Insights

Why Reducing Paperwork Improves Your Manufacturing Productivity

By Joe Aven, Senior SAP MII Consultant

Endless pages of paper cause clutter. It also slows down your operations due to delayed access to key decision-making information. There must be a better way. Let’s look at how you can improve your manufacturing productivity by reducing paperwork.

Watch the on-demand recording of our February Factory Innovation session to learn more.

Break Your Paper Habit

Moving towards Industry 4.0 means doing away with disconnected systems, including paper, to create a holistic view of your business. It is also about performing tasks more efficiently.

Despite our online presence, paperwork is still prevalent with the average U.S. officer worker using 10,000 sheets per year. And, handling paper also has a cost. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency notes “While the cost of paper is relatively inexpensive. The cost of storing, copying, printing, and disposing can add up to 31 times more than the cost of purchasing paper in the first place.”

There is a large margin of human error with traditional paperwork. Some of the downsides include risks from:

  • Damaged, misplaced or lost documents
  • Data entry errors
  • Not having information in real-time

Iron Mountain states “Employees in paper-intensive businesses spend up to 40% of their time looking for documents, and 7% of documents are lost or misfiled.” Lastly, the paper often needs to be stored for audits or future use which requires space for filing cabinets.

Even using software programs, such as spreadsheets, has its risks. For example, files can be corrupted, deleted or overwritten. Because the data is typically not integrated into the production or enterprise systems, they are often shared via email and need to be uploaded. This process costs time and therefore money.

However, habits can be broken. One common method is bold. It requires you to disrupt your way of thinking or the process involved. For manufacturing, this disruption can mean moving to a fully digital platform that connects your enterprise and manufacturing systems.

A Digital Transformation

Imagine never having to ask someone to email you information but instead, pulling it up wherever you are at the time – the office, plant floor or in your car. Think about all the time and effort you (and everyone else) would save during the workday.

The transformation includes the ability to capture data at the source and use it multiple times throughout the operations. This digital, 360° view of your manufacturing and business can be accessed from a single place. It is your foundation for Industry 4.0 that will help you dynamically adapt priorities and offer customization at scale.

Digital Manufacturing Systems

 

Benefits of a data-driven shop floor include:

  • Real-time decision making
  • Reducing manual observations through increased visibility
  • Problem solving around downtime, efficiency & quality
  • Improved quality and traceability with in-line reporting
  • Production standardization

Disrupting Your Habit to Unlock Productivity

These outcomes sound great, but how do you get there?

By implementing a solution that helps your business speak the same language. The “translation” technology sits between your production floor and ERP. It connects with:

  • SAP ERP
  • Machine Data via:
    • OPC
    • Tag Historians
  • Databases
  • And more

The information then becomes easily accessible through dashboards and scoreboards. This single view and user interface for ERP, production, quality, labor and maintenance enables the path to increasing productivity.

  • Track/view OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) and key metrics
  • Pull down orders from your ERP
  • Simplify all confirmations to your ERP
  • Complete confirmations automatically with proper machine integrations
  • Alert key personnel on any variances

For example, Movilitas Real-Time Production Management tightly integrates with SAP ERP and is built upon the SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (MII) platform. The solution provides standardization of production tracking and reporting at every level of the business. It has been shown to reduce or eliminate paperwork between shifts.

Movilitas Productivity Blog

The switch from paper and spreadsheets makes your business more agile and resilient. The result of integrating the right technology is an increase in efficiency and productivity through:

  • Insights into shop floor from one system
  • Reduced time required for data entry work
  • Reduced lead times

There has also been a significant improvement in the traceability of customer orders whether they are standard or customized. With this kind of integration, you add value by maximizing your SAP investment.

These connected dashboards and scoreboards are the first step in building the future state of your operations. They provide the necessary data and intelligence to create a smart factory that powers new strategies.

Are you ready to lose the paperwork? Learn more about Real-Time Production Management here.