Document Management Tools You Can Use in Manufacturing


    As demand has risen, so, too, have the needs of manufacturing – to improve the supply chain while also ensuring maximum efficiency. You know what isn’t efficient toward those efforts? Paper. However, most manufacturers are bound to paper for procedures, ranging from product packing to supply chain maintenance requests.

    There’s a lot that goes into designing a product and taking it to manufacturing, assembly, feedback, testing, and so on. Cluttering your efforts with paper and towering filing cabinets will only serve to inhibit the product flow, as well as your ability to distribute valued products to suppliers in a timely manner.

    Case in point: you do yourself no service if you’re dictating the flow of business through manual paper processes.

    Document management is an affordable alternative that directly solves many of manufacturing’s toughest pain points – even the “7 year” rule for storage of documents.

    Let’s go into several document management tools, and how you can use them to jumpstart productivity and simplify your manufacturing process:

    Document Management: The Tools Repository

    Document management serves as a data and information platform. Think of it as a repository that holds your invoices, spreadsheets, CAD files, and any other files that may be of use to the manufacturing process.

    This does a couple of things – useful things:

    • Provides instant data accessibility to other documentation
    • Reduces time searching for files in multiple places – on a computer hard drive, in a USB, or remotely tucked away in a filing cabinet
    • Facilitates the QA process so everything’s kept in one place
    • Ensures compliance and requirements for storage (especially pertinent for Accounts Payable)
    • Makes your workplace easily auditable 

    See how this chemical manufacturing plant implemented document management QA in half a work day, and accounting in 2 days!

    Without document management, these tools wouldn’t be integrated, and you’d have to pull records from every which way.

    Automated Document Routing & Indexing

    As we mentioned before, having one central location for your documents is essential for a simplified and automated manufacturing process. With records management and automated routing, you can allocate and tag information automatically, so finding it later isn’t a headache.

    Real-world scenario: One of your goals for the year is to reduce time-to-market for your product – pharmaceuticals – by 25%. You’ve discovered there’s been a huge surge of growth in the demand for product, and your current workforce is having a difficult time distributing product in a timely manner. The bottleneck occurs when orders come in and papers are printed and sent to the warehouse to be fulfilled. The work order is oftentimes not recorded digitally until much later in the process, which makes tracking the progress nearly impossible.

    With some research into how to fix this, you realize that digitizing work orders will keep the development going and will allow you to organize distribution in a document management repository. With paper eliminated, you’re able to search for the vendor and the associated work orders within seconds, rather than pacing through the warehouse searching for it. This allows your time-to-market to jump 50% instead of 25% within the first few months.

    Less combined stress for everyone involved shifts manufacturing focus to creating the highest quality product possible for consumers.

    Learn more below how you can reach success with searching tools: 


    Seamless Integration

    Although integration isn’t explicitly a tool, it is a facilitator, and a means to a more efficient end (so it’s worth mentioning here). Everyone knows that switching between tasks derails team members from the common objective of completing said tasks – the ability to stay in one platform for your needs is essential if you’re a modern manufacturer.

    Document management can integrate with any existing line-of-business application you’re currently using, no matter what it is. This completely eradicates the need for double-entry, and it keeps the flow of traffic moving.

    It isn’t a default one-size-fits-all solution – your manufacturing organization functions a specific way, and it’s up to you and the vendor to co-develop a solution that enables work, and doesn’t stagnate you company’s ability to shine.

    Workflow Automation

    Utilizing workflow automation allows you to gain visibility into your manufacturing processes and work smarter and faster. Take the lifecycle of a work order, for example – there are naturally steps in the process that can be automated, such as notifications when the order is ready for review. While manually typing out an email doesn’t seem like it takes much time, it adds up over the course of days, weeks, and even years.

    With document management, you get a customized drag-and-drop interface that allows you to control how the process works.

    RELATED: Workflow 101 White Paper

    The ability to mold and shape your workflow as business processes change is powerful and increases efficiency. Are you ready to explore the many possibilities it presents for your business, today and moving forward?

    A Better, More Efficient Assembly Line

    There are many more document management tools you can use in manufacturing, but touching base with these reinforces that paper doesn’t do you any favors.

    We’d love for you to check out our page on how manufacturing automation enables efficiency across your entire facility and jumpstarts productivity and compliance – without the need for extra employees.

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