All across many different industries, companies are adding robots to the mix. There are a great number of use cases relevant to manufacturing and industrial processes that rely on robotics. A lot of this technology is fairly new, and so executives and others are working hard to keep up with what is emerging on the market for this type of innovation.
In general, though, people often talk about something called ‘robots for process management’ or, ‘robotics for process automation.’
Let’s break down some of this language and talk about how companies employ robots in the modern workspace.
Robotic Process Automation and Robots for Process Management
The term ‘robotic process automation’ has to do with the software that you use to program robots to do processes, says IBM. So that software supports the idea of using robots for process management.
With that in mind, if you search this kind of thing, what you usually see is “robots for process automation” or “RPA.”
For most companies, it all comes down to the same thing – putting robots in place to handle processes that humans used to do manually. The robots will provide stable, reliable power for automation, and can add a lot of value in so many different types of physical work.
Physical and Digital Process Management
Companies can choose from two fundamentally different kinds of process management – physical and digital process management. Both of them are valuable to business, but they are very different from each other.
Physical process management is all of these things that robotics does to accomplish physical tasks in a workspace. That may have to do with transporting items, materials handling, or other types of physical tasks that humans used to do. For example, a robot may accomplish what’s called “machine tending” – feeding individual pieces into a machine, and receiving them after their processing. It might also stack, relay or pack the items for shipping. Part of the appeal is the versatility of what robots can do: thinking deliberately, business leaders can choose the exact level of involvement that works best for a company, for example, phasing in robotics over time.
Digital process management involves using software to do things like logging, application logins, moving files and folders, copying or inserting information, or filling in forms (more details). So here, even though we say ‘robot,’ there’s usually not a physical robot involved.
Both of these types of process management are aimed at supporting a workforce and moving the most tedious and repetitive tasks from the worker’s plate. In digital process management, this often just means eliminating tedious or labor-intensive work. But in physical process management with robotics, it means alleviating the chance of repetitive stress injuries or ergonomics problems, by replacing human workers with skilled robotic installations.
Benefits of Using Robots for Processes
Companies can recognize a lot of concrete benefits from deploying robots for physical process automation and process management.
Cost savings – because robots tend to be cheaper than human labor in the long run, the company can save quite a bit of money using robots for process management.
Compliance – using robots can cut out a lot of the compliance procedures associated with human labor, such as workers compensation and injury risk.
Productivity – robots can often accomplish greater productivity than the human workforce given the same input and directives thanks to how flexible they can be with servos and motors like the DKC Series from WakeIndustrial.com.
Resilience – robotics systems are often more resilient than the human body in some ways.
Accuracy – here, a simple way to talk about this is that robots don’t classically ‘get tired’ the way humans do. They do wear down, but can be maintained in an organized way to last a business a long time, and accomplish productive and accurate results.
Many companies think of this in terms of return on investment or ROI. Doing the math means looking into the costs of labor, the costs of installing the robot, and the cost of maintaining it over time.
In short, there are a lot of ways to use robots for process management. It’s a very broad part of our modern business world, and it’s different for every company. Think about ways to integrate robots into the workplace environment. This type of innovation is a key part of the fourth Industrial Revolution or “Industry 4.0” that is revolutionizing how we view business in the twenty-first century.
Last Updated: November 15, 2023