
Leads are new business acquisitions in terms of customers. Every organization in order to sustain in the market has to constantly gather leads for producing new business. It helps the business scale and expand their horizons from a local firm to an international one. This process of aggregating the data of leads and sorting is easier in small firms. However as the scale of the leads increases with business, it becomes difficult for organizations to gather information from several sources and aggregate into a uniform plain simply because of sheer volume and multiple data points. An intelligent document automation simply requires access to the base forms of the lead data. After that it automatically extracts data from it and stores it directly to the ERP’s database or locally in forms of spreadsheets.
Companies in manufacturing industries are constantly leaning towards becoming six sigma. However, without a watertight process, it is not achievable. At one end where there are manufacturing practices for creating the product for which document automation can’t do much, on the other, we have loads of data processing that is as essential as any other process. Adding to it, having a watertight document processing infrastructure is where an intelligent document automation solution can provide. Also retaining the business data, acting over it, and making decision bases on it is a sure shot way to reach the sigma level or maintaining it.
Keeping that in perspective, here are some document processing challenges in manufacturing for which an intelligent document automation platform can help:
It's not just about the type of documents that are used in the manufacturing industry but more about the variations in similar types of documents. For instance, the structure of an invoice can vary from organization to organization. In fact because of different compliance and regulations around the globe, the requirement for data also changes. It creates new entries in a similar document in many cases.
Consolidating the types of documents and the variations in them, manufacturing deals with huge piles of unstructured documents that can’t be processed efficiently via traditional methods i.e. manual processing and OCR. However, an intelligent document automation system such as an IDP (Intelligent Document Processing) is capable of that.
Gone are the days when companies, enterprises, and organizations were using files and cabinets for retaining data. The data everywhere in the world today is stored in digital formats in the DBs, however, they are still being created or produced in physical form. Although, this has changed after covid-19 to some extent but it is still prevalent around the world and is not going anywhere soon.
Suppliers and vendors would ideally scan a document using a handheld device (such as smartphone) or sometimes using a poor quality scanner. This data is easily visible to naked eye but OCRs are simply incapable of distinguishing the data. An intelligent document automation system can optimize and enhance the quality of these documents. This reinforces the accuracy of data that is captured using the solution and for the remaining, the solution raises a flag for manual reconciliation (if required).
It is no surprise that manufacturing is amongst the most document savvy industries. This means that it produces tons of paperwork that is either manually reconciled or via an OCR. However, we understand it doesn’t solve all your problems.
Adding to it, multiple page documents are an extra burden for departments to deal with. Not with an Intelligent Document Automation platform because it is capable of processing batches of hundreds and thousands of documents together. When it comes to a document automation solution, processing at higher scales is not an issue.
The reason why a majority of organizations in manufacturing constantly reinforce their information system is because of repetitive and boring manual tasks. We can bedazzle the challenges however we want but the reality is that manual repetitive tasks are boring. They don’t provide any challenge to its human counterparts leading to distraction. These distractions can often lead to inaccuracies in organizational data.
Though the reasons behind the errors are understandable, the problems it can end up creating are simply intolerable. A single deviation in a data point, and the entire report looks something else because of the ripple effect created by inaccurate data. On the other hand, intelligent document automation systems are digital in nature i.e. machine based. Machines don’t get bored neither they get distracted instead follow commands and try to complete their work with highest efficacy.
Each of these three attributes are amongst the biggest concerns of any industry including manufacturing. However, an intelligent document automation system makes sure that features and documents are accessible based on hierarchy.
These solutions offer different collaboration windows to the administrative department, managerial department, and the employees. The data is processed by authorized individuals at each level and the automated workflow automatically exports the data to DBs that follow the same hierarchical structure.
Adding to it, the information stored in those DBs are structured in nature managing the documents data such that it is easily retrievable. And lastly, these systems are often SaaS based and deployed on a cloud infrastructure. The communication between the organization and these systems are P2P encapsulated like a funnel with no room of data leakage. Adding to it, these systems can also be installed on a local system plus these solutions are certified by multiple authorities for their safety and security features.
VisionERA is the latest IDP platform among its adversaries. In addition to extracting and verifying massive piles of unstructured documents, VisionERA hosts a variety of compelling features to aid and automate document processing use cases in manufacturing.
It is capable of bulk uploading and processing of documents from various facets of a manufacturing organization. Be it production, proposal, finance, human resources, marketing, accounting, or any sort of operational document related manufacturing workflow, VisionERA can tackle each and every workflow because of its capability to process unstructured documents at scale.
Aside from it, VisionERA is highly adaptable and can continuously learn from manual reconciliations of your manufacturing workflows for your rejected cases via effective bucketization. It is by virtue of its AI-powered engine backed by multiple technologies such as Artificial intelligence (AI), Machine learning (ML), Natural language processing (NLP), and Computer vision.
It also allows DIY document selection and workflow making it fit for any manufacturing use case for document processing. VisionERA can make it possible for the manufacturing companies to harness the data that is locked in documents that can span across size, structure and formats.
Manufacturing takes the most amount of beating amongst different industries. The timelines are grueling and the operations quite exhaustive. In this scenario, it is essential that the industry takes a step ahead towards automation and takes out repetitive tasks explicitly. Doing so can allow them to undertake a much more seamless manufacturing process. An IDP platform can also help them reimagine the possibilities of harnessing the power of their time to add more effort towards core operations. In addition, it will not only make the entire manufacturing process simpler but can also help employees get rid of mundane paperwork that has to be done on a regular basis.
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