Have you really looked at your manufacturing records management processes recently to see how it affects your bottom line in terms of facilities costs, product liability protection, and labor costs? If you haven’t, you are not alone. One of the key findings of a newly released data governance survey, conducted by Rand Secure Data, found that 44% of companies don’t have a comprehensive data governance policy, and 22% of firms without a data policy have no plans to implement one. This omission could be costing you – big time.

What Is Data Governance?

In the simplest terms, data governance is your ability to create order around your data – to record, organize, secure and easily retrieve all of the data you create in the day-to-day operation of your business. If you are not using a document scanning service and your business is still operating in silos with every department and/or location controlling their own separate filing systems, you are no doubt missing operational efficiencies, losing money and opening yourself up to unnecessary product liability lawsuits.

Purchase Orders, Bill of Materials, Pick Lists, CAD drawings,  or even photographs – whatever you need to manufacture a product – all need to be retained. In fact, for legal reasons, many manufacturers need to retain project files and manufacturing documentation for at least 30 years. That’s a lot of records.

Here are six other benefits good data governance provides:

  • easily accessible records by all departments

  • performance data you can use to measure and improve manufacturing efficiency

  • improved customer service

  • compliance with product liability records laws, regulations and protection in a lawsuit

  • reduced materials and facilities storage costs

  • reduced labor costs in pulling and re-filing paper documents

Creating a comprehensive policy for data governance is particularly challenging for manufacturers due to the mix of documents and data sources with which they need to work. Even in the age of electronic communication, many factory floors are still dependent on paper-intensive processes. While the rest of the company may be fully digital, the actual factory could still be a dusty, oily, industrial atmosphere, not conducive to electronic devices. In that environment, each order still needs a Project File and that means you’re still dealing with a lot of paper.

Big Data – Managing to The Big Picture

Keeping up with technological advances in every area of business is vital to remaining successful in the current business environment. Improving speed to market, inventory control and supply chain management and reducing costs are all activities being driven by new technology. Your ability to create a comprehensive plan and then efficiently and effectively manage your data may very well be the difference between success and failure, profit and loss.

The level of electronic records management (ERM) you need depends on the scope of your business and applicable operational and regulatory requirements you need to meet. Smaller businesses with fairly simple processes may be able to convert to ERM on a DIY basis with a simple organizational system created by the business. However, the larger, more complex and paper-intensive your processes, the more you’ll want to take a hard look at the ROI of managing this conversion yourself or hiring an expert to manage the project for you. Here are some questions you must answer before you can make a decision:

  • Can you handle heavy volumes?

  • What are your labor costs?

  • Is there a large, existing repository of documents that need to be sorted, organized, scanned and indexed?

  • Do you have the space for large scanners or does it make more sense to have the project completed off-site?

  • How many departments will be affected by the changes to your existing processes?

For more information about converting your project files to electronic documents, contact Advantage IMS today for a consultation. With locations in Iowa and MInnesota, we primarily serve clients in Minneapolis-St Paul area, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Waterloo and the Quad Cities.