How paper-based processes can hurt your business
written by Lucia Jasenovcova on September 14, 2021
Paperless operations are crucial to achieving growth. They help organizations to boost efficiency, eliminate waste, reduce cycle times, and cut costs. While it’s been decades since paperless manufacturing became a matter of discussion, many organizations still use mostly paper-based processes.
If you are one of them, this little fact may help you change your mind. According to studies, 70 % of all businesses would not last a month if they lost their paper records in case of a natural disaster. While this may seem a little bit extreme, minor natural disasters happen every day. Physical documents get mixed up, spilled on, and become outdated. They are either too far, too hard to understand, or end up at the bottom of someone’s bag. All of this may be hurting your productivity in a way you do not even realize.
You don’t have to have all the processes stored up on a server right from the get-go, but it’s a good idea to look into it. And who knows – it might save your business one day. Here are four reasons to upgrade paper-based operations.
Fewer mistakes and higher production quality
With paper comes trouble. There are many ways of getting astray when carrying out tasks on the shop floor. Managing work instructions, packaging and labeling requirements, and complex diagrams at the same time can be overwhelming, increasing the risk of mistakes.
Especially in manufacturing, where there are frequent changes, the workload for paper-based document creation, revision, and management quickly become unsustainable. When workers record each completed task on paper step-by-step, inaccurate or missing information can have consequences in future product handling, such as shipping. Digitizing the production process can reduce data input errors that compromise their integrity across your organization. It can also automate reviews and track changes or edits.
Digitalized production processes secure that all documentation, equipment usage, and workflow are in sync. One of the bases of paperless manufacturing that keep production in check are standardized operating procedures. They make sure workers get the right information precisely when needed and can focus on one thing at a time. Furthermore, defining each step and the best practices right from the start means there is no room for errors, no matter how simple or complex the task. By applying clear guidelines, you ensure consistency in results – even with less experienced workers meeting the highest production quality standards.
There are many instances when employees have trouble accessing information and necessary data to make informed decisions with paper-based operations. It often comes in different forms and from various sources, which makes it harder to analyze. Furthermore, if workers on the shop floor receive information on paper, it takes time to pass around. By the time it gets to everyone, it is likely to be already outdated.
Harvesting data digitally allows better visibility into processes, enabling evidence-based decision-making both for workers and the management. Data can be analyzed for unique insights that improve operations in the long run and offer a competitive advantage. It also allows workers access to real-time data to make well-informed decisions quickly and strategically. With an intelligent data collection system, manufacturers will receive data about operations and alerts on problems as they occur.
Boosting efficiency and technological development
According to research by McKinsey, workers spend up to 20% of their time looking for and collecting information. This may include looking through manuals or walking to the other side of the facility to print something. Having accessible, up-to-date digital information allows workers to react faster and spend time on more important tasks.
Going paperless also opens many doors for future innovation to boost process efficiency. For example, it can help manufacturers to create more efficient training and onboarding. Trainings can take place in the field instead of dusty classrooms, using interactive digital guides to enhance knowledge retention and worker engagement. It also supports innovative solutions such as employee platforms where workers can collaborate on complex tasks, give feedback, and share ideas.
Digitalization also makes space for technologies such as augmented reality that has proven itself to be especially helpful in workforce support. Lockheed Martin found that after they started to use AR in assemblies, the time required to interpret instructions was reduced by 90 %, overall training by 85 %, and their productivity increased by more than 40 %.
And the most obvious of them all – costs.
Forms, documents, worksheets, certificates, manuals, diagrams… it adds up. And the costs do not include the cost of paper solely. It also requires stationery, printing, ink, and more to hold paper-based information.
Considering that the information takes on physical form after printing, it is also needed to store them and take care of added administration securely. On average, 3 % of the organization’s revenue goes towards creating, managing, and distributing paper documents. After going paperless, those can be additional funds to improve operations instead.
Interested in starting your paperless journey? Try Resco Houston!
Resco Houston is a knowledge management application that will help you keep up with the competition.
Empower workers to share expertise in real time and improve operation efficiency with all the necessary knowledge at your workers’ fingertips. All your tribal knowledge, guides, manuals, and AR video calls are available in a single package.
Find out more & book a 30-minute demo here.