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Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) systems are used by manufacturing firms to manage production schedules and ensure availability of adequate inventory to meet delivery commitments. To maintain required – but not excessive – levels of inventory, MRP systems need to track inventory levels and generate purchase orders as inventory falls below the reorder thresholds.
A High-level View of the MRP Process
Every manufactured (or resold) product has unique stock keeping unit identifier code, or SKU. A car manufacturer, for instance, will have separate SKUs for every configuration of a given model of a car. The exact same configuration in different colors will also have different SKU numbers.
Each SKU is associated with a Bill of Materials (BOM), which is a list of all the sub-components or parts required to manufacture the SKU. During the production planning process, manufacturers forecast demand for their various products (SKUs) for a specific period, determine the number of units of each SKU to be manufactured, and map out a production schedule.
To keep to the production schedule, an adequate inventory of parts needs to be maintained, which may require periodic reordering to avoid both overstocking and delivery delays. Purchase requisitions need to be created to trigger the reordering process, and, once approved, purchase orders need to be generated and delivered to manufacturers or distributors.
While MRP processes may be implemented as point solutions, they’re most commonly deployed as modules within an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application like SAP.
The Role of Robotic Process Automation in MRP
Automation Anywhere Enterprise helps automate the MRP process by replacing manual tasks – which are error prone – with automated workflows that can mimic human action but perform at a speed, scale and accuracy that cannot be matched by humans. Automation is particularly useful when the workflow involves several business applications that must be chained together with or without API integrations.
Spotlight: A Bot to Create Purchase Requisitions in SAP
The Create Purchase Requisitions in SAP bot in the Automation Anywhere Bot Store
Provider: Automation Anywhere
In a manufacturing workflow, this bot is typically invoked when the quantities of one or more parts in the materials inventory fall below their reorder levels. The user may choose to batch parts by vendor/distributor and trigger this bot to generate a purchase requisition once a week. In the Just-In-Time (JIT) processes, this bot can also be used to instantly create a purchase requisition when any part falls to its reorder quantity.
In non-manufacturing scenarios, where for instance members of a marketing team need to create purchase requisitions for vendor services (e.g. analyst report, video creation, etc.), they can fill out an online form that can trigger the creation of a purchase requisition when submitted.
The purchase requisition is created in SAP and the requisition number is updated in the PR_Number field in the input Excel spreadsheet, which can then be used to create a purchase order for the required parts.
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