Examples of Intelligent Automation in Manufacturing

While the majority of manufacturing executives acknowledge the importance of digital transformation, only 5% are satisfied with their current digital strategies. With the advent of Industry 4.0, it’s more important than ever for organizations to learn from their peers.

Intelligent automation initiatives are helping to create smart factories and introducing intelligence to manufacturer’s production lines and supply chains. To help you increase efficiency and improve customer service, and overcome the challenges faced along the way, here are four ways that are helping Bizagi customers around the globe.

1 – Create an agile way of working to deliver results quickly

Start small, think big, scale fast was the approach taken by multinational sports apparel manufacturer adidas. Starting with several small automation projects in parallel, the employees can act as advocates and demonstrate their results to others in the business. This is a quicker way to highlight success. But these projects need careful consideration. It’s important to discuss the requirements around a process model and use an agile methodology as this forms the foundation of intelligent automation.

“We connect a lot of systems together with Bizagi. It’s important to model the process first and then the online platform makes it more user friendly for our customers,” said the Senior Process Automation Manager at Adidas Group.

As a result of agile development cycles, adidas delivered new workflow cycles in as little as 2 months, with 23 processes set live in just two years. This helped to eliminate 1 million emails per year in the supply chain, reducing operational cost by 60% and reduce factory onboarding time by 50%. All of this was accomplished in a third of the traditional development and delivery time.



2 – Integrate your systems to empower employees

A challenge that many organizations face is obtaining visibility across their siloed systems.  Not only does it make it hard to view information for decision making, but disparate systems often require access to the same data, so employees have to enter it multiple times.

This was the case for Kyocera, who optimized their Excel and email-based Special Pricing Approval system. By integrating their legacy systems, SAP and Bizagi, they relieved employees of manual data entry tasks – up to 20 minutes per approval – and provided clear numbers for them to make better informed decisions when it came to managing their pipeline of 300 million Euros. The pricing approval could also be accessed via mobile through Bizagi, making it possible to sign off on new purchases on-the-go, which couldn’t be achieved previously via spreadsheets.

The management rationale of Kyocera is to ‘Provide opportunities for the material and intellectual growth of all our employees.’ By reducing the average pricing approval time by 85% with process automation this not only accelerates turnaround to win more new business, but empowers employees to do more with their working hours.

“The integration of Bizagi with our ERP system, SAP, was an emotional breakthrough for our organization. It was not about convincing those people their job had disappeared, but showing them how easy that task now is, and providing them with opportunities to better spend their time,” said Kyohei Shimada, Manager Digital Processes.



3 – Automate complex processes to enable customizable solutions

Waste disposal truck manufacturer Geesinknorba deals with a broad product portfolio, 99% of which are highly customized to the needs of each customer. This dramatically increases the complexity of the organization’s manufacturing process.

Interestingly, Geesinknorba flipped the popular concept of a smart factory on its head. Instead they created ‘smart units’ to streamline processes and improve efficiency. These act as a navigator through the production process and can start different production steps simultaneously, considering the supply side, the lead-time and capacity. With this all this information available, the system can always make the best decision.

“The opportunity we identified is to create a match between our customer needs and our product needs with an operation system that enables us to intelligently control the production,” said Geesinknorba’s COO. 

To create the smart units, the team automated their processes, building in business rules and machine learning, connecting their production systems through Bizagi’s platform. They are now producing the most intelligent products on the market in an insightful and agile way, while being flexible to the changing needs of customers and delivering products faster. In fact, they have increased the efficiency of production by 45%.



4 – Create transparency for better process governance

As items progress through the production or repair process, it can be hard to know the exact status of individual items. Luxury department store Harrods has its own in-house watch store for bespoke models.

Their inefficient paper-based process made it hard to track where watches were within the business and hindered communication with customers when they asked for updates. Using Bizagi to digitize the process, they enabled end-to-end visibility of the production line to help with process governance. This was particularly important for Harrods to ensure compliance when handling high-value items, with some watches worth up to £2million.

The automation of the process also helped with their customer engagement as automatic alerts were sent to customers as the watch passed through checkpoints in the process, including when the watch was ready to be collected.

Harrods watches
The Fine Watch Room, Harrods. SOURCE: Harrods

If you would like to find out more about how to embed automation technologies in your manufacturing organization, download our free eBook, Making a Breakthrough in Manufacturing Operations and find out how to optimize your business efficiency and delight your customers.

Bizagi manufacturing ebook

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