Bridgestone redirected 50,000 work hours using RPA technology
Speed and precision in results with process automation
The search for continuous improvement is one of the objectives that are part of the permanent goals of companies, regardless of their size or activity.
In addition, using human capital efficiently, so that hours of work are not wasted on activities with low return, is one of the main challenges that corporations face in this quest.
As an answer to this obstacle, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has emerged to redirect human labor to activities that actually require expertise from its employees. Smarthis aims to be a partner for companies during this process, assisting in their automation and digital transformation challenges.
Due to this partnership, Bridgestone, the world’s largest tire manufacturer, has redeployed more than 50,000 hours of work through the RPA solutions developed by Smarthis.
With over 51 tire plants, 143,000 employees and 180 facilities for manufacturing, research and development around the world, Bridgestone considers digital transformation to be a suite of initiatives that enable the company to advance toward its strategic goals.
Based on this premise, the company has made the decision to use automation technologies to enhance the efficiency of its processes and tackle difficulties that directly affected its production time and costs.
How to do this without losing productivity during the automation journey? The company needed the solutions to deliver:
|A short development process
|A simple, fast deployment that facilitated internal acceptance and engagement
|An uncomplicated new system, so the team could interact smoothly
|A reliable methodology for data security, since sensitive information would be used during this process.
After a thorough evaluation, Smarthis was chosen based on its development methodology that met all the needs listed by the company. Reassuring our excellence in developing, in a fast, customized and effective way, RPA solutions – Robotic Process Automation.
How does Smarthis operate?
The phases of the RPA development and deployment process proceed as follows:
Mapping: before starting the project, Smarthis surveys and identifies the processes that may be candidates for undergoing automation. In other words, those that have well-defined parameters, high recurrence and high return potential.
Design: This is where the planning of the project model takes place, from the optimization of the current activity flow to the analysis of the user interaction screens and the creation of the automation schema.
Validation: the technical capability of automation is verified in relation to the volume of activities to be performed.
Development: the process automation system will be built by the development team, once the activities and data from the previous phase have been analyzed.
Assisted operation: the moment when automation starts to operate in a controlled way, in consecutive and uninterrupted cycles, testing all the scenarios that may occur during the processes.
Production: after the test flow, the improvements are made and their results ensure that the automation will handle all the existing variables and execute the solutions successfully.
Let us take a closer look at some of the goals Bridgestone wanted to achieve with our customized solutions:
|Further optimize the accuracy of sales forecasts
|Implement improvements in the management of distribution channels, as this process was quite time consuming
|Facilitate the handling of complex databases for decision support
|Reduce rework by increasing the teams’ productivity
|Allow adaptations throughout the implementation, maintaining the agility of the process
Due to the complexity of the tasks, these could take days or weeks, and any setback in these routines would cause great losses to the organization. Then the implementation of RPA automation was the solution Bridgestone was looking for, once the technology allows its results to be predictable, traceable and with minimal errors, conferring even more agility and competitiveness to the organization, raising its level of excellence.
Deployment of e-commerce – an important commercial demand
Bridgestone visualized the opportunity to expand its sales to attend a new type of public that, especially after the pandemic, has become very adept at online shopping.
One of the strategic goals set by the leadership was to start selling through one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world. However, there was a hitherto insurmountable difficulty: the company’s ERP used by the organization was not able to interface with the platform’s inventory and sales management tool.
During the process, the company understood that developing an effective adaptation to make this integration happen was not feasible given the amount of time required to customize the native system, which could take months of development.
Solution proposed by Smarthis
Develop an automation that would operate as a connection between both systems, devoted 24 hours to this process.
In this way, the automation would verify the entry of orders, would automatically register them in the company’s ERP, and with this request completed, it would respond to the e-commerce system, informing that the order had been processed.
In addition, our solution would follow the whole process from issuing the invoice to the customer, informing the e-commerce platform and concluding the work with the availability of the product to the user.
The total time for the identification, development, and deployment of this solution was only 30 days.
Production Planning – the challenges of Sales Operation
Production planning consists of defining the order of orders to be filled during the month, to guide the production line as to the demand for inputs, machine/hour and delivery logistics.
This process required a high manual involvement of employees in each step, taking approximately 32 hours of work per month, with the constant need to validate variable guidelines and check critical information for the production sector, aligning the production capacity available in the period with the pending orders.
Solution proposed by Smarthis
Redesign the process by proposing a new standardization of parameters, flow and information.
Thus, automation would take over all the logic of checking variables and consolidating data in a report with quick access and easy use on a daily basis.
The results obtained have shown that, besides the improvement in the flow of activity with the institutionalization of fixed parameters for the classification of the production order, the automation went further. In fact, it took over the entire process without the need for human intervention, reducing operation time to only 20 minutes, generating a return on savings of more than 90%, and the possibility of adjustments and simulations.
Since the beginning of our partnership, more than 110 processes have been automated at Bridgestone do Brasil, and we are currently assisting the company on a global scale, with RPA projects in Argentina, Chile, and Mexico. What does this mean?
In addition to the more than 50,000 work hours reallocated to more strategic activities, there was the delivery of
Reduction of 80%
Increased flow, data control, and the possibility of simulations
Forecast of short-term return on the investments made in APR.
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