Maximizing Efficiency Through Supply Chain Automation: An Industry-Led Approach to Monitoring Business Effectiveness


Today’s supply chain and its multitude of parts and processes are undergoing significant changes. Although it’s tempting to stick with traditional systems and management methods, to stay ahead of a competitive market, businesses need to adapt quickly. 

Advancements in technology have allowed businesses to replace manual tasks that eat away at company efficiency with process automation in their supply chain management strategy. When done properly, robotic process automation (RPA) can maximize productivity whilst minimizing costs in terms of time and money. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at what MRO data automation can look like in your operations and procurement strategies and the long-term benefits it has to offer. 

What MRO data automation looks like in your operation

Harmonized data collection

The process of data collection, entry, and storage can often feel like a necessary evil in MRO optimization, especially when manual processes are used. Traditional methods might involve employees spending countless hours handling these processes, leaving little to no time for actual analysis and keeping businesses from reaching their goals. 

Not only are these tasks prone to a high degree of human error, but the lack of standardization means data is more likely to be fragmented, disjointed, and lost across multiple systems. This makes data retrieval and interpretation that much more difficult.

Automating these processes can create more accurate and efficient data collection processes.  This makes it possible to make data collection a consistent practice rather than a quarterly, monthly, or annual one without sacrificing time and manpower. 

This leads to a more synchronized data collection system, offering more opportunities for meaningful insight rather than disparate findings that only tell a fraction of the story. Centralizing and harmonizing data also makes it easier for teams to identify pain points and improvement opportunities on both a micro and macro level.

Effortless analysis and improvement

Increased visibility offers a holistic view of operations so that procurement teams can quickly identify areas that are impacting performance and quickly take corrective action. 

One of the biggest perks of  RPA with supply chain management is that it’s not a one-size fits all solution. Companies can tailor their data automation strategies to meet the unique needs of their operations, taking into account the specific challenges and goals of their MRO procurement and management initiatives. For instance, some companies may prioritize inventory management and spend aggregation while others may focus on visibility and collaboration for centralizing parts or sharing across facilities.

It doesn’t just end there. When implementing intelligent solutions, companies don’t have to start from scratch—they can build on top of what already exists. 

This is extremely beneficial when testing out new territories in RPA and artificial intelligence while making improvements on the go. This can be done without investing significant resources in new infrastructure and lengthy technology implementation projects.

Recommendations that automate processes and increase efficiency 

Data is meaningless on its own—someone has to make sense of it so that informed business decisions can be made. And unfortunately, many organizations still fall into the trap of believing a data cleanse is needed to move forward with optimization efforts.

Traditionally, this involved a consultant or agency that offered insights based on predetermined strategies.  However, these solutions can’t provide the same speed, accuracy, and relevant insights that the continuous analysis of natural language processing (NLP), AI, and machine learning can. 

Natural language processing (NLP) and AI now allow advanced data analytics to be quickly pulled from large datasets to provide actionable insight based on numbers, rather than relying on fragmented procedural implementation. All of this can be done using the data as it currently exists, meaning no cleansing is required to get started.

What automation can do for your operation 

Increased control and visibility

The biggest problem with many systems is that they lack operation-wide visibility. As supply chain complexity expands, it becomes harder to track what goes on behind the scenes, creating silos and gaps in the system. 

For MRO and spare parts, this lack of transparency can manifest itself negatively in the supply chain in many forms such as unpredictable lead times, unplanned production downtime, and shipping delays of customer orders. Through automation, information is transferred and updated in the system in real-time, allowing relevant stakeholders to access accurate information with just a tap of their fingers. 

The right materials management software will display all the relevant information in a single platform, effectively increasing the visibility of a company’s MRO supply network. Market leaders can assign network models backed by powerful algorithms to create hub and spoke environments, find patterns in current material data, and develop strategies that adapt and reflect operational goals. 

Increased efficiency and reduced spending 

A top-notch materials management solution will harmonize operations and procurement processes and consolidate MRO data into one centralized platform for faster, more efficient decision-making. This means there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on traditional consultants or analytic power to fragment optimization.

With all MRO and spare parts data at your fingertips, companies can uncover hidden opportunities for optimization. The interface of a cloud-based solution can even track inventory, offering insight into what resources are available, exactly where they are located, and in what quantities.

Managers can quickly identify and resolve problems ahead of time to prevent further delays and disruptions. This can include eliminating malpractices such as rogue spending or increasing the lifespan of assets by making smart maintenance decisions. 

The right tool makes all the difference

The supply chain management strategies that you once knew are no longer sufficient. Robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing are the necessary tools of future improvement, and  they allow companies to develop the agility to respond to the unexpected at any given moment.

An intelligent MRO solution can get operations and procurement teams on the same page once and for all. Learn how organizations can maximize supply chain efficiency through intelligent materials management software here.

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