Document management software can help to improve the efficiency of manufacturing companies (and every other business) in many ways.
For simplicity, we're going to group benefits into four C's:
These four C's combine to help your business manage your documents so that you can actually use them easily.
Documents aren't just abstract pieces of paper or bits and bytes that need to be managed “just because.” These documents are:
- Plans for suggested process improvements
- Invoices that need to be processed
- Change orders that need to get to the manufacturing floor ASAP
- Standard operating procedures
- Safety sheets and instructions
You run your business on the backs of all these documents. Doesn't it make sense to manage them as efficiently as possible?
We'll go into each of these C's in detail in future posts. Today, I'm going to explain them each briefly.
Do you know where all of your business documents are? Paper documents get lost or misfiled – or temporarily disappear into the Bermuda Triangle of your messiest employee's desk.
Document management allows you to know where all of your documents are. They'll be in a single, indexed repository – secure and easily found.
Paper takes up space. It takes up physical space in filing cabinets – estimates are that it costs $25,000 to fill a standard 4-drawer filing cabinet and a few thousands dollars yearly to manage that cabinet. Those rows of filing cabinets take up valuable office space as well. Office space is expensive – could you office be more productive with fewer filing cabinets?
There's also opportunity costs with paper. Slower invoice processing that prevents you from taking advantage of early payment discounts, for example. Or the inability to quickly and accurately answer customer questions. You don't like having to wait for answers from companies you do business with. Don't expect your customers to view you any differently.
It's not fun working on paper documents. Either access is limited to one person at a time or everyone on a team comments on their own copy – and then someone has to be in charge of incorporating all of those comments. Or what about the email collaboration shuffle? How annoying is it when you find you've been working on version 2 of a document when the most recent version is number five – and all of the comments you've just spent an hour thinking through have already been addressed?
With document management, everyone can have access to a document at the same time. With version control – and the ability to lock a document – you can be sure you're always working on the most up-to-date version.
What's your auditing process look like now? Plunge into various filing cabinets, make copies of the requested documents, refile the folders, and hand over a stack of paper to the auditor is what that process probably looks like. Instead, use document management to search across all of your documents, copy the requested documents into a folder, and save that folder to a thumb drive and hand that over to the auditor.
Plus, more easily track HR documentation such as confirmation that employees have read updated safety material, such as updated material safety data sheets (MSDS).
These “4 C's” are challenges every business must address. Document management helps you address them quickly and cost-effectively.