Document management software (DMS) is becoming an essential part of the manufacturing industry, and for good reason. Many small to mid-sized organizations in manufacturing use the software to go paperless, which affords numerous benefits: The reduction of steps in the workflow process, simplified International Organization for Standardization (ISO) compliance, streamlined National Information Standards Organization (NISO) compliance, reduced operating expenses, and freed up office space—which can potentially reduce costs associated with the commercial real estate expenses hamstringing smaller organizations across a breadth of industries.
Integral to many other facets of the economy as a whole, the world depends on the manufacturing industry for flawless operational processes and information management. Companies in this sector face many logistical and operations-related issues, as many in the industry are looking to expand on a global scale to either set the tone for or keep up with the pace of competitors. Document Management Software (DMS) can help those in this industry save valuable operating space and streamline internal processes so these challenges can be met with poise and confidence.
For instance, North Carolina Mutual Drug is a full-line wholesale distributor for independent pharmacies located in the Raleigh-Durham area, which relies upon processes very similar to textbook definition manufacturing companies. Their mission is to support independent, entrepreneurial pharmacists so that they can compete with large chains in today’s environment. They carry approximately 23,000 products, work with 1,000 vendors, and service over 600 pharmacies. In business since 1952, North Carolina Mutual Drug has 160 employees, many of whom have worked there over 30 years.
The company ships out $5.2 million in product each night, amounting to annual revenues of roughly $1.3 billion, translating into many invoices that only proper document management software and techniques can handle, especially when compliance in the wholesale industry requires that documents be kept for a minimum of 7 years.
“It was very labor-intense in filing and processing those invoices daily. It was also very labor-intense to archive those invoices at year-end. And just the retrieval of information—if we had a vendor or supplier call with a question, it was not easy to retrieve the required documents,” notes Clint Syvinski, Corporate Controller at North Carolina Mutual Wholesale Drug Company.
With all these paper-dependent pain points, it made sense to look into going paperless. They compared several paperless companies and chose eFileCabinet. Mike Broome, Chief Financial Officer at the North Carolina Mutual Drug, explains how utilizing DMS has drastically helped the organization scale back on paper use:
“This is our last year of paper. We can now use our warehouse to store our product instead of storing paper.”
NC Mutual worked closely with their document management software Implementation Team and the transition went smoothly as they set up templates and electronic cabinets. They plan to roll it out next in the Human Resources department, followed by the Sales and Merchandising Teams.
“Our goal initially was to implement in the Accounting Department as we thought it would provide immediate payback and create success. As we implement, it triggers other potential areas of opportunity—other places we can streamline operational issues.”
Despite the good intentions of standardization and quality management set forth by experts and regulators for the manufacturing and wholesale industries, many wholesale and manufacturing companies have had to contend with time-consuming standards and suggestions on manual terms until document management software enabled these companies to go paperless. Processes in the manufacturing industry have long been susceptible to the following standards and attestations that document management software can simplify:
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 19011
This organization offers an international model based on the international consensus of experts for setting up and operating management systems. ISO notes that the standards can be applied to “any organization, large or small, whatever the product or service and regardless of the sector or activity.” An updated version of the ISO 19011 standard, in contrast to the 2002 standard, includes information on remote auditing and viewing information remotely—a feature that document management software (DMS) provides its users. The arbiter of the updated standard notes that it had been revised to help organizations “implementing management systems” such as DMS. The ISO also released a standard in tandem with the International Electro-Technical Commission (IEC) which specifies a suite of security-enhancing activities for information management, which are updated annually to account for new information regarding security breaches and information safety, which document management systems can handle, too.
The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) Z39.85
The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) organization provides domestic laws for information governance and technology. Its most important standard for those in the manufacturing and wholesale industries as it pertains to document management software, and that standard is NISO Z39.85, which discusses appropriate metadata classification and taxonomy structures that optimize and further streamline information management systems like document management software. Metadata helps organizations classify documents in a way that reduces redundant storage and arbitrary file naming, which is the number one reason files are so difficult to retrieve from a typical shared drive on a computer: employees will label and title documents according to arbitrary standards, which is why ‘going paperless’ entails more than scanning and uploading information to a shared drive: the information must be uploaded to document management software to make the effort of going paperless worthwhile.
The International Electro-Technical Commission (IEC) 82045
Although to a lesser degree than NISO and ISO, the International Electro-Technical Commission (IEC) specifies the importance of document management software for manufacturing and wholesale companies. In fact, they devote an entire publication to the “immediate incentives” of document management in IEC 82045, which are the ability to “handle large amounts of documents occurring in engineering, manufacturing, operations, and maintenance processes” including “cost reductions, quality improvements, and automated workflow procedures,” all of which streamline organizational processes and ensure documents are handled appropriately and in adherence to the law.
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