There’s no doubt that Industry 4.0 is all about the online space. But while digital businesses are rapidly expanding, digitalization now also extends into manufacturing. It has quickly become evident that businesses cannot achieve true efficiency without adopting the paperless philosophy.
Going fully paperless can transform your business and boost your team’s productivity — but what does ‘paperless’ mean and how can you achieve it? Keep reading to find out.
What is Digital Paperless Production?
In a paperless manufacturing setup all of the activities are managed through digital solutions. Practically, paper is no longer being used for communication within the factory. Instead, the system relies on cloud-based software that provides relevant information within seconds and records all necessary data for safekeeping or analysis.
How does this look in practice? From receiving a customer’s order, through keeping track of production processes for quality control purposes, all the way over to dispatching a product, every step of the way is digitalized and recorded in the cloud instead on paper.
How Do Businesses Benefit from Going Paperless?
Printed forms become outdated in less than three months on average — and yet, companies around the US spend over $120 billion on them every year, reports Medium.com. Embracing digital paperless production can have numerous benefits to your business, some of which are:
- Simplified reporting, data gathering, and other critical tasks
- Better protection for sensitive data
- Virtual access to important information from anywhere
- Improved employee productivity
- Reduced costs on physical storage and printing
Last but not least, going paperless also has an impact on the environment, thus putting your business into the eco-friendly group. Recycling is not a sustainable solution if we wish to reduce our impact on the planet. The key lies in reducing waste of resources, and cutting down paper usage seems like a win-win strategy.
How to Convert Your Business into a Paperless One
The first step would be to cut paper out of the everyday processes. This involves investing into a SAP solution that will ensure optimized flow of information and simple access to data. Your employees will be able to access and update information through their tablets or smartphones in real-time, while artificial intelligence takes data analysis to an advanced level.
You should also look into turning all of your paper-based entry points into digital ones. This means emailing rather than printing purchase orders, using editable PDFs for forms that need to be filled out, signing documents electronically instead of physically, etc.
Finally, you will need to consider digitalizing your current paper database, so that you can make it both easily searchable and protected from fire, flooding, rodents, and other acts of nature.
A Crucial Step Toward the Industry 4.0
There’s no doubt that moving toward paperless production can boost productivity, cut expenses and improve the security of business records. The greatest benefit will be felt by the businesses in highly regulated fields, such as pharmaceuticals or motor vehicle manufacturing, where data is being collected for every step of the process. Still, nearly all businesses can benefit from digitalization by relying on sophisticated software solutions that make paper almost entirely redundant.