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Avoiding the Pitfalls of Paper Data in Manufacturing

Eliminating paperwork from the shop-floor experience can help unlock your plant's full potential.


An all too familiar scene:


A machine operator scribbles down part counts, cycle times, setup times, and scrap quantities. This paperwork is passed to someone who enters this information into an ERP system. Job tracking, machine maintenance, scheduling? Again, all done with pen and paper and entered into ERP and MES software. Manually.


Advances in technology allow even small and medium-sized manufacturers to implement digital data tracking easily and inexpensively. Yet, there are still many companies who rely on paper data for tracking production performance, employee output, and machine operation metrics.


Are you one of these companies?


Digital data collection eliminates "data-lag" by synchronizing machine and production data into your ERP and MES automatically and in real-time.

In this blog we'll explore some of the pitfalls of paper-based data, as well as the benefits of moving your shop floor to a paperless environment.


1. Paper data is slow.

Traditionally, paper data is only processed into ERP or MES databases once per day, or once per shift at the soonest. Because these entries have to be processed manually, busy production schedules can cause even further delays.


This "data-lag" makes it difficult to spot areas of correction and improvement throughout the manufacturing process. Production delays or periods of reduced machine efficiency may not be noticed until well after a job has been completed, eating into profitability.


Digital data collection eliminates "data-lag" by synchronizing machine and production data into your ERP and MES automatically and in real-time. With an integrated monitoring platform (such as Excellerant), your entire shop can be monitored from one portal, allowing for live production intervention and corrections.


2. Paper data is inaccurate.

Paper data always carries a risk of inaccuracy or even physical loss. Written time cards can be easy to misplace on the shop floor or incorrectly processed during manual data entry.


The vast majority of data discrepancies are not a product of malicious intent or fraud. Nevertheless, mistakes in reported part counts or machine cycle-time can cause massive impacts on quoting and shop profitability when calculating job yield and efficiency.


Automated collection minimize any chance of data inaccuracy by logging part counts and cycle times from machine tools directly. Mounted tablets at each machine allow for a greater degree of qualitative accuracy as well, empowering operators to easily provide situational updates on downtime and scrap reasons.


3. Paper data is insecure.

Manufacturing regulatory bodies (such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology) have strict standards related to the safe storage and access of manufacturing intellectual property. In some cases, you may risk large fines or production shutdowns if a sensitive data breach occurs.


Paper-printed part specifications and drawings floating in your shop floor increase your risk of exposure to a such data breach, and may even be prohibited within the scope of some customer contracts.


In contrast, proper digital file management and user-access controls keep sensitive customer data off the shop-floor and only in the hands of those that need it. Excellerant, for instance, includes file management tools that are fully compliant to NIST cyber-security standard SP800-171.



Are you ready to unlock your shop's full potential?


There are many reasons to make the switch to a paperless shop-floor environment. Excellerant helps makes this transition simple.


Schedule a personalized demo with one of our product experts today: Book a Demo


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