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Boosting Manufacturing Efficiency: Tips and Strategies

Rachel Tilley Author: Rachel Tilley

Manufacturing efficiency plays a huge role in any manufacturing business as it affects productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction. 

With years of experience and industry specific knowledge from working with our clients and prospects, we want to offer our tips and strategies for boosting manufacturing efficiency.

The Importance of Manufacturing Efficiency

Manufacturing efficiency is crucial as it directly impacts the quality of products produced, employee motivation, profits and customer satisfaction. With efficient manufacturing operations, businesses can produce more goods in less time and importantly, respond quickly to market changes as well as evolving customer requirements.

Today more than ever, customers expect fast-delivery and high-quality products and won't hesitate to look elsewhere if expectations aren't met.  Manufacturing efficiency has therefore become the defining factor between success and failure.  Those manufacturers focused on improving efficiency have the competitive edge and are able to position themselves as industry leaders.

process automation improvements

To improve efficiency, manufacturers should look to streamline operations and remove wasteful and time-consuming methods across the business.  An important first step can be to take a good look at existing document management processes.

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Manufacturing Efficiency and Document Management Software

Document management software enables manufacturers to digitally store and effortlessly organise all document types, while providing quick access to critical information from a centralised location. 

By implementing effective document management processes, organisations can eliminate time-consuming tasks of searching for and retrieving documents.  It will reduce errors and inconsistencies, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

With a document management system, paper records or chaotic network folders are digitised, improving document control, creation and review.  With automated workflows operating in the background of the software, document approvals can be streamlined, removing unnecessary delays to product or invoice sign-offs.

Why Our Manufacturing Clients Chose Document Management Software

With numerous clients choosing our document management software, DocuWare, to boost processes supporting manufacturing efficiency, we've documented the 10 most popular reasons, along with the benefits.

1. Document Accessibility and Retrieval 

3.5 hours a week searching for documentsWith a document management system (DMS), manufacturing companies can organise their documents in a bespoke, uniform and pre-designed manner, making it easier to locate and retrieve documents.

The uniformity and workflow capabilities needed by manufacturers with their document-based processes are crucial for complying with regulations, responding to audits, quickly addressing customer inquiries and of course, improving overall manufacturing efficiency.

2. Quality Control and Process Improvement

A document management system supports quality control by providing the easy storage and approval of standardised SOPs, policies, work instructions, and quality assurance documents.

Automated workflows with tasks for users that also provide visibility to managers, removes the need for multiple spreadsheets that are driven by the dates which documents need to be reviewed. This provides consistency of manufacturing documentation processes and allows for continuous improvement.

3. Version Control and Revision Tracking

Manufacturing involves numerous design documents, blueprints, CAD files, and specifications that frequently undergo updates. 

For manufacturing efficiency, a document management system provides version control and revision tracking capabilities.  This ensures the latest version of a document is easily accessible, preventing confusion or errors due to using outdated information.

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4. Electronic Signatures, Stamps and Approvals

A document management system facilitates digital signatures and approvals, which are crucial for important decisions, authorisations, and validations to be made quickly and effectively within the manufacturing process.

This eliminates the need for physical signatures which often take a long time to obtain, and speeds up approval workflows.

5. Document Archiving and Preservation

Manufacturing organisations often need to retain records for compliance or historical purposes. A document management system provides digital archiving capabilities, ensuring documents are stored securely and can be retrieved when needed.

Retention rules can also be applied to documents to ensure they are only kept for as long as legally required. 

6. Collaboration and Communication

Manufacturing often requires collaboration among multiple teams, including design, engineering, production, and quality control.

A document management system enables real-time collaboration by allowing authorised employees to access, edit, and comment on documents from various locations. This reduces communication barriers and accelerates decision-making.

7. Regulatory Compliance

Manufacturing organisations are subject to various regulations and standards, such as ISO, BSI, FDA, and industry-specific guidelines.

When document management software and manufacturing processes work well together, the necessary documents, certifications, and compliance-related information can be properly managed, updated, and readily accessible for audits.

8. Supplier and Vendor Collaboration

Manufacturers often work with suppliers and vendors and a document management system enables secure sharing of documents with external partners.  This enhances collaboration while maintaining control over sensitive information.

9. Risk Managementimproving document security

A document management system assists in identifying and mitigating the risks associated with document loss, unauthorised access, and data breaches.

Access controls, encryption, and audit trails help maintain the security and integrity of sensitive manufacturing documentation and data.

10. Quality Management and Product Lifecycle Management (QMS & PLM)

A document management system can be integrated with QMS & PLM systems, allowing for comprehensive management of a product's lifecycle from concept and design to manufacturing and distribution.

This document management integration ensures seamless data flow across different stages of product development and production.

Read More About Integration With DocuWare

Leveraging Automation and Technology

The automation options and technology behind our document management software goes a long way towards boosting manufacturing efficiency.   Organisations are able to automate repetitive tasks, reduce manual effort, and improve overall operational efficiency.

Furthermore, built in machine learning and artificial intelligence enables access to reliable data, providing better operating procedures and data-driven decision making.  This means manufacturers can identify bottlenecks, optimise production processes, and proactively address issues before they escalate.

It's important to remember that the implementation of any software should be done with careful planning.  Employees should understand the problems that need to be addressed and what the end goals are.

Approach software suppliers with a proven history of providing the right solution, adequate training, continued support and a return on investment.  Once implemented, evaluate and monitor the success and look for other areas of the business where the same solutions can be applied. 

DocTech are trusted by businesses across the UK and Ireland to improve processes which support manufacturing efficiency with our document management solutions and we'd love to help you.  Book a time in our diary below.

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Contact us now for more information 0161 647 7040