By Jesse Wood, CEO of document management vendor, eFileCabinet
Manufacturing information systems are positioned to redefine the industry they were designed to benefit – manufacturing.
The miscellaneous manufacturing industry is incredibly diverse and fragmented; so much so that some argue it’s become as chaotic as it is opaque—presenting a playing field meriting little attempt at strategy and any technological framework to support said strategy.
After all, strategy is only as strong as manufacturing leadership’s ability to see the future, and even the most skilled forecasters have dissenting opinions on where the industry is headed.
Despite these challenges, a common framework for remodeling information management strategies and technologies should take center stage in the form of manufacturing information systems in 2017, and here’s why.
Manufacturing Information Systems in Consideration of Parkinson’s Law
If a manufacturing project is outlined by a manager to take a specific portion of time out of the day or week to complete, the workers will only work fast enough to have the project completed by that date.
However, what most managers in the manufacturing industry don’t realize, is that setting workers out to complete a task with a “complete it as quickly as possible” mentality will ensure the job is done much faster, therein increasing productivity.
But what if quality plays a role in managers setting deadlines for their manufacturing workers? After all, it’s more efficient to do something right the first time around than it is to do it wrong once and correctly the second time.
Although one could argue more time equals greater quality in creative industries, this simply isn’t the case in the manufacturing business.
With such a rigid set of production standards from ISO 9000, room for creative leeway in final product is limited, warranting the adherence to Parkinson’s Law.
How Manufacturing Document Systems Help Workers Follow Parkinson’s Law
Manufacturing document systems can facilitate stronger adherence to Parkinson’s Law, as they increase the rate at which workers work as fast as they can.
In fact, the return on investment (ROI) of not following Parkinson’s Law with manufacturing information systems could put companies in the red, as the profit potential of these systems will go unrealized, albeit paid for.
If a manager cuts his or her team loose to do something “as quickly as possible,” the manufacturing document system will be able to significantly reduce the amount of time needed to complete processes at the level of document intake and document turnaround.
More specifically, document approval and routing. The amount of paperwork in the manufacturing industry should be digitized and automated at the level of process to ensure reduction in operating expenses, especially for younger companies.
Given that these systems automate nearly everything you’d do with a normal piece of paper, they are valuable assets for upholding Parkinson’s Law.
Simplifying Six Sigma Principles with Manufacturing Information Systems
Most manufacturers know that the Six Sigma principle is a methodological framework for identifying and nixing the roots of defective processes.
Developed by Motorola in the 1980s, the theory failed to catch fire in the application of business processes until the 1990s when impresario and business magnate, Jack Welch, applied the theory to solve many of the problems in General Electric’s industrial processes.
From that point forward, Six Sigma became an integral component of most manufacturing companies’ project management frameworks. However, the Six Sigma principle, as helpful as it can be, is oftentimes forgotten outside of supply chain processes, and document related processes are frequently neglected in Six Sigma gap analyses.
How Manufacturing Information Systems Uphold Six Sigma Standards
And, like all other parts of the manufacturing business process, document-related processes are not exempt from a holistic Six Sigma production framework.
So, in understanding that manufacturing defects are just as linked to products as they are the documents containing information on manufactured products and the processes streamlining them, we can understand why defects will occur at the document management level until file processes are automated in mass.
With manufacturing information systems, manufacturers can automate the file intake, routing, and storage component of documentation, and tailor the system to meet their individual needs with an Open API (application programming interface).
Document automation will never replace human thought and understanding, but it can simplify document controls to ensure information management practices in manufacturing companies are complying with the Six Sigma framework.
In fact, lean six sigma practices, which are synonymous with lean manufacturing, which drives its adherents toward reduced paper clutter, saved office space, and ridding production processes of filing cabinets for increased productivity.
Advancing Manufacturing Processes with Better File Sharing Procedures
The American Productivity and Quality Center noted in a publication this month that file sharing has become paramount in information management.
Most notably because having a shared information repository is something desired in many workers, albeit granted very little attention in manufacturing management’s consideration of budgeting efforts.
However, the manufacturing world has already been exposed to so many cost-reducing automating measures that budgetary restrictions should not be as front of mind as finding ways to further automate processes and free up cash flow.
Additionally, workers are becoming increasingly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of email content they must sift through each day to find and produce information for various projects.
A centralized repository for file sharing a large volume of documents of any size is crucial in saving time and simplifying compliance standards.
How Manufacturing Information Systems Change this Process
Manufacturing information systems usually come with a web portal feature that offers both bank-grade encryption and secure socket layer security, enabling manufacturing professionals to both share a larger number of files and files of any size.
Weaving these tools in to the process of the manufacturing supply chain can expedite document processes and ensure timely project completion.
What’s more, the search features of email content are lackluster at best, and have failed to keep pace with the manufacturing industry’s information management demands, creating opportunity for manufacturing information systems vendors to steal Outlook’s nearly monopolistic market share.
A Concluding Note on Manufacturing Information Systems in 2017
Although the JIT (Just-In-Time) framework is pushing new productivity territory for manufacturing companies, it can’t be actualized without consideration of systems that bring the same level of immediacy to document-related processes, and manufacturing information systems are the best solutions for this problem in 2017 and beyond.
About the Author:
Jesse Wood is the CEO of document management vendor, eFileCabinet. Founded in 2001, eFileCabinet, Inc. began as a cutting-edge tool to digitally store records in accounting firms. As it grew in popularity, eFileCabinet developed into a full-fledged electronic document management solution designed to help organizations automate redundant processes, ensure security, and solve common office problems.