In recent years, boosting the efficiency of business processes through digital technology as a means to enhance competitiveness has grown increasingly important, and the utilization of RPA, which incorporates robots to automate routine PC-based work, has been drawing significant interest. While the introduction of RPA has progressed among the financial and some other industries, extensive introduction in the materials industry where AGC operates has been generally regarded as impractical due to the wide diversity of tasks and limited amount of common business processes.
Led by its "Smart AGC Promotion Division," responsible for reforming business processes through digital technology, AGC has been carrying out demonstrations and exhibitions of the latest RPA applications at each of its sites and group companies since February 2018, focusing efforts on proposing RPA applications suited to the unique conditions of each location. This resulted in AGC introducing a total of 70 robots, mainly in indirect departments such as accounting, purchasing and R&D, which as of the end of September 2019 has already succeeded in reducing work hours by 4,200 hours/year versus before introduction, especially through the automation of slip entry work in the accounting system, and goods receipt confirmation work in the purchasing management system.
To further boost operational efficiency, the company plans to continue expanding RPA in terms of both geographical locations and the scope of business processes. By introducing RPA in Europe, US, and Asia, and by expanding its applications beyond those at indirect departments to production control divisions at production plants, AGC aims reduce work hours by at least 10,000 hours/year by the end of 2020.
Under its AGC plus management policy, the AGC Group is committed to promoting Smart AGC which aims to reform business processes through digital technology. The company has been working to improve operational efficiency through data science in differentiation areas which include development and manufacturing processes. AGC aims to provide new added value to its customers by simultaneously boosting operational efficiency in non-differentiation areas as well, including data input, calculation and other routine work through the continued introduction and expansion of RPA.