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8 tips for more control over your processes within mechanical engineering

Tip 1: Visualize your process

If you want to improve a process, it is necessary to visualize and discuss it in an unambiguous way with the employees and managers/team leaders involved. An unclear presentation and definition leads to long conversations with little result. Fortunately, there are standards for visualizing processes. A commonly used standard is BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation). In MS Visio, for example, the corresponding symbols are also available:

For example, a process flow might look like this:

It is important that you think in terms of roles (who is responsible for what) and visualize this in the right way. If you do this together with all stakeholders, you can create a good visualization of the current and desired situation. To bridge the ‘gap’ (the difference between the current and desired situation), you can then draw up a concrete step-by-step plan.

Tip 2: Identify bottlenecks and waste

In practice it appears that it is often difficult to visualize the current situation unambiguously. For example, different users can perform the same process in their own way. The question then is, among other things, what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’, what the best way is, and how you can unambiguously explain to your colleagues what differences there are, and especially what results those differences lead to. Visio or another process modeling tool is insufficiently suitable for this.
Process mining is a technique that can help with this. Based on the information that is recorded in databases, this software provides insight into process flows and can be used in depth
look at the specific flow of a user, article or order, for example.

Tip 3: Identify repetitive actions

If you know what the ‘standard’ flow is, and you know that many actions in it are always the same, this is an ideal time to see whether these actions can also be automated. often the possibilities in the existing applications (ERP, CRM, etc.) are insufficient. RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is then a perfect solution. An RPA bot imitates the actions of the employee. An RPA bot can automate everything that the employee has to do with a mouse and keyboard in the process. This is a major advantage over regular automation. Intelligent Process Automation gives employees the space to add real value. This means that scarce human resources can be deployed much more effectively.

In summary, RPA has the following advantages:

  • Low investment with a high return
  • Unchanged ICT infrastructure
  • More efficient business processes
  • Higher employee satisfaction – Lower absenteeism/turnover
  • Increasing clout and maneuverability
  • Optimal flexibility in (independently) adjusting process automation (with changed processes)

Tip 4: Make an action plan per process and calculate the ROI

It is valuable to determine what can be optimized per process, the actions for improvement and the ROI thereof. A so-called ‘0-measurement’ always provides a clear reference later on to determine what the real benefits are of an improvement. It is also very valuable to involve users in discovering opportunities for optimization and automation. To do this in a manageable and structured way, ‘Automation hub’ can be used, for example. Automation Hub (uipath.com)

This software helps to organize and structure automation proposals, determine the ROI and keep an overview of the planning and progress of automation projects.

Tip 5: Create involvement through a ‘center of excellence’

The far-reaching automation of processes naturally entails change. Not all employees are positive when they see that part of their work will be automated. It is also important that optimizing and automating processes does not remain a one-off activity. If process owners and users are actively involved in improvements and automation, this ensures better and lasting results. It is therefore important that a ‘center of excellence’ is set up within the organization. A ‘Center of Excellence’ often consists of involved process owners and process/data analysts, and RPA developers.

Tip 6: Start with a POV (Proof of value)

‘Think big, start small’ is often a good method to start with RPA. It is important not to see RPA as a one-off specific solution in a certain process, but to use it strategically in combination with process mining. At the same time, practice shows that ‘celebrating successes’ strongly contributes to the adoption and support of a new technology. That is why it is good to start with a Proof of Value for a specific process. An RPA bot for such a process can often be delivered within a few days/weeks. This allows the new process to be tested, and it is also possible to measure whether the expected savings can be achieved. Working with an RPA bot also makes it much clearer and more concrete for many users, and increases its adoption.

Tip 7: Make results measurable

To help the ‘Center of Excellence’ (CoE) in the continuous improvement of processes, it is necessary that the results of improvements and automation are made measurable and transparent. For example, you can use ‘Insights’ UiPath Insights: Dashboards and Widgets – YouTube

With this, all kinds of dashboards and widgets can be created, which help the CoE to make decisions about next optimization and automation steps. This is of course also possible in combination with Power BI. The results can be linked to various KPIs and thus provide even better insight and management information

Tip 8: Make use of our knowledge

If you want to start with data-driven process optimization in your organization, many choices must be made, knowledge must be developed, and roles must be defined. Many organizations like to have a partner who helps them make the right choices, can prevent mistakes, and help speed up the digitization process. Starcode knows both the technology and your industry. We are happy to advise you about the possibilities for your organization. We do this, among other things, with the help of a Power scan, with which we map out how far your organization is in the field of IT and process thinking. Based on this, we are happy to create a roadmap for the digitization of your organization with you. Of course we like to make our efforts measurable. The average ROI of our projects is between 3-9 months. Do you also want a 200% or more return on your
investment, and be agile for the future? Then contact us!

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