Technology has transformed the way we work in the 21st century. Although the removal of paper from the workplace has been slow-moving, companies are now realising the benefits of moving toward a paperless workforce.
Productivity and Profitability
A move towards a paperless factory allows manufacturers to become more productive and profitable compared to companies still operating paper-based systems (Djassemi & Sena, 2006). In a paperless system factory managers and employees have access to up-revised and controlled documentation, improving efficiency while significantly reducing costs associated with managing such large amounts of information.
A Culture of Compliance
A paperless factory is better positioned to build and maintain a culture of compliance.
The overall benefits include:
- Reduce costs and compliance risk
- Improve document control
- Removal of storage space
- Ability to up-revise training documents
- On-the-job training and eSigning documents
The Path to Paperless Learning in Manufacturing
Paper and Legacy Systems
Maintaining and tracking paper-based documents or spreadsheets is cumbersome and time-consuming work for both managers and employees. These ‘legacy’ systems lack control, data-security and accuracy, whilst time is wasted searching for and communicating data across the company.
The Paperless Strategy
It can be demonstrated that implementing a paperless training and compliance strategy has a direct impact on a company’s overall compliance rate.
The ability to take training and document revision onto the factory floor, is not only saving companies valuable time and money but is helping them build a better culture of compliance.
Companies who have implemented a technology solution to monitor document control are saving up to 7 hours per day in staff time compared to paper-based processes.
Reduction in Paper and Printing Costs
The Reduction in Printing Costs table (see below) represents an example of cost savings in one year. By speaking with a number of manufacturers, we have collated data based on a sample chosen from several companies.
All of the companies shared a common commitment to a strategic approach to eliminating paper and associated costs.
The three areas in focus were:
- Restricting the access to printers with a PIN system.
- Reducing the overall number of printers on-site.
For example, one company noted that the Engineer store room has 3 printers,
where one would suffice.
- Capping the number of sheets per employee per each task.
Additional savings were made with the introduction of an automated and electronic document control system.
These additional savings equated to an average of £15,000 (US$19,800) per year.
Reduction in Printing Costs Table
|Print Reduction Goals (1 year)||Amount|
|Introduced PIN number on all
printers across the site.
|Reduced the number of printers in
use from 24 to 15.
|Reduced average paper usage per
employee per task. 14 sheets to 5.
|Savings on Printing||£15,000 (US$19,800)|
Additional Savings Through a Cost Benefit Analysis
The aforementioned additional savings attributed to the use of an Automated and electronic document control system should be included in a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA).
Sample Cost Benefit Analysis
Realising The Benefits
Due to the high costs associated with paper usage including printing, paper and physical storage space, we are now seeing more companies use automated systems to reduce costs.
However, it is not just the tangible cost savings that is driving this trend, companies are improving their overall compliance rate and setting themselves up with a competitive advantage.
It here that we see the benefits of implementing change far outweigh the costs of using out-dated paper based methods.