The idea of ‘going paperless’ is not new; offices, businesses, hospitals, shops and many other organisations are going digital and leaving paper documentation behind. But for some reason, industry has been slow to jump on the bandwagon. Many companies are now, however, planning to go paperless, but they find the search for new and efficient systems daunting. In this blog, I’ll show you that going paperless doesn’t have to be daunting because there’s a simple and easy solution!
For many factories, creating, exchanging and storing paper documents on the shop floor results in an abundance of work for the manufacturing department. Typically, an order is released and passed on to several employees who issue customer order documents, print routing sheets, write up the process documentation, ensure the proper revisions are included with the job packet and then they finally release the order to the shop floor.
Change Process - Old Methods
During the next stage, the manufacturing department tracks the order and updates the appropriate documents with the time spent on the order and quantities completed on the order. At the final stage, they report to the work scheduling department and tell them the expected completion date. That’s a lot of manual work with a lot of room for errors to creep in. And when a mistake does find its way into the documentation, it escalates through every single area of manufacturing. This means that mistakes are costly, tricky to catch and even trickier to correct. So just what is the solution?
Going paperless and opting for end-to-end digital solutions! It may seem easier to begin with to keep crucial data on pieces of paper – especially when (almost) all the data is correct - however, the data will not be updated in real time, which results in the product or project being delivered with numerous mistakes.
This is an enormous problem that the maintenance engineers, who need rapid access to reliable and up-to-date information so that they can tackle problems quickly and minimise downtime, face far too often! Cloud solutions such as EPLAN eVIEW can solve this problem. EPLAN eVIEW– based on Microsoft Azure - is a service that brings EPLAN projects and data to The Cloud. This data can be used for collaboration and to set the foundation for future cloud-to-cloud connections.
But simply replacing paper files with Word documents or scans of your paper order is not enough. Real-time editing of documents is crucial, as only live, accurate, connected data gives manufacturers the tools they require for deep analysis. Luckily, the best CAE (computer aided engineering) systems can create interactive, paperless work instructions –usually a smart Abode Acrobat (.pdf) document - where you can leave comments to give feedback. Paperless documents can also be accessed on handheld devices like tablets, which is useful if you are on the go and need to access them.
There are also lots of other benefits to digitalisation. Quality and regulatory audits can be done via a digital terminal and via a single system, with revision control and document management visible to all those concerned. These audits can even be done remotely, which can reduce costs for both the manufacturer and the customer.