RPA in Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Why You Need It

The digital transformation is continuing to change the way businesses operate. Customers are now more connected and expect a greater level of service and personalization. As a result, companies are focused on streamlining their processes and operations in order to meet these new demands. This requires the adoption of new technologies that can support these changes, resulting in a rise in artificial intelligence, virtual assistants, big data analytics, and automated software processes (RPA). Read on for a complete rundown of how RPA can be used to streamline your supply chain management processes.

What is RPA?

RPA stands for robotic process automation. It is an advanced approach that involves automating repetitive and rule-based tasks through software robots. These software robots are programmed to perform tasks similarly to how a human might perform them, if not better. They’re ideal for companies that need to scale their workforces to meet high-volume needs without adding to the payroll. RPA is ideal for supply chain management as it can be applied to a broad range of processes, including customer service, procurement, inventory management, order management, and sales. When adopted, RPA can help supply chain operations by increasing efficiency through the reduction of manual tasks and improved integration with other systems. It can also provide a consistent level of customer service as it can be programmed to follow the same rules and escalate any issues that may occur. This is particularly important in the customer service department, as consistency is essential in order to maintain customer satisfaction.

RPA In Supply Chain

Why You'll Need RPA in your Supply Chain

As mentioned, RPA can be used across the supply chain, but each department will have varying needs. In customer service, it can be used to handle repetitive requests, provide consistent service, and quickly escalate issues. In procurement, it can be used to automate tasks such as supplier selection, contract management, and procurement-to-pay processes. In inventory management, it can be used to optimize the process of placing orders, forecasting, and demand-to-supply balancing. In order to handle these varying needs, you’ll need to implement RPA across the whole supply chain. The need for RPA in the supply chain comes from the fact that manual tasks are often time-consuming and can lead to mistakes. RPA is designed to automate tasks so that humans are not required as often. By reducing the amount of manual tasks and increasing the efficiency of operations, RPA can help to reduce costs across the supply chain.

How RPA Works in Supply Chain Management

RPA can be used to automate the processes that are currently being performed manually across the supply chain. For example, a business may have a number of staff members continually checking the stock levels of items. An RPA application can be developed to check the stock levels at certain times throughout the day and alert employees if they fall below a certain level. This brings consistency to the process, as all employees will be notified at the same times. This application can also be developed to learn the inventory levels of each department, so that it can alert employees to potential issues before they occur. RPA in supply chain can be used to integrate with other systems, such as customer relationship management software. In this scenario, it can be used to retrieve customer information and automatically generate the correct sales orders. This automation of tasks can help to reduce errors, speed up processes, and improve customer service.

Utilize AI and ML with your RPA platform

Businesses that want to implement RPA across their supply chains will need to identify a platform that is supported by their technology infrastructure. There are multiple providers of RPA software. Each of these RPA platforms offers different features, so it’s important to identify the best platform for your organization. These platforms can be used to develop workflows that support a variety of functions, including customer service, procurement, inventory management, and order management. In order to utilize AI and machine learning technologies with your RPA platform, you’ll need to identify a solution that is cloud-based. This will allow you to scale the solution according to your needs. It will also allow you to integrate other systems with your RPA solution, such as customer relationship management, supply chain management, enterprise resource planning, and financial systems.

RPA in Logistics

Logistics involves the transportation of goods from one location to another. In supply chain management, this often includes the movement of goods from the manufacturer to the final destination. RPA can be used to automate the tasks involved in logistics, like the creation of transport orders, dispatch of goods, identification of potential risks, and maintenance of records. Automating these tasks can help to increase efficiency by reducing the number of errors that occur and increasing the speed of the process. A common RPA application in logistics is the identification and management of rules. This is important as it can help to reduce the risk of fraud and provide greater consistency.

RPA In Inventory Management

Inventory management involves the use of a perpetual inventory system to track goods and identify shortages or excess stock. This system can be automated with an RPA application that can communicate with the inventory management software to identify the quantity of items and generate purchase orders when necessary. This automation of the inventory process will help to reduce the amount of human errors that occur, such as forgetting to place a purchase order on time. It will also help to reduce the time spent performing these tasks, allowing employees to focus on more important activities. RPA can also be used to optimize the forecasting process. This involves predicting the demand for specific items and when they will be needed.


As businesses continue to adopt digital transformation practices, they will need to adopt new technologies and solutions that support these changes. This includes the adoption of RPA, which can be used to automate the processing and management of inventory, logistics, and other supply chain functions. In order to implement RPA across the supply chain, businesses will need to identify an RPA platform best supports the existing IT infrastructure. 

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