The manufacturing industry is complex. Between changing regulations and an intricate, global supply chain, you need solutions that are flexible, easy to manage and offer visibility and control over the information that drives your business and applications. Enterprise Content Management platforms, such as Perceptive Content and OnBase by Hyland provide powerful document management and workflow solutions for manufacturing organizations.
ECM technology rapidly and seamlessly integrates with your existing software applications to provide secure digital images supporting your business processes. RPI Account Executive and industry veteran Jim Fall and Senior Consultant Abbey Oliver provide an in depth look at how ECM can automate many high cost an inefficient process in manufacturing.
Welcome to Webinar Wednesday with RPI Consultants. I want to thank you for joining us this afternoon on this cold, wintry day here in Kansas City. We’re going to talk to you about a variety of technologies, and solutions, and challenges in the world of manufacturing. A little housekeeping for this. This is going to be recorded and posted on our blog and YouTube channel, so if you’d like to view later, that’ll be available. Slides are going to be sent out to all the attendees, so stay tuned for that as well. If you have ideas or suggestions for future webinars, let us know. We do this every month on Wednesday, so we’re always looking for ideas for new webinars.
Okay, I’m Jim Fall and with me is Abbey Oliver, one of our consultants. Give you a little background on myself. I’ve been around manufacturing almost my entire life. Going back to when I got introduced to a Bridgeport and a South Bend Lathe when I was eight years old in my grandfather’s shop. Been around manufacturing, manufacturing technology from the factory floor to design to ECM and ERP systems, and look at it from both a business and a technology point of view.
As Jim mentioned, I’m Abbey Oliver. I am a senior consultant here with RPI. I have about five years experience in designing, implementing, and supporting advanced data solutions, as well as ECM solutions. I actually was a former Perceptive Software employee before I joined RPI.
The agenda today, we’ll talk a little bit about RPI and what we do, and then we’ll dive into the manufacturing trends and business drivers, and then highlight some of the features of business automation, and then highlight those features and benefits within a few of our solutions. At the end, we can follow up with a Q&A session if you guys have any questions.
RPI, we are a professional services organization with over 18 years’ experience. We have about 80 full-time employees across the United States with offices in Tampa, Baltimore, and here in Kansas City. We offer many different services, but we do specialize in the product partnerships with the companies listed at the bottom of the screen.
Let’s talk about manufacturing. For those of you that have been in the world of manufacturing, you’re used to being early adopters of new technology. Going back to the days of John Parson, the inventor of numerical controls, you know, a long-time Michigan resident. No longer with us, but he was the inventor of numerical controls in Michigan, going back to the 1940s. You’re used to adopting new technologies, and we’re going to talk to you about some today and how we can help you deal with new challenges going forward.
You look at business trends and drivers out there in manufacturing. This is nothing new to you. You’re dealing with changes every day. The business environment changes, political environment changes, challenges with supply chains, challenges with onboarding employees, especially in today’s world. It’s getting a challenge to go onboard new employees. As you look with the world of manufacturing, how do you deal with those changes and address that with new technologies?
In the world of manufacturing, we’re all faced with several drivers out there in terms of challenges. Global operations. Global operations could be, you know, operations where engineering’s in one location and manufacturing’s in another. Global operations could be focused all in the US, and your operations could be thinking globally, but today manufacturing’s in California and engineering’s in New York. How do you deal with those kinds of operations?
Manual processes. We all deal with pockets of manual processes today, nothing new. You know, we dealt with addressing manual processes on the factory floor with automation and continue to apply automation in manufacturing processes, so let’s look at automation in manual processes and how we deal with our business operations, the front office, whether it’s accounting, human resources, logistics.
Systems, since manufacturing have been early adopters of new technology, you have silos of technology around your organization. How do you build a platform to integrate and leverage all those different silos of technology? That’s where you get the benefits of automation and efficiency. Your supply chains, you may be manufacturing globally, but your supply chains are probably global. How do you deal with a supply chain that, you know, components are coming from all over the world that you’re having to bring in and optimize within your business operations?
