Manufacturing companies, especially machine shops, are some of the hardest businesses in the world to run. Throw paper into the mix and the challenges are exacerbated.
In a non-digital shop, paper stacks are piled on desks, sitting in folders and floating around the manufacturing floor. Physical documents can get lost, misfiled or become illegible, culminating in an extremely stressful work environment. Every day, employees have to chase down documents or work with obsolete, printed information. People make uninformed decisions because they are using outdated rather than real-time data.
If you are a business owner with plans to expand your team, having enterprise resource planning (ERP), quality management system (QMS) and manufacturing execution system (MES) software in place will attract employees who share your vision for a paperless manufacturing environment. For job seekers, experience with these platforms boosts your resume, and sets the bar for what you require from a future employer.
Before hiring additional employees, take a close look at your production and administrative processes. Are they efficient? Is your staff organized? If not, ERP/QMS/MES platforms improve process execution and communication between departments, resulting in cost savings and a more hospitable work environment.
Most prospective employees who come from the manufacturing industry know what they’re looking for. A digitized company attracts people who want to eliminate clutter, work with technology and real-time data, and view the use of this technology as a positive. Digitized shops tend to be less stressful than their paper-run counterparts, which is a big draw. No one wants chaos.
We believe there is a correlation between leaders who are interested in going paperless, and how they view other aspects of their businesses. They may be more progressive regarding benefits and pay, keeping the shop clean, buying new equipment and promoting a positive work culture. When it comes to ERP, we are well past the early adopter stage. Proponents aren’t afraid of change. They strive for continuous improvement and embrace new technology head-on.
Adopting an ERP/MES/QMS platform may be easier than you’d imagine because the software is user friendly. Employees often become proficient in the software within a few days or weeks. Within hours, a tech-savvy person with good computer skills can click around the platform and complete tasks. Others also can easily master the software.
Recently, we held training sessions at a customer location where an older machinist had virtually no computer experience. The concern was that he’d never adopt a digital system. However, not only did the machinist master the software, he now teaches it to new employees and is one of its biggest advocates. He appreciates the technology because it helps him perform his job better, reduces stress and frustration, and provides access to information. Instead of feeling like an outsider, he feels included because he has access to the company’s digital records.
Before paperless software, manufacturers were divided into two camps: the people in the office who had access to digital information, and the people in the shop who had to make do with paper. Building a data bridge and supporting collective efforts closes the workplace gap and improves company culture, making everyone feel like they’re equal and on the same team.
Moreover, someone with digital experience has firsthand knowledge of a modern way of running a company versus a legacy, paper-based way. Such experience is a benefit for prospective employers. Likewise, a manufacturer that truly embraces software to run every aspect of its organization will likely offer more exciting career opportunities and attract like-minded employees.
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