“Code” It Be Magic? The Processes That Benefit Most From Digitization

For so many businesses in their ascendancy, digitizing all of the operations can improve a whole lot. From efficiency to overall performance and reducing costs, digitizing our business operations can help us capture that tangible magic. However, embedding these practices can be difficult when we don’t understand the most effective processes to prioritize. Let’s show you exactly which ones you should be focusing on when digitizing your operations.

"Code" It Be Magic? The Processes That Benefit Most From Digitization

Production Planning and Scheduling

There are many different ways to optimize resource allocation and streamline your operations, and these can include:

Demand Forecasting

Leveraging data analytics and machine learning can help you accurately forecast the demand, which means better production planning and inventory management.

Production Scheduling

Implementing digital scheduling tools can help you optimize production sequences, maximize your equipment utilization, and minimize changeovers. This will ensure a greater degree of organization that can work wonders in terms of your overall efficiency.

Material Requirements Planning (MRP)

Digitizing the systems results in timely procurement and availability of supplies, components, and raw materials, which can be particularly effective in engineering organizations. For example, if you run a manufacturing plant and you want to eliminate paper in your plant, you can utilize these systems to ensure that your supplies are fit for purpose.

Inventory Management

So many organizations prioritize inventory management. Doing it right ensures you maintain optimal stock levels, reduce the carrying costs, and prevent stockouts. When it comes to digitizing your operations, you should look to focus on the following processes:

Inventory Tracking

There are a number of ways to ensure that you are focusing on inventory levels and locations. Real-time understanding of your inventory is absolutely invaluable. This is where barcode scanning, IoT technologies, and RFID (radio frequency identification) can help you understand your inventory at any one time.

Reorder Management

Understanding your lead times and predefined minimum stock levels ensures that when you incorporate something like automation, you are doing it based on the inherent understanding of your real-time position.

Cycle Counting

Digitizing cycle counting procedures will help to maintain accurate inventory levels, but more importantly, identify any discrepancies in the stock.

Quality Control and Assurance

Digitizing quality control processes can do wonders in terms of your product quality, ensure regulatory compliance, but also reduce product defects. Some of the processes to digitize include:

Statistical Process Control (SPC)

If you implement digital SPC systems, you can enable quality improvements based on the data. Prioritizing data-driven improvements is invaluable for overall business performance. Additionally, when you monitor process performance and identify variations, you will begin to see the benefits in the long run as you can see any gaps in the process itself.

Non-Conformance Management

If you can identify, document, and ultimately resolve non-conformances, you are going to have a far more proactive approach to understanding the root cause of problems. Root cause analysis is invaluable for businesses as they deconstruct the concept of the process in relation to the quality itself.

Document Management

Every business should prioritize documentation. Digitizing and centralizing quality documents, whether it’s standard records, procedures, or specifications, can enable easy access. Many organizations prioritize quality document management as it underpins so many other aspects of the processes themselves.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Checklists

These processes ensure consistent execution of processes and improve compliance, but also more importantly, reduce human error. We can’t completely eradicate human error, which is why we need to be aware of the following processes that we can digitize:

Digital SOPs

Paper-based SOPs can be very hard to keep track of, and this very simple process of digitizing paper-based SOPs can help with real-time updates and enable easy access for employees. More than just scanning papers into a system; physically converting these SOPs into interactive digital formats can be a lot of work at the outset but is invaluable to ensure that everybody has access to the most salient documents to guarantee across-the-board compliance and efficiency.

Digital Checklists

Digital checklists, for example for tasks like equipment maintenance, quality checks, or safety inspections, are a very simple yet effective way to guarantee traceability for any issues, therefore enabling root cause analysis but it also guarantee completeness. A process is only as good as its individual components, and therefore digital checklists make it easy for employees to follow and undertake.

Task Management

If you integrate digital SOPs and checklists into task management systems, it becomes simpler to assign, track, and monitor task completion. Task management is only as good as the framework in which it sits. Tasks need to be comprehensively monitored, which is why digitizing task management can ensure no stone goes unturned.

Maintenance and Asset Management

There are different ways to improve efficiency across the board. When you reduce downtime by digitizing maintenance processes, you are also experiencing a number of other benefits, for example, extending the equipment’s life and improving the reliability of the assets. Here are three key processes to look at:

Preventive Maintenance

Influencing digital systems for scheduling and tracking preventive maintenance activities based on certain triggers, for example, usage, the condition of the equipment, as well as time-sensitive practices, can prolong the lifespan of the asset.

Predictive Maintenance

We should understand that maintenance is a proactive practice, and rather than relying on reactive maintenance, we can leverage IoT sensors and data analytics to project when an asset, likely equipment, will fail.

Work Order Management

When we digitize work order processes, this can result in efficient maintenance operations. There can be a number of different processes at play here, for example, requests, submission, and prioritization, as well as closure. Therefore, making sense of the work order can achieve far greater operational efficiency.

The Benefits of Digitizing Business Processes

By covering all of these key components, you can stand to benefit in a huge variety of ways:

Increased Efficiency

Of course, when you automate manual tasks and streamline your workflows as per the Kanban, Agile, or Scrum approach in the manufacturing industries, you’re going to improve your operational efficiency and productivity. Working smarter rather than harder should be the order of business.

Cost Savings

Digitizing processes will reduce costs associated with paper-based components, manual labor, and of course, reduce human error. The cost of human error can be staggering. A study by Vanson Bourne identified that all unplanned downtime in manufacturing is the result of human error in comparison to an average of 9% in other sectors such as energy and logistics. Research shows that the average loss for a manufacturing company faced with unplanned downtime is around $250,000. What’s more, human errors can result in costly product defects and even legal liabilities, particularly in the pharmaceutical and medical industries.

Scalability and Agility

If you digitize your processes, you can easily scale them up and down to changing business needs, meaning that you are a far more competitive entity in the industry you operate.

A Better Customer Experience

Digital processes can enhance customer satisfaction, of course. While they may not see how you’ve improved your turnaround times or what happened when you started to incorporate managed IT into your operations, you will enhance customer satisfaction incrementally.

 

Of course, these can be incredibly challenging. You need to overcome resistance to change, integrate these processes with existing systems, and recognize that digitization is an ongoing process. However, by carefully planning and addressing these challenges, any organization can successfully digitize business processes. As you can see, there’s a huge range of benefits to digitizing all aspects of your business. It could be the magic trick that revamps every single aspect of your organization.

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