Regulations, nothing new to manufacturing. We’ve been dealing with business regulations, whether it’s OSHA on the factory floor, or whether it’s SOX compliance reporting. You know, so regulations have impacted manufacturing operations since the beginning. Employee engagement, as we talked earlier, the challenge of onboarding and recruiting new employees. There’s an explosion today in manufacturing of demand for new staff. Now, how do we attract that next generation of Millennial employees into the manufacturing world?
Does this look like your inbox? We’re all dealing with paper. Sometimes, we think we’re manufacturing discrete products, but sometimes we’re really manufacturing paper around the organization. We’ve got all these printers, and copiers, and multi-function devices spewing out paper nonstop, receiving paper, you know, via the mail, fax machines. How do you get control of that? Do you wake up at night thinking that the critical knowledge of the business is stored in some filing cabinet that might burn to the ground? As you look at in terms of your manufacturing operations, let’s look at taking these paper documents and turning them into digital value points within the organization.
By having a good understanding of the challenges that the manufacturing industry faces, we can provide technology to automate costly manual business process that many customers face. Why invest in automation? By choosing to invest in automation technology, you gain the benefit of greatly reducing costs and errors due to manual data entry. It also provides a real-time look into your everyday business processes, which provides flexibility to streamline business functions and better monitor exceptions.
Advanced data capture is able to provide customers with value in their operations through major features such as data extraction, classification, verification, and even pattern recognition for easier processing. It’s tools like Brainware that can help you maximize productivity and reduce operating costs by drastically reducing manual labor. Not only do these products speed up your processes, but you can also ensure compliance by having a complete audit trail for all of your documents.
An ECM platform provides a benefit of flexibility and the option to have a scalable workflow process, as well as on-demand access and retrieval for real-time document handling. Looking at the big picture, where do ECM and advanced data capture solutions fit in? Products like Brainware and Perceptive Software serve as the bidirectional link between your systems of engagement and your ERP system.
Now that we’ve seen the products that can be utilized and the benefits that they provide for the complex structures in manufacturing, let’s take a look at some of the specific business functions. As you can see, there are many processes that benefit from automation across the manufacturing industry, whether they’re localized or distributed globally. We have the solutions to address each of the challenges that these industries face.
Let’s jump into the world of financial process automation. Financial process automation looks at the opportunity to automate business processes within your finance and accounting group within your organization. Certainly, the challenge there sometimes that group is distributed across multiple locations. As manufacturing’s looked at the acquisition of other businesses to build integration within their operation, sometimes you have multiple finance and accounting departments scattered across multiple locations.
Let’s dive into this in a little bit more detail. You look at, in terms of challenges out there, the finance accounting department is involved in a lot of aspects within the business. As we looked at driving efficiencies within the organization, there’s manual task that are occurring in a finance and accounting department that have an opportunity to be automated.
They have an opportunity to provide greater visibility about the products that are being acquired, the invoicing process, cash flow, you know, the audit trails, you look as SOX compliance and doing annual reporting. You know, there’s a need to have greater visibility control of the financial processes within an organization.
As we look at a solution out there, it’s composed of several components, from the capture of that invoice, which may be sent to you via email, fax, snail mail, a paper document, is going to help you capture that invoice and through advanced technology, extract all the information off that invoice and drive that through a business workflow within an ECM solution.
It’s through that workflow and capture process that you’re able to gather efficiencies within your organization. There’s a variety of products available that we work with, whether it’s from Kofax, Readsoft, Perceptive, Brainware, Hyland OnBase, so a lot of technologies out there. That’s kind of a core capability of RPI is our ability to evaluate your environment and identify the right products to fit best within your operation to get the maximum return for you.
As you look at benefits of financial process automation, it’s not just for finance and accounting. People throughout your organization will get access to the information, get access to the benefits, and just like in manufacturing world, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. If you can’t manage it, you can’t control it. By automating and capturing the documents and information in the invoicing process and linking it to the receipt documents in your manufacturing processes, you get better control and better visibility in your financial operations.
We also see some of the highlights of automation shine within our HR solutions. Not only does our automation provide ability to have your new hires ready to work by day one, but digitalizing the process enhances the security around sensitive document information.
