There’s no doubt that the digital transformation of manufacturing is changing the face of the industry, and many companies are feeling pressure to evolve into a “factory of the future.” It’s an exciting time that promises significant efficiency and productivity gains, yet the prospect of transitioning to digital records, tools and processes is daunting for many manufacturing businesses. That’s why the best place to start might be surprising: paper. To improve your records management process, begin with your paper records.
Start With Low-Tech Records and Work Your Way Up
It might seem counterintuitive to start a digital transformation by getting a better handle on paper records, but the approach makes good business sense. New digital systems and applications such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT) have the potential to actually multiply the amount of data and records that manufacturers have today, compounding any records management challenges that already exist.
That’s why it’s vital to organize your lowest-technology records systems first by tackling paper records before you work your way up to records of increasing levels of technological complexity.
During and after transitioning to digital tools and processes, business leaders still need access to paper records and the important information these documents contain. Consider how your company would respond to a request for I-9 documents for an immigration audit, or how quickly you could produce documentation having to do with a legal action or customer inquiry.
Here are some ways to improve records management starting with paper records, while you’re on the road to a fully digitized manufacturing environment:
There are a host of other reasons to focus on shoring up (or creating new) records management processes as you integrate more digital tools and technologies into your manufacturing business.
From compliance with increasingly complex regulations, to reducing exposure to risk from audits, to meeting requirements around record retention and destruction, to losing paper records to natural and other disasters, the time to improve your records management starting with paper records is now. While it may not seem as exciting as the latest Artificial Intelligence application to hit the factory floor, the dividends it pays are just as valuable to your business in the long run.
Originally published on manufacturing.net.