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“The future of manufacturing is Robotic Process Automation”

Rohit Gaur, Group Head – IT, Optiemus Group, and CIO Power List 2017 winner, discusses the impact of RPA on jobs, processes, and profits. By Satyaki Sarkar

Over the years, Rohit Gaur has honed his skills in ERP and SAP development and implementation, IT infrastructure management, information security, and network management in the manufacturing domain. Prior to Optiemus, he worked with companies like Spark Engineering Pvt Ltd, Continental Carbon India Ltd, and Subros Ltd. For his contributions, Rohit was recently recognised as an SCM Icon at CIO Power List 2017. Here he tells us why automation is going to revolutionise the manufacturing industry. “Two-three years down the line we will have reached a stage where production is carried out entirely by robots, with very little or no human intervention needed. Soon, all jobs in the world will be will be driven by automation.”

Creating jobs rather than taking them away
“Robotic process automation is not going to take away jobs. But it’s actually going increase the value of jobs and streamline them into more precision-based ones. From a few years ago, when we didn’t have the kind of technology we do today, to now, when there’s a plethora of technology, the number of jobs available has increased, actually doubled. The difference is that the kind of jobs has changed, with jobs requiring repetitive manual labour being replaced by machines, and humans taking on more critical job roles, involving administrative or managerial functions.”

“The same goes for RPA, which is not something new, but rather something that we’ve been moving towards for a while now, and is only now gaining widespread recognition and attention. At the moment we are still exploring the technology, how to use it to improve business, decrease expenditure, etc. However, I have to admit that robotics will lead to a reduction in the need for manpower. But it will create new jobs that will be more high-level in nature, requiring specialised skills and thinking capabilities. This, in turn, will lead to business growth and increased profit, and as a result creating opportunities for more jobs.”

Weighing the pros and cons
“Our organisation is centred around retail distribution and manufacturing, and one of the biggest challenges in that is handling unskilled manpower. Stakeholders are definitely looking forward to handling this area efficiently and precisely. However, automation is still at an experimental stage because while everything cannot be automated, some areas can be. The challenge lies in finding out which aspect of an organisation’s operations can be completely automated and where it will reveal a benefit or have the same cost as manual labour owing to expensive machinery and labour.

“We have already implemented RPA in our organisation to completely automate and digitise data compilation and records management. It has increased the accuracy and reliability of our information database, while eliminating human error. Unskilled labour is not technically unskilled; they have the basic skill sets necessary, but lack the streamlining that only training can provide.”

“Because of the haphazard nature of unskilled labour, properly managing and organising it can be difficult. Automation is one of the biggest solutions that makes this process easier by reducing the burden and dependency on manual labour. It increases consistency, quality of work, and reliability, while making sure that there is no outage due to inefficiency, absenteeism, etc.” 

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