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4 Mistakes Manufacturers Make Regarding Document Management

In the manufacturing industry, we all know production is king. Maximizing productivity is the focal point, and safety, quality, and supply chain/vendor management are all well-known components to ensure the lowest cost, and highest efficiency. Oftentimes document management is too far down the line to get much notice, and gets overlooked as an important opportunity for maximizing efficiency.

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Here are four common mistakes manufacturers make when considering their document management system needs:

Being Resistant to Change

Manufacturers know their processes very well, which is one of the many reasons they are known to be resistant to change.

Like most, they are afraid of the unknown. Their employees know the current way of doing things. What happens if it changes causes disruption in production?

It is important to remember that change is inevitable. The solution is not to resist change, but to communicate often and clearly to give your employees warning of the upcoming change, and coach them through it. That way no one gets left behind and everyone is on the same page.

A good exercise is to map out the change early: What is the change? Who does it impact? How does it affect them? Why might they resist? What is our communication plan?

If you can make everyone feel included and on the same page, chances are high you will have a smooth, successful process change.

Focusing only on the costs

Manufacturers are well aware that costs are an inevitable part of business. But when production is king, and every quarter penny is counted, it can be hard to come up for air to focus on implementation costs for an improved document management system. Whereas new machines translate more directly into production quota increases, improved document management systems can be harder to quantify the ROI and thus harder to swallow the costs associated with the change. Use our ROI Calculator to find out how much you can save!

Implementing a new document management system saves your floor engineers valuable time looking for the right documentation, especially in the event of a breakdown or maintenance. Think about it, if you can go from taking 30 minutes to find a document down to 1 minute, that time savings really adds up.

Choosing a Short-Term Solution

Manufacturers need a solution that will scale. There is no point in going with a solution that is ok for now, but will be outdated or too small in the near future. Regardless of which document management solution is selected, it takes effort to improve or implement it. As much as possible, the goal should be to select a solution that will grow with your company so that you can avoid the same conversation about document management in 2, 5, or 10 years down the road.

Not Forming Teams to Make Decisions and Distribute Responsibilities

Here’s an example of most organizations:

A Floor Engineer complains to the Director of IT about it taking far too long to find documents in the event of a breakdown. They are losing valuable time during each breakdown that adds up quickly over the course of the year. There must be a solution, right?

The Director of IT then assigns a task to someone in the IT Department to find a document management solution.

There’s the breakdown.

Does the person assigned to find a solution know what the Floor Engineer needs? No.

This is where decision making teams come in. The stakeholders for any IT project should be the managers (final decision makers), experts (the IT staff who may be doing maintenance or research on the solution), and the end users (the Floor Engineers who will be using the solution). All the stakeholders input is needed to make a decision that will satisfy the needs of the enterprise.

Successful document management solutions start with 4 things: being open to technological change, focusing on the ROI, make sure the solution can grow with your company, and form teams to make decisions and distribute the responsibility.


Expert Insights from the Aerie Team

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