Improving Workflow in the Manufacturing Industry

Research shows that workers in the manufacturing industry spend 20 to 40 percent of their time gathering information before they can even begin completing daily tasks, according to IBM ECM. Manufacturing organizations are often dominated by materials and equipment, leaving little room for the storage of documents including, shipping and receiving files, job tickets and human resources forms. With limitations of storage space, along with the pressures of completing projects on tight schedules, employees are left with little time to search for and retrieve critical business data. However, no matter what an organization manufactures, if there is a paper trail, then there is a software solution that simplifies and streamlines everyday business processes.


While each industry is unique, capture automation solutions can be tailored to fit the specific needs of any business model. As processes and challenges may differ, there are three basic steps that each organization in the manufacturing industry must go through. From receiving raw materials and gathering components, to assembling products and then shipping to multiple destinations, each of these three phases requires different types of paperwork – and a lot of it. By using a capture automation solution, manufacturers can not only reduce the amount of paperwork, but improve visibility, efficiency and productivity, which allows for cost savings and additional profitability. Let’s take a look at how capture automation can be customized to improve each of these three steps at your manufacturing facility:

Inputting Raw Materials: Capturing Crucial Data

The first step in the process is, of course, selling your product!  With that comes the business documents like vendor invoices, purchase orders, and those specific to manufacturing including material safety data sheets, work orders, and packing lists. With many different document types to manage, manually filing and indexing data can be a challenge. With capture automation, documents are scanned through a multifunctional printer (MFP) or production scanner, enabling information like batch numbers, header data, names, and costs to be automatically captured through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) effortlessly and accurately. Once a sales order is captured into the system, capture workflows allow you to automate a documents route for the appropriate departments or managers to review and approve, reducing order processing time.

Processing Materials: Eliminating Data Entry Errors

Having the ability to effortlessly automate the tracking of materials and parts inventory, as well as who completed what job and when, is something every manufacturer seeks to achieve. But, most importantly, the data needs to be accurate. By implementing capture automation, OCR confidence reporting and other essential validation checks ensure data accuracy. This makes finding anything from Purchase Orders, data sheets, product evaluation, and testing information quick and easy, ultimately increasing productivity by 50%, according to IBM ECM. If an issue arises, capture automation makes locating the information in question effortless for faster, more informed decision-making. By automating the intake process, all documents are kept in a central location, with the ability of immediate keyword searching by simply entering a customer name or part number to pull up any paperwork associated with the project.

Outputting Raw Materials: Improving Content Management

Once a job is complete, the product needs to be shipped out. Invoices outstanding, purchase orders and bills of lading are all documents that come along with that process and are often misplaced and hard to find. But capture automation software digitizes these files, making them readily available so that the data within them can be properly managed, eliminating the need to search through hundreds of paper copies. With quick and easy access to proof of delivery information and customer documentation, account information can immediately be accessed for improved collections management. From ticket numbers, names, and documented task logs, each piece of criteria is stored so it can be easily searched for later on. In addition, capture automation can release to any document management solution and can even integrate with business applications like Microsoft® SharePoint.

While capture automation can be tailored to any industry, it’s clear that manufacturing companies can leverage advanced capture solutions to improve overall business workflow from accounting, to the production floor, and final delivery. By streamlining everyday processes, managers will not only be given improved visibility, but employees can easily search and retrieve important documentation, leaving time spent in the filing cabinets a thing of the past! To get started with capture automation, contact Square 9 Softworks today!

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