Manufacturing Industry Ripe for Automation Opportunities

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Aug 28, 2013

InfoTrends recently published its second in-depth primary research study on the manufacturing industry within the Business Process Automation Consulting Service. The manufacturing industry is a dynamic market with several sub-industries that can vary greatly in size and output demand, and because of these widespread differences, certain processes may require more exhaustive and paper-intensive workflows. InfoTrends broke down the manufacturing industry into four key workflow areas: 1) Product Planning/Design, 2) Procurement, 3) Production, and 4) Fulfillment. Within those areas, we broke down the industry further and discovered several major manual processes that demonstrate the biggest areas for automation opportunity for vendors: 1) Sample testing and trials, 2) Quality assurance/product inspections, 3) On-site supplier audits, and 4) Warehousing.

The following chart is an example of one of the most paper-intensive areas in manufacturing — Sample Testing and Trials. Due to the high frequency of the sample testing and trials process (occurring on average of five times per product) and paper being used roughly 38% of the time, automating this area will improve processing times and compliance initiatives (both of which are the top goals and objectives for manufacturing organizations today).

Not only is paper heavily used during the testing of sample quality, but it is one of the most time and resource-intensive processes in Manufacturing. On a 5-point scale (with 1 meaning the least time/resource-intensive and 5 meaning the most), nearly 43% of respondents assigned a rating of 4 or 5 to performing sample tests/trials, with a few other processes close behind.

Because there can be several internal and external parties involved, including any regulatory processes and approvals, the sample testing and trials process is very complex. The high rate of testing and trials per product combined with the predominant use of paper and extensive resource-intensiveness offers several opportunities for vendors to provide software and solutions to help automate this area.

InfoTrends uncovers several more vendor opportunities within the four key paper-intensive manufacturing areas as we identify specific processes that can be addressed with scanning, mobile and workflow solutions. In addition, we demonstrate the attitudinal barriers or stimuli that are slowing or accelerating the adoption of each of these solutions. Lastly, we identify key return on investment metrics for automating paper-intensive processes that are time-saving, monetary, compliance-driven, and auditable that can be used to promote the benefits of a software or solution investment.

For more information about this study and how you can take advantage of this lucrative market, please contact Scott Phinney at

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