The Problem with Paper for Quality Management


A recent Aberdeen Research survey reported that 53% of manufacturers state that they still rely upon paper-based or manual systems when it comes to quality management.

You might be thinking, “So what?” After all, many manufacturing organizations have been sending paper travellers, complete with work orders, quality checklists and the like, around the plant or shop floor (and sometimes entering the data they contain at some point into a spreadsheet for later analysis) for as long as anyone can remember.

While these lingering processes may seem innocent enough, the static and basic nature of paper itself is leaving many manufacturers with the equivalent of a “data hangover.” Let me explain what I mean by this: Remember when you (or perhaps a friend) may have enjoyed yourself a little too much at your last happy hour and perhaps woke up functioning at a little less than 100%? Manufacturers, which rely on paper for quality and production processes, often find themselves in a similar position where their operational data is not accurate, not timely, not accessible, or not contextual—thus preventing them from using data to back decisions and from operating as efficiently as possible.

An increasing number of manufacturers have cured this data affliction by going paperless with quality management software. This allows them to harness accurate, real-time, centralized and actionable data derived from the shop floor, which enables their employees to make more informed decisions.  These better decisions translate into less warranty costs, shorter production lead times, and higher overall customer satisfaction, which shows up in the organization’s bottom line. But don’t just take my word for it. Aberdeen Research recently reported that best-in-class manufacturers are almost twice as likely to have ditched paper or manual quality management processes, and as a result enjoy 13% higher operating margins when compared to their paper-based counterparts.

If your company is still running on paper for quality management, ask yourself these questions: what if the data that your employees record on their quality checklists as items come down the line was immediately available to everyone in the plant? What quality issues, part-, hardware-, or personnel-based, could you prevent or remedy in real time as a result? Could your organization decrease its production lead times by preventing such issues or reduce its warranty costs? What impact could this have on your bottom line?

Paperless Quality Management Webinar

Get answers to these questions and learn more about paperless quality management by attending our upcoming webinar, Paperless Quality Management: The Key to Manufacturing Success, hosted by Aberdeen Research on August 20th at 1 P.M. EST. Research Analyst, Reid Paquin will discuss the market trends in the quality management space and the many benefits associated with going paperless. Additionally, our client, 3D Systems, will be discussing best practices for making the switch and the actual results they’ve seen as a result. 

Register today to attend this exclusive webinar!