Manufacturing Companies Struggle

Why So Many Manufacturing Companies Struggle with Reporting

Business

Does your company struggle with reporting? You’re far from alone.

Every manufacturing company relies on the proliferation of information from front-line employees to their management team. Then, that info has to move from management to the C-level executives.

You would think in this era of instant-everything and cloud-everything, the transfer of this information would have drastically improved. But the truth is, it really hasn’t. 

We’re still seeing reporting friction in an industry that relies on current information.

Here’s why…

Paper Wait

The most modern and impressive equipment the industry has ever seen is currently being brought down by pens and pieces of paper.

Despite the arms race to always have the most up-to-date equipment in your factory, most of the reporting and inspections are still being done on a clipboard with a pen. This is partly due to a large number of less tech-savvy Baby Boomers and Gen Xers still occupying most of the workforce. There is a concern that shifting to a digital system would be too disruptive.

However, your equipment reporting information is far too important to do “the old-fashioned” way. For example, click here to see how much time and money can be saved by creating Excel reports using a pre-loaded template.

Paper Cuts

This reliance on paper-based reporting is also creating safety concerns.

If a piece of equipment is deemed unsafe, the damage is often reported via a paper ticketing system, and/or a lockout/tagout system. However, there is a delay in how this information gets reported. So, your company is facing:

  • The risk of your employees trying to use equipment that hasn’t been reported damaged yet
  • Extended downtime

Front-line employees need digital tools to be able to send real-time equipment data to the management team.

Trapped Information

When crucial policies and procedures exist only in paper or in a single employee’s laptop and mind, this information is “trapped.” 

It’s not accessible by any other employee. If something happens to the person who “owns” this information, the company is left scrambling.

The impact of this can be felt if this employee takes a simple sick day or vacation. It hurts even more if you suddenly lose this employee forever, due to an illness or a termination. When you lose that employee, you may also lose all of their operations-critical data. 

Their replacement may have to start at square one, while the rest of the organization has to wait for them to catch up.

Will these reporting issues continue into the Industry 4.0 world? It’s hard to say. Ink and paper have already remained a prominent part of the modern factory for much longer than anyone expected.

It’s 2020 and we have never had access to more reporting technology. However, a lot of companies are worried about how disruptive new tech could be to their aging workforce, as well as the costs and downtime associated with switching over. But they need to overcome these barriers.

The companies that are able to “free” their information and simplify their reporting processes will be the ones that succeed over the next decade and beyond.

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