Five simple areas to reduce paper effectively

To most of us, it’s clear to see that the use of paper is declining, whether it’s that you read your favourite book on a smart device, or you catch up on the daily news by heading online. Despite many debates on the merits of paperless manufacturing over many years, not all manufacturing firms have truly adopted an entirely paperless operation. With so many advancements in technology the ability to go paperless is easier than ever.

For many organisations accuracy and transparency are crucial. By utilising paper recording methods the chances of inaccuracies increase and the ability to record data becomes difficult. For example, within the Food and Beverage industry accuracy is particularly crucial, with large-scale food recalls becoming more common, traceability is key. To protect brand reputation, alongside saving money, being able to trace a product fully throughout the manufacturing process is crucial. Going paperless is the answer.

All industries can benefit from the move to paperless. Whilst it requires a whole company adoption, the advantages are the key to building a sustainable infrastructure for growth and particularly in the post Coronavirus era where improving efficiency and cutting costs can be vital to some companies’ survival.

There are five key areas in manufacturing organisations that we believe are potentially quick wins:

1  Quality information throughout the process.

Often supplier quality information is paper-based and there is no reason this can’t be electronically transmitted and used for inbound quality sampling. These inspection results can all be recorded electronically using IFS control plans. Information can all be recorded electronically using mobile devices on the shop floor.

2  Order and invoice processing.

Inbound orders from customers and invoices from suppliers often generate vast amounts of paperwork and associated administration. These can be sent through EDI and automated, but even when the customers and suppliers are unable to provide this the majority are still emailed to companies. These emails and PDFs can be parsed and loaded into IFS automatically saving vast amounts of administration time.

3  Shop Order paperwork.

Most manufacturing organisations use a shop order pack with operation steps, drawings and quality information. In using technology, touch screens can be deployed to the operator’s workstation and all this information can be displayed on a screen. This means the operator can have all the information to hand and can record their production efficiency and quality information during the same process. This has huge advantages over and above the reduction in paper. The operator sign-in can confirm that they have up to date certifications and training to perform the task. The information is guaranteed to be up to date in the latest versions and no copies are left in the manufacturing process.

4  Picking and Stores functions.

Picklists are often used as a way for stores to operate, with mobile scanners these are outdated and ineffective. By using a scanner the operator can be directed to the next pick to make and his routes optimised.

5  KPIs and reporting.

With IFS the Lobbies provide effective real-time reporting on key KPI for every job role. With the drill-down possibilities it removes the need for vast amounts of operational reporting and enables employees to have the visibility to manage their own roles.

However, paperless manufacturing isn’t simply an operational adjustment. Becoming paperless is only a single part of the overall solution. A culture that supports the move is vital, with commitment and communication crucial to a companywide adoption and success. With the right mindset, the right solution, and the right tools with the support of modern technology, going paperless can help businesses generate an environment for growth and success.

With paperless manufacturing the future, and the vital element to supporting any growth strategy, it is important for manufacturers to embrace the process. We can help with the switch, from the beginning of the project plan, right through to the appropriate training and support. Our team can help you through each stage of this process to help you prepare for the future of manufacturing.

To find out more about how you can adopt a paperless operation, get in touch via the contact us button, and our consultants will be in contact to discuss your opportunities and objectives.