News Releases 2018Meiden streamlining operations through robotic process automation

Meidensha Corporation (Meiden) has introduced robotic process automation (RPA)*, the use of software that can be programmed to do white-collar workers’ routine tasks, across all its departments as part of the company’s efforts to change employees’ work styles.

Introduction of RPA is expected to reduce the routine workload previously done by manpower. Meiden will eventually replace all or some of the manual work process with RPA. The company estimates a total of 73,000 working hours will be reduced by RPA in the next three years to fiscal 2020. The company plans to use these surplus work hours generated by RPA for more important tasks.

The program aims to improve operational efficiency and also reexamine current operations to determine if there are redundant or unnecessary tasks. This will culminate in reform of the operational process.

From October 2017, Meiden carried out a six-month pilot program that introduced RPA to eight fields whose operations were regarded as difficult to streamline with conventional methods, including operations at the finance and public relations departments and monthly reports and parts list compilation at plants. The eight fields were able to reduce 1,600 working hours on a yearly basis, with each slashing the hours by 20 percent to 90 percent.

Meiden has established an organization tasked with implementing RPA in the entire company to increase the proportion of work carried out by RPA and promote automation to peripheral operations. The company will study the possibility of introducing RPA to manufacturing processes.

The merits of RPA do not stop there. RPA is expected to enhance the quality of operations by reducing errors in manual work; strengthen internal controls through work records made by RPA; and help visualize operations through streamlined operation flows, which can be used as data when a task is handed from one worker to another. It also helps boost workers’ job satisfaction by releasing them from a large volume of routine work.

Meiden will continue efforts to improve operational efficiency and quality through work style reforms by investing in information technology.

*Robotic process automation refers to use of a software “robot” installed in computers to memorize work done by white-collar workers so that routine tasks can be automated or to allow the robot to make judgments based on memorized rules, with the goal of streamlining operations. There is no need to change the computer system. 

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