Another article about why manufacturing should digitize data tracking and logging? Sort of.

Paperwork in manufacturing is a necessary evil; digitizing makes it easier, faster, and more accurate and useful—what’s stopping you? 

· 3AG blog,manufacturing

If you look, you’ll find seemingly countless online discussions and articles about how manufacturing companies benefit from digitizing traditionally paper-based admin work.

There’s clearly no shortage of data experts and organizations ready to rearrange how your company manages data collection, use, and policy. And there’s presumably a market to match, or these articles about manufacturing needing digital tracking and logging wouldn’t be so abundant.

Yet, a recent study showed that years into the global Covid-19 pandemic—when the digitization of our lives really accelerated—over 70% of manufacturing companies still use paper for data collection, organization, storage, analysis, and distribution. Why?

Perhaps it’s partly a language issue; marketing writing can obscure the fact that data is just another word for information, and that analytics is simply the work of making sense and use of information.

Manufacturing’s slow adoption of data platforms may also be partly healthy skepticism—how long have we been hearing that this one latest device, process, or platform is going to literally change everything about how we work and live? And then life continues, apparently as usual?

Why aren’t more manufacturers using digital forms to track and log data?

It may be argued that people generally don’t work in manufacturing, mines, factories, etc because they feel suited to workdays filled with completing and filing paperwork. Just as easily, one could say employees chose to work in manufacturing because of its relative lack of computer-based and other digital tasks; and older employees, accustomed to certain ways of doing things, may be perceived as more resistant to change, especially change involving computers and associated tools.

We believe you likely don’t need to worry about employees resisting moving from paper-based to digital tracking and logging. The switch from paper to digital tracking and logging will, of course, require some adjustment; but they can handle it, even if they’re initially uninterested.

Don’t most or all of us, regardless of age, education, or profession have a smartphone, use social media (like Facebook), renew drivers’ licenses or health cards online, and—especially since the pandemic began—rely on platforms like Zoom to stay in
touch with friends and family?

How digital tracking and logging benefits manufacturing

With the right partner leading the way to digitizing operations, the switch away from paper can be just as simply and easily managed.

  • it won’t get lost, torn, or covered in machine oil or coffee stains;
  • it logs all factory floor and machine activity as it happens, in real time, which improves
    • production levels,
    • pinpoints where improvement is needed,
    • makes planning for future demand easier and more accurate, and
    • improves quality control;
  • while paper itself isn’t expensive, using it inmanufacturing is: It goes missing or gets damaged, and by its very nature makes the data it records out of date by the time decision-makers see it. There’s also the environmental price of printing reams of paper every day, as well as space issues as more paper-based data is produced, catalogued, and stored;
  • when all company data is connected,