4 Reasons Paperless Operation Improves Manufacturing Quality

May 25, 2017
Frequently, people opt to read on e-readers and purchase paper or hardback copies of only their favorite or rarest books. The perception is that paper represents quality and preserves information better for easier later reference. It seems paradoxical then, that in manufacturing, paperless operation offers several distinct advantages over manual, paper-based systems in terms of quality management. Let’s consider some of the key benefits. Full article brought to you by Rockwell Automation. Visit The Connected Enterprise for more.  

Frequently, people opt to read on e-readers and purchase paper or hardback copies of only their favorite or rarest books. The perception is that paper represents quality and preserves information better for easier later reference.

It seems paradoxical then, that in manufacturing, paperless operation offers several distinct advantages over manual, paper-based systems in terms of quality management. Let’s consider some of the key benefits.

Increased Operational Flexibility

Paperless operation automates collection of data from multiple disparate sources, and the speed gain realized is beneficial both in terms of regulatory compliance and improved operational efficiency. Automated data collection also reduces potential for human errors that can lead to low product quality and even product recalls.

Data-Driven Decisions

Beyond operational flexibility, automated information gathering and reporting allows for more informed decision-making and deeper insights for easier quality compliance.

With the ability to view data collected from disparate systems throughout your operations on dashboards or reports, you can compare product quality against manufacturing conditions and review finished-product quality against individual suppliers’ raw materials.

With a quality management system, you can easily deliver quality reports to different stakeholders, with information contextualized to each person’s role. You also improve tracking of non-conformant product and scrap and gain a better understanding of rework costs.

Easier Compliance

Enhanced information capabilities speed review times, particularly in highly regulated industries such as automotive, pharmaceutical and food and beverage where quality correlates with safety. 

Quality and safety managers can access compliance results in dashboard-style reports, quickly identify any production anomalies and take immediate corrective action. In the pharmaceutical industry, paperless operation simplifies and speeds compliance compared to cumbersome, time-consuming paper-based systems via electronic batch recording (EBR) capabilities.

Readiness for New Regulations

When you implement automated, paperless operation, the same software can support serialization and track-and-trace systems to help you meet emerging regulations regarding product safety and potentially dangerous counterfeits.

It can also help you conduct more efficient product recalls, shorten containment response and augment marketing efforts. Implementing paperless operation is a proactive step to even greater manufacturing efficiency.

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