The manufacturing industry runs on paperwork from procurement requests to safety regulations and quality control reports to shipping invoices. While the digital age has revolutionized how we create and share these documents, the challenge of processing an ever-increasing volume of documentation remains for many manufacturers.
A Case for Workflow Efficiency
Just take a minute and imagine: you receive a document, whether it's via email, a remote folder, or directly from the scanner. The clock starts ticking as you open the document, review it, categorize it, take any necessary actions, and finally file it away. If you're like many in the manufacturing industry, this process can take upwards of five minutes per document. With hundreds of documents flooding your inbox daily, those five minutes can quickly add up, eating away precious hours and leaving you in a constant state of catch-up.
Now, let's reimagine this process. What if a software system could streamline the process instead of manually handling each document, reducing that five-minute workflow to a mere 15 seconds? Suddenly, the flood of documents becomes a manageable trickle, freeing up valuable time and saving money. Sounds like a dream. Today, thanks to advances in AI and machine learning, this dream is becoming a reality for manufacturers.
Real-World Savings: Crunching the Numbers
Let's consider real-world savings in terms of cost. Suppose you receive 100 documents per day. Processing them manually takes 500 minutes or roughly 8 hours. That's an entire workday dedicated to document management!
By contrast, the same 100 documents processed using document capture software take 25 minutes. That's a time-saving of over 7 hours each day. Over a year, this time-saving equates to a significant cost saving. Even if we're conservative and value $20 per hour this time, the annual saving would be in the ballpark of $28,000. The more documents you process, the more significant the saving.
Starting Small and Growing
Introducing a new software system can feel daunting, but remember: you don't have to automate everything simultaneously. Starting with the person who receives the first document can be an excellent first step in streamlining your workflow. This approach ensures your team can gradually grow accustomed to the new system while providing immediate improvements to the document capture process.
For instance, in the manufacturing industry, documents such as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), Purchase Order Forms (PO), Production Part Approval Process Forms (PPAP), Corrective Action Reports (CAR), and Quality Control Reports (QCR) are processed daily. Automating the intake of these forms can dramatically speed up initial processing times.
Leveraging AI and Machine Learning for Document Processing
AI and machine learning bring new efficiency and effectiveness to document processing. These advanced technologies can learn to recognize different document types, understand the content, extract the necessary data, and automatically route the document to the appropriate person or department. This speeds up processing times and reduces the risk of human error.
Workflow Example in the Manufacturing Industry
Consider a Purchase Order Form (PO). In a traditional setup, the user receiving the PO must review the document, confirm the details, enter the data into the appropriate system, and then pass the document along for approval and fulfillment. This process can be time-consuming and prone to error.
By contrast, with an AI-powered document capture system, the PO is automatically recognized and classified when it arrives. The necessary data is extracted, entered into the system, and the PO is routed for approval. The user is notified, reviews the details, approves the order, and the system takes care of the rest. The result is a faster, more efficient, and more accurate process that adds value to the organization.
The Competitive Advantage
This type of efficiency can provide a significant competitive advantage in the manufacturing industry, where thin margins and tight timelines rule the day. Faster document processing times can translate into faster turnaround times, improved customer service, and increased capacity for growth. Moreover, by reducing employees' time on repetitive tasks, you free them to focus on higher-value activities that can drive your business forward.
Today's document capture solutions can interface with thousands of workflow products, whether on-premise or cloud-based, making them flexible and scalable solutions for manufacturers of all sizes.
The Manufacturing Industry: The Future is Now
Streamlining the document capture process is no longer a luxury for the manufacturing industry—it's a necessity. Implementing AI and machine learning technology at the first step of document processing can result in dramatic time savings, cost efficiencies, and competitive advantages.
Of course, implementing a new software system requires careful planning and execution. But, by taking a phased approach, starting with the person who receives the first document, you can minimize disruption while immediately reaping the benefits of faster, more efficient document processing.
Remember, the future belongs to those who dare to innovate, and in the manufacturing industry, that means harnessing the power of AI and machine learning to revolutionize document processing. Now's the time to step into the future and lead your company to tremendous success. The rewards will be well worth the effort.