Some of the challenges I see when I speak with my HR clients, that are mentioned almost every time that I speak with them, typically employees are frustrated with having to shuffle around a high volume of documents that contains sensitive information. There’s a concern with securely storing those documents within a physical place at the office. I also see challenges when clients have several locations throughout the globe, but lack that consistency globally on how they can handle their onboarding process. Luckily, we can provide a best practice solution that is scalable to be able to handle our global clients.
These are some of the common pain points that we see with our HR clients. For example, we resolved the pain point of finding and accessing employee files that are physically stored onsite with providing immediate digital access to documents right at the tip of your fingers. We also know that data can become out of sync, for example, if someone has a name change it’s hard to update a physical file. We resolve that by ensuring that we sync with your HR system to update those name changes as they happen.
Then another pain point is maybe with handwritten forms, maybe the handwriting is hard to interpret. We can resolve that by providing web-based forms to the applicants available through your web portal. As you can see, we provide a breadth of HR solutions that can be customized to fit your business needs. From a recruiting and onboarding to employee file management and performance reviews, we can definitely create a solution that is best for you.
Let’s talk about logistics now. Logistics traditionally have been very paper-driven activities, whether you’re receiving goods or shipping goods out the door. It’s a challenge of dealing with all that paper. You know, if you look in the world of manufacturing, is you’re receiving a lot of components in the manufacturing process. All the bill of ladings that are coming in, the packing slips, the custom forms if you’re receiving products from overseas. As you look at in terms of the manufacturing process, it’s paper being driven on inbound and outbound activities.
How do we take that and be able to leverage that paper document, turn it into a digital document, and link it to your invoicing processes as well? As you look at the challenges out there, you know, in the world of logistics, again, a lot of paper. You look at, in terms of how do you do the data entry and what level of data entry are you doing today relative to those bill of ladings or packing slips that you’re receiving today?
How do you do two-way, three-way matching with the documents in an invoice processing environment? How do you get the access to that document, and how many of you are dealing with cartons of documents that you’re putting on a pallet, setting on a shelf out in the factory, and then eventually ship it off to Iron Mountain, sitting in a warehouse, and now you’ve got to find it when you’re going through an audit. How do you get advantage with your documents sitting in a vault up in northern Michigan to an operations that’s sitting in southern California? How do we drive more efficiencies with your organizations?
You have to look at an end to end solution from the capture of that document, the extraction of the data of that document, and linking it with business processes and other parts of your organizations, so now that paper document and logistics world is now a key digital resource that’s available to you and your organization.
In summary, I’d like to thank everyone for joining us today. Just to kind of reiterate, manufacturing is cool, and hopefully everybody saw SpaceX launch yesterday, and saw the power of advanced manufacturing and engineering technology to reach literally new heights. With that, I’d like to open it up for questions.
Sure, thank you, Jim. Yeah, we have a few questions. Is invoice automation really only for a shared services kind of setup or organization?
It can be used in a lot of different organizations. You look at the world of manufacturing, over the last 50 years there’s been a lot of mergers and acquisitions of business units in the US, globally. Each of those business units have had their own independent ERP and accounting departments that have been processing invoices, or HR services, or logistics, or there’s the engineering services.
As you look at, in terms of manufacturing organizations are looking for opportunities to create leverage, you can start off with maintaining the level of independence and build a common front end, and have independent invoice processing operations. Over time as you consolidate ERP systems, then you can bring that all together into a single operation, single business process.
If we have multiple ERPs, can we still implement invoice automation easily?
Another question, can we implement invoice automation to handle invoices in multiple languages, such as Chinese?
Abbey, do you want to hop in on that one?
Yes, we can. We sure can.
Yeah, we can handle most languages around the world. On the human resources side, a question is, we hire a lot of temporary workers. Can we use a typical employee file process for them, even if their information may not be in the HRAS?
Yeah, absolutely. We can create kind of a temp employee ID for those employees, and still run them through the same process, still have an employee file for them, just like the other employees, and then be able to recognize that and maybe even manage a deletion of that upon their leave if they’re just a temp employee.
All right. Unless we have any other questions, obviously feel free to submit them via the go-to webinar channel here. If you have any other questions, feel free to follow up with us directly. Reach out any time. That looks like that’s it.