The high-tech manufacturing industry has experienced its fair share of challenges over the past few years. According to a recent Industry Week survey, organizations are broadly “concerned about finding and training skilled workers, the lack of soft skills in new recruits, implementing new technology effectively on the shop floor and pressure from foreign competition, to name a few.”

An article posted on expresses similar trepidation, noting that a lack of qualified workers is a major source of stress across the industry. The article goes on to say that “The use of advanced technologies across manufacturing operations requires workers with a higher level of training and skills.” While companies struggle to locate qualified resources equipped to handle advances in technology, the demand for on-time and on-budget project completion never stops.

Worksoft customer Applied Materials agrees with this sentiment. As a leader in semiconductor and materials engineering solutions, the company is at the front of the pack when it comes to solving business challenges with forward-thinking technology. As part of this commitment to innovation, Applied Materials maintains an aggressive schedule of updating and streamlining its SAP infrastructure.  With the pace of change increasing across the SAP landscape, executives recognized that manual testing was no longer enough to meet the company’s high-quality standards. That’s why Applied Materials turned to Worksoft automation. Using Worksoft’s code-free automation platform meant the company could leverage its existing technical workforce and subject matter experts to deploy a high-speed quality assurance program.

Another bonus? Since Worksoft is an SAP partner with over a decade of experience, the company had confidence it could meet its stated goal of automating testing across end-to-end SAP processes. They quickly found that automation replaced a significant amount of the manual testing effort for upgrades and other projects. This has ultimately freed up functional analysts to focus on more strategic projects.

The struggle to find skilled workers isn’t an issue limited to the high-tech manufacturing industry. As we discussed in this blog post, there is a wave of retiring talent with skillsets employers are scrambling to replace. These workers are typically high performers with years of experience in complex, continuously evolving technologies. Not surprisingly, this is beginning to affect enterprise and mid-market companies in virtually every industry.

The Adoption of Automation

While automation can’t train employees on an entirely new skill set, it can eliminate manual effort and help companies get more done in less time, with less money. But the benefits of adopting a next-generation automation platform don’t end there! Applied Materials took the crawl, walk, run approach, which means they opted to start the automation journey with a small project. After demonstrating strong positive results with the first initiative, they picked a slightly larger project and replicated success. Throughout the adoption process, they continued slowly working their way up to enterprise level projects.

This approach was extremely beneficial when communicating the value of automation to upper management. Heather Whitfield, Program Manager of the SAP Test Support Office at Applied Materials said, “It was an opportunity to give our executives visibility into what we could achieve and how it saved the company time and money.”

See some of the automation achievements so far:

  • 40%-time savings for technical upgrade
  • 90% of tests automated for CRM project
  • 8,000 manual tests replaced
  • $10,00 saved per refresh
  • 9,000 manual steps replaced
  • 500 hours of manual testing saved

The pace of technology change isn’t slowing down anytime soon. If you’re ready to eliminate manual testing so that your employees can start to focus on high value projects that better align with their skillsets, the adoption of intelligent automation is a step in the right direction. Learn more about Worksoft’s automation platform here.