RPA and AI to drive finance process efficiencies in manufacturing

Johannesburg, 14 Jul 2021
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Johan Du Preez, business development, automation at iOCO.
Johan Du Preez, business development, automation at iOCO.

South African manufacturers, challenged in growing profits during tough economic times, can slash a significant overhead by deploying smart robotic process automation (RPA) in their finance departments.

This is according to Johan Du Preez, business development, automation at iOCO, and Neil van Wyngaard, business unit manager and enterprise architect at iOCO, who were speaking ahead of a webinar on RPA for Finance in Manufacturing, to be staged in partnership with Automation Anywhere and ITWeb.

With manufacturing and mining identified as key to South Africa’s economic growth in the next few years, these sectors need to streamline processes and reduce costs to drive their profitability.

“The bottom line is that costs have to be cut and this is one of the challenges keeping financial managers up at night,” says Van Wyngaard.

RPA using artificial intelligence (AI) takes over the repetitive, time consuming aspects of accounts payable, working faster and more accurately than humans can. This reduces the number of staff required to simply input data, and frees skilled staff up to perform tasks that deliver more value to the business, such as calling suppliers to negotiate discounts.

Du Preez and Van Wyngaard note that the manufacturing sector has been slow to embrace RPA and automation in their accounts payable processes, partly because manufacturing often deals with large volumes of accounts in a variety of formats.

“Until just a few years ago, there were few platforms that could help them, and those that were in the market were typically very expensive and required scarce IT resources to maintain them. But this has changed significantly in the past three years – now these technologies have advanced to the point where they are a lot more cost effective and accessible; requiring minimal IT resources to maintain,” says Du Preez.

The ability to reduce costs in the back office can make a significant difference to their profitability, they note. With properly implemented and run digital workforces, they can help achieve this.

The iOCO and Automation Anywhere RPA for Finance in Manufacturing webinar, to be held on 20 July, will outline how manufacturers can achieve up to 80% cost savings in accounts payable processes using AI-enabled RPA. 

The webinar will also outline the planning processes and strategies to achieve optimal results, with learnings and outcomes from real world customers who have implemented RPA in accounts payable. 

For more information and to register for this event, go to

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