Effective business and generating profits are almost impossible without good inventory management. Keep too little on hand, and you risk constant stockouts and lost revenue. Keep too much, and you drive up storage costs and risk waste. For public companies, there are compliance concerns to consider, too. Although these tasks can prove challenging, the intersection of inventory management and RPA (robotic process automation) can make a big difference.
With automation, it's possible to reshape how your company handles inventory tracking, management, ordering, and more. Getting started is more straightforward than you might expect, too. Selecting solutions such as Kofax RPA and related intelligent automation platforms can equip you with all the tools you need to step into the future of doing business.
Where should you begin with such a project? Understanding what you can achieve with RPA is the first step.
What does robotic process automation do?
RPA replicates human interactions with computer software, websites, and more. Using a defined set of rules and actions, a software robot follows the same steps that a human might use to complete a task. For example, you might build a robot that accesses a particular database, checks the inventory count numbers for a few specific products, and reports those numbers into another system.
In doing so, RPA offers businesses a way to automate core processes rapidly. Software robots are ideal for highly repetitive tasks and involve very little variation from day to day. They're also well-suited for applications where errors can prove costly to a business. Many low-level processes that are nonetheless high value can undergo effective automation using RPA. That yields numerous benefits, including allowing you to refocus skilled staff towards other work.
What kinds of tasks could you automate with RPA?
Using RPA in inventory management-related tasks can have a big and positive impact on your company's operations. What are some of the ways you could configure robots to support this vital task? We've already mentioned one: tracking inventory levels.
Maintaining full visibility into your stock levels isn't always easy when this information might exist across multiple systems. You could, however, craft a robot that queries those systems regularly to populate a dashboard for your review. You could even use robots to update inventory in real-time based on triggering events, such as the fulfillment of an order. Such efforts can also assist you in demand forecasting, making it clear when you need to order more—or when you need to focus on moving the stock you have.
When stock levels begin to drop, you can again make good use of robots. When a bot checks inventory levels and sees that the quantity has fallen below a designated threshold, it can trigger another bot to issue a new purchase order. You could then route that order to the right human for review and approval, dramatically streamlining one of the most intensive processes in inventory.
The Benefits of Effective Automation
Improving inventory management with automation opens the door to realizing many benefits for your business. More accurate record keeping and the opportunity to avoid frustrating stockouts are just a scratch on the surface. For example, by increasing efficiency so you only ever have as much as you need on hand, you can realize savings in storage costs. You can more capably meet client demands and avoid the disappointment and reputational hit that can occur if you oversell to a client.
RPA that brings greater visibility into your inventory can also give you insight into sales patterns. It's not just forecasting that improves: you might begin to recognize trends or sales patterns that indicate new opportunities for capitalization. Meanwhile, your staff focuses on more engaging, satisfying work; high-value tasks aren't left to the last second.
Beginning With the Basics: How to Start Making Robots
All these capabilities and benefits might sound like an excellent value, and that's true, but how do you even get started? Although RPA is one of the more basic forms of automation available today, it can still feel daunting to begin reshaping your work. Getting off the ground with Kofax RPA is much simpler than you might think. Using resources you can find for free in the Kofax Marketplace, you can have demonstration robots set up and running in just a few minutes.
This Kofax Labs resource, "Build a Robot in 2 Minutes," is an informational video providing a clear overview of using Kofax RPA to build highly functional robots. Using this understanding, you can apply it to real business tasks—just don't forget to plan and test thoroughly.
Extending Your Reach and Functionality With the Marketplace
The Marketplace contains many more instructional resources to explore. However, it is also home to many pre-built solutions, including connectors and even whole robots. All these can help you achieve a positive ROI on your automation investments more quickly.
Rather than building everything from scratch, you can find professionally developed solutions that extend and enhance your RPA deployments. With options directly targeted at streamlining inventory management, you can begin tapping into potential benefits sooner rather than later. Learn about best practices, find robots ready-made for your purposes, and more.
Discover How You Can Reshape the Way You Work Today
From developing greater confidence in your forecasting to ensuring that orders get placed before stockouts occur, adding automation to your inventory management workflows can yield real value for your business. With Kofax software and the community-developed solutions available in the Marketplace, getting started isn't just easy—it should be exciting, too.
When inventory management and RPA combine, you can give your company a potential competitive edge. At the same time, you can stop missing out on valuable opportunities to capitalize on demand and to keep your customers happy. Explore what you can do with a modern RPA solution and the right professional support today.