Automation isn’t a new idea in the manufacturing industry. Since the industrial revolution, manufacturers have sought new ways to leverage technological innovations to streamline processes, increase production and lower costs to become more efficient and profitable. While adoption of technology has increased the speed, accuracy and quality of the products that manufacturers produce, most still rely on outdated paper-processes to run core functions of their business. In an industry where automation remains a top priority, it’s amazing that some manufacturers haven’t embraced digital environments to better manage the content, processes and cases that run their business.
However, as manufacturers see the benefits of moving to digital environments, they are seeking information management solutions to empower employees by delivering accurate, updated information when they need it, wherever they are. By granting instant access to information, manufacturers increase productivity, improve service levels and reduce operating costs and risk associated with inaccurate data.
1. Increase productivity with essential functionality
Incorporating a single enterprise information platform into your IT strategy will bring functionality such as enterprise content management (ECM), case management, business process management (BPM), records management and capture to your organization. By combining these capabilities in a single platform, manufacturers gain the ability to capture, manage and access important information when they need it to make better decisions.
Because information management solutions integrate with nearly any line-of-business application with real-time information sharing, employees know they have the most updated information and can push that data to the next step in the process through digital workflows. This ensures the entire process stays digital, tracking information that is updated or edited along the way to complete the process faster.
2. Improving service levels through digital practices
Today more than ever, customers expect faster and more personalized service. It’s become ingrained in many organizations’ missions and visions to deliver the best service to their customers. Embracing digital processes is a necessary first step. Once information is captured and stored digitally, it allows employees to perform their jobs faster by giving better insight and transparency into processes and orders. The next time a customer calls for information regarding their purchase, service representatives can immediately access that information and provide the details the customer needs.
3. Reduce Costs
Paper is expensive. Think of all the costs associated with handling, filing, storing and finding paper alone. But often organizations underestimate how much paper they rely on each day. We’ve seen instances where manufacturers immediately eliminate hundreds-of-thousands of paper documents. And by eliminating paper, they eliminate the risk that comes with paper, such as mishandled or missing documents.
4. Reduce Risk
Information management solutions provide additional security that paper cannot, by enabling content owners to control user and group permissions, granting access to people who should be viewing documents and restricting access to others. Lastly, these solutions ensure the most current version of a document is being viewed and utilized, which is critical for manufacturing procedures and material safety.
These high-level benefits nearly make the case for how critical it is to incorporate a single enterprise information platform into IT strategies, but what is most appealing to manufacturers are its enterprise capabilities. Because these platforms are nimble and agile, they can be implemented in one department and expanded, when the organization is ready, to other departments to achieve greater efficiency and ROI. Here are some examples of how information management solutions enable manufacturers to meet process control, engineering change management and facilities management needs:
- Process Control
Incorporating functionality like electronic checklists ensures manufacturers meet quality control objectives within their policies and procedures. Enterprise information platforms allow organizations to build tailored checklists based off their policies and automatically assign tasks to specific individuals to streamline the processes. Building checklists around procedures ensures work is completed on time, while meeting the expected quality standards your organizations promotes. At the same time it provides managers with real-time visibility into process performance with the ability to easily audit the status of policies and procedures. With total transparency into policies and procedures managers can make more informed decisions.
- Engineering Change Management
Change management processes are necessary for manufacturing organizations to evolve and become more efficient. But implementing change management processes requires requests, determining attainability, planning, implementing and evaluating changes to a system – which is time consuming and costly for organizations that still rely on paper. By automating change management processes with an enterprise information platform, businesses can quickly implement necessary changes to processes, systems and product configurations, while ensuring the right processes is followed. Change requests take less time to complete when compared to manual systems and each stage, from the initial request to implementation and review, is tracked which provides greater visibility.
- Facilities Management
Embracing a digital environment brings additional benefits to facilities management as well because all important information your organization relies on to maintain facilities and manage work requests is stored in a central location. By connecting that information with GIS systems and asset management solutions, manufactures become more connected to more efficiently manage operations, maintenance and repair of facilities. Automated workflows ensure they easily dispatch service requests, schedule and track their process and report on all activities, increasing labor efficiency and improving vendor and technician productivity.
The move toward digital environments is the next wave of automation that manufacturers need to stay competitive and deliver quality service. Manufacturers looking to implement innovative technology to support this goal should seek a tool that incorporates multiple capabilities such as capture, workflow, content management, records management and case management. By adding these capabilities into internal procedures you will digitize documents and processes, increase efficiency, improve service levels and reduce costs. When evaluating information management solutions, be sure to select an agile solution that supports continued growth and improvement with ability to expand into different processes and departments including process control, engineering change management and facilities management. Embracing a digital environment and streamlining these integral parts of your business will greatly improve organizational success.
Danielle Simer is global commercial marketing portfolio manager at Hyland.