conversational AI

Optimizing ROI in Manufacturing with Conversational AI

Through the automation of your backroom, HR, and shopfloor processes, conversational AI can help manufacturing companies boost ROI.

The most successful manufacturing companies don't just have great products and a strong distribution system. They also have a deep understanding of their customers.

There was a time when operational skills were all that manufacturing companies needed to succeed in their industries. If you had a lean manufacturing operation, you made the highest-quality products, and you had a superior distribution system, you could beat the competition.

In the 2020s, those strengths just get you a place at the table. To dominate your markets today, you need to leverage the power of conversational AI in three different ways.

Conversational AI Automates Your Manufacturing Backroom Operations

Most manufacturing companies first adopt conversational AI to automate office tasks. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools, when integrated with conversational AI, can take over many tedious tasks that humans, such as:

  • Transferring data from multiple sources of information into documents of record. For example, conversational AI can update vendor and customer addresses and contact information.
  • Reconciling failure to charge for products or services across multiple billing systems. Conversational AI can track down accounting errors.
  • "Reading" contracts and regulatory documents to extract essential information through Machine Learning (ML) capabilities like OCR and AI-enhanced data extraction. This helps direct notices of incoming information to the right people in the right departments instantly and seamlessly.

The benefits of conversational AI for automating office processes come in two forms: hard ROI and soft ROI.

What Is Hard ROI in Manufacturing?

“Hard ROI” refers to processes like office overhead (printing, paper, maintenance, storage). It can include the benefits of fraud detection, cost savings related to early payment discounts, rate of workflow approval, and, of course, reduction in certain kinds of labor costs, notably data entry.

These tasks are particularly repetitive, so automating them is a significant time-saver and fairly easy. Conversational AI takes it one step further by adding intelligence to the equation through Natural Language Processing (NLP). Even the simplest of tasks can be automated using a highly intelligent system, ensuring high-quality performance. 

What Is Soft ROI in Manufacturing?

In contrast to hard ROI, “soft ROI” includes aspects that contribute to employee retention, as employees are free to spend more time on rewarding tasks. This includes:

  • Higher morale
  • Better company culture
  • Closer adherence to policies
  • Better collaboration across departments
  • Improved transparency and accountability
  • Better supplier relationships
  • Upgraded brand reputation
  • Happier customers

With less focus on tedious tasks and more time to devote to strategic projects, employees will see significantly greater job satisfaction thanks to conversational AI. Plus, with virtual AI assistants available for the constant support, communication, collaboration, and resource help all become significantly easier–and that’s just the start.

Data suggests that most companies save about 1/3 of their backroom operating costs when they adopt conversational AI, but how does that compare to the cost?

LSE professor of technology, work, and globalization Dr. Leslie Wilcocks says:

“The major benefit we found in the 16 case studies we undertook is a return on investment that varies between 30 and as much as 200% in the first year. But it’s wrong to look just at the short-term financial gains—particularly if those are simply a result of labor savings. That approach does not do justice to the power of the software because there are multiple business benefits.”

Adopting a conversational AI platform, like DRUID, offers even greater ROI for automating back-end operations.

Conversational AI Automates Your HR Operations

Another way conversational AI can increase company profits is by automating the day-to-day functions of your HR department.

Conversational AI Helps You Answer Ongoing Employees' Questions

A lot of what HR professionals do is answer employee questions. Conversational AI can respond to employee inquiries about benefits and HR policy. It can give them policy numbers and passwords to access their accounts directly. It can help employees choose health plans while taking their claims history and previous experience into account

NLP enables conversational AI to navigate employee inquiries with increasing efficiency after every interaction. ML enables the latest generation of conversational AI to draw information across systems to give each employee personalized, relevant information. 

But the benefits of conversational AI for HR in manufacturing don't stop there.

Conversational AI Helps You Recruit the Best Suited Job Candidates

One of the most important tasks of the HR department is recruitment. Conversational AI empowers HR departments to search for job candidates, detect job candidates, and select job candidates

Even if you know where to find job candidates (job websites, social media platforms like LinkedIn, and so on), it's hard to sort through the search field. Conversational AI learns exactly what the HR department is looking for through repeated interactions and finds potential job candidates in minutes instead of days.

Ultimately, the ROI of AI for HR depends on the success of your HR department in hiring and retaining excellent employees. But let's say that the average employee of your company generates $500,000 a year in revenue, and conversational AI enables your HR department to hire and retain employees who generate $600,000 a year in revenue. Conversational AI is highly profitable, and it can return millions of dollars per year.

Get the Guide on Conversational AI in HR


Conversational AI Increases Efficiencies on the Shop Floor

There's been a squeeze on manufacturing margins for a long time. Robotic automation of production lines by itself has delivered big returns on investment. But, to achieve ultimate profitability with automation, manufacturers must practice lean conversational AI and automate the conversational AI pipeline.

What Makes Conversational AI "Lean?"

A simple chatbot is a useful tool for matching inquiries and canned responses. But, it only handles a limited number of responses, so it can quickly become insufficient as supply lines pose challenges, manufacturing processes change, and customers become increasingly demanding. Conversational AI reads the intent of a query and finds meaningful answers beyond a limited palette of responses.

Conversational AI Makes Insights Instantly Available for Industrial Engineers

Easily accessing information within multiple internal systems and applications allows industrial engineers to prevent downtime, reduce scrap, control overhead and materials costs, and curate information for future use. This new technology provides a layer of oversight on the production flow that makes manufacturing safer and more profitable. It also integrates with training programs to give new hires greater opportunities for success on the job.

Every kind of manufacturer operates more efficiently with conversational AI. And, when conversational AI is available, everyone in the company can benefit from it. But what will be your ROI on conversational AI?

We'll be frank. To calculate the ROI on conversational AI for your company, you need to consider both the benefits of new efficiencies and the cost of mistakes. Conversational AI often has an ROI of 30 to 200%–but to get those returns, you need to choose an experienced provider.

How You Can Use DRUID to Increase Your ROI with Conversational AI

Successful adoptions of conversational AI often start with a pilot project. Manufacturing companies that make money with AI seek to correct systemic problems. They don't use conversational AI just to address a niche challenge but to be integrated into every aspect of their business.

High-ROI conversational AI projects attract the attention of company leaders across the entire value chain ecosystem. They use conversational AI solutions that integrate with existing upstream and downstream processes–without radically changing the technical architecture of the firm.

DRUID has the solutions and the experience to help your company make a smooth and profitable transition to conversational AI. Book a demo with us to see how conversational AI works for your business!


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