What do you imagine when you think about your future factory? Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is a Smart Factory where everything is automated and enhanced by intelligent software solutions. An integral part of this process is Paperless Manufacturing. This is the use of software- based electronic systems for monitoring and enforcing manufacturing processes and simultaneously capturing all the necessary information associated with it.
Gone are the days of recording and sharing information on stacks of paper. Many industries have moved on to computerized file-sharing systems like PDF and Excel formats. But these systems are just replicating the data on paper to a digital format and are prone to the same errors. Paperless Manufacturing goes beyond simply digitizing the data. It incorporates sophisticated systems where data will be entered automatically and be available for business decisions.
Let’s look at how Paperless Manufacturing overcomes the disadvantages of using paper.
Paperless Manufacturing beats Use of Paper
1. Paper is Inefficient and Costly
Estimates suggest that an average of 18 minutes are spent in retrieving information from paper documents. This is valuable time wasted that could’ve been used for something productive and generates value. Paper records are inefficient and tedious to organize. This slows down the manufacturing process. Also, paper adds to the overhead costs of the company and needs storage facilities that can be difficult to maintain.
Paperless Manufacturing uses software-based systems that automatically record data from manufacturing processes, make information readily available in the form of dashboards, and enable quick retrieval of information. KNEO’s MAPP Eye module from the MAPP IIoT suite provides information at a glance through intuitive and impactful graphics.
2. Paper is Non-responsive
Manufacturing involves many processes carried out by different people. Paper cannot track or support the actions of workers nor provide relevant responses to help them get the job right. Be it training, complex assemblies, changeovers, or new hires, paper is ineffective in relaying the required information.
With Paperless Manufacturing, responsive interfaces can be designed that can be used to take responses, record data, and provide the required guidance to aid manufacturing processes.
3. Paper is Static
Paper is a static medium where describing processes would mean long and complex paragraphs. Instead of long complex sentences to describe something on paper, it’s better to use videos, graphics, and other rich media in digital form. These digital systems can be connected to machines to serve as on-machine interfaces for training, hand-overs, maintenance reporting, and more. KNEO’s Smart Digital Assistant on-machine interface provides an effective solution for connected systems for a paperless factory.
4. Paper has No Version Control
There is a difference between trying to do Version Control and having a version control. A document may pass through many hands before we have a final version. With manual paper documents, it becomes nearly impossible to have version control. This can translate into compliance issues especially in regulated industries.
With paperless systems, there is a single source of truth. Data can be recorded and shared in real-time to have ‘real version control’.
5. Paper is Not Scalable
It may be possible to maintain papers for a single cell or plant, but extremely difficult across the organization. As processes expand, maintenance of records on paper and their standardization becomes a hassle.
Scalability is a big advantage of digitization. In a paperless factory, processes are carried out on connected and integrated systems. These systems are powered by software that provides replicable processes that can be applied to the entire organization.
6. Paper Does Not Collect Data Automatically
Collecting data on paper is a time-consuming task. Further data entry and analysis of data from these disparate sources is another story. This process is also highly inaccurate and inefficient. Valuable time and resources are spent on these activities, which can be automated.
Digital systems can be instructed to automatically collect data for every step of the manufacturing process. With smart systems, paperless manufacturing makes it possible to automatically collect data from each operator, process level, even track of manufactured goods. This means better visibility, fewer errors, and more opportunities for improvement. KNEO’s MAPP IIoT Platform is the blueprint for your digital factory and provides end-to-end digitization.
7. Paper is Error-Prone
It is no secret that manual data entry is prone to errors. The larger the data chain, the more are the chances of errors. This results in inaccuracies which can cost the industry valuable time and money. Errors can also occur while translating the data from the clipboard to the whiteboard to excel. So simply computerization of data entry is not enough. Paperless manufacturing goes a step further and enables automatic data entry, negating the chances of duplication or errors.
By leveraging the right technologies industries can make their manufacturing processes paperless. This will not only give them flexibility and scalability, but will allow them to efficiently manage a large product mix and increase business productivity. Paperless manufacturing is an important step towards Industry 4.0 and is one of the fastest paths to value with digital manufacturing. KNEO Automation provides solutions and services for accelerating your Industry 4.0 journey.