Why Paperless Processes Are the Future of Work
Think of traditional working environments and one of the things that comes to mind is often desks, shelves and vaults stacked with pieces of paper. Some of it scribbled notes, some of it key performance data. All of it in some semblance of organization, but nothing readily available without some kind of search.
Imagine a modern-day working environment and you may well see something a little more slick and professional. Machines and tech probably dominate the image. It would be easy to believe that far less paper is now in use and that data is instead stored digitally or on the cloud. This is only partly true. While vast amounts of data are electronically stored, regulatory agencies mandate that paper copies of many documents must be stored.
Counting the cost of paper
Producing and storing that paper requires significant overhead. A team is required to author the forms, while others are required to validate, print, complete, manage, review, upload, and so on. Of course, it all needs to be paid for. Naturally, many of the more tedious tasks involved in creating and managing paper records are prone to mistakes. People make mistakes every day. Mistakes that go unnoticed carry considerable risk. Which begs the question ‘Why?
Why risk halting operations? Why use staff to complete repetitive tasks that a machine can do more efficiently? Why keep reams of paper that will most likely never be touched. Why eat into your bottom line to store documents that require significant effort to add real value to your organization? Why, if you’re required to keep all this data, do you not find a way to use it to help drive your business forward and improve efficiency?
A truly paperless working environment is one in which data need only be stored digitally and can be accessed electronically too. When tech first made the breakthrough into the workplace, it was with the intention that it would replace paperwork. Business leaders embraced this idea with verve. They saw the possibility it presented for saving time, space and money.
Why paper on glass is not fit for purpose
Initially, we saw the emergence of paper on glass solutions. These were, arguably, an improvement on actual paper, but did nothing to eliminate human error. Existing in relative isolation, they failed (and continue to fail) to take advantage of the possibilities provided by industrial IoT. Subsequently, they offer nothing in the way of big data. In short, paper on glass solutions were out of date almost from the day they were released. Paper on glass added very little to manufacturing processes, but it did highlight its own deficiencies and help pave the way for software solutions that would become Pharma 4.0.
Embracing Pharma 4.0
OpsTrakker is a workflow driver. It is not merely a vehicle for recording and storing data, it leverages IoT and process conditions to help inform stakeholders about performance, machine status and input errors. Software solutions should provide multiple benefits to an organization through interconnectivity. The days of disparate parts of the process being distinct from one another have been consigned to the past. Modern solutions communicate with each other to offer holistic improvements to all aspects of production. The computer can do much of the work for you. Data should stream directly from the source of truth, rather than relying on operator transcription or manual entry. Instead, shop-floor stake-holders can focus on their exact responsibilities.
But paperless processes are not just about improved efficiency. Every organization has a role to play in tackling sustainability. Reducing paper usage cuts costs and eliminates the need to store documents, but it also helps reduce waste. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) places the onus on each organization to do their part in protecting the future of the planet. And this is not just an expectation from above. 88% of customers say companies in the US and UK need to do more to work towards sustainability. Modern-day consumers care about the ethos and values of companies more than ever before. Paperless processes demonstrate you are on the same wavelength as your end-users.
What Corporate Social Responsibility Means
Within any organization, emphasis on corporate social responsibility comes from the top. It must be recognised as a priority at the board level in order for it to be treated as a priority operationally. With 90% of graduates in the US and UK saying they would prefer a job offer from a company fully committed to CSR, it’s safe to say that the majority of your workforce are already onboard with the idea of paperless processes. By making it an integral part of your production and manufacturing, you are showing them that your values and theirs are aligned. You are helping create within them a sense of pride in working for your organization.
Paperless processes are the future of work and the future of manufacturing. They meet the expectations of consumers and staff when it comes to CSR and they create more robust and efficient production. When introduced as part of an IoT workflow driver, paperless processes also feed into the big data that drives corporate decision-making. If you’re not yet using paperless processes for manufacturing, you run the risk of falling behind the competition in the very near future.