Manufacturing plays a pivotal role across industry verticals. It is an industry that caters to the requirements of other industries by providing them with finished products. Yet, there are recurring issues which the industry is still trying to solve.
One such issue is the processing, storage, and maintenance of documents in a manufacturing company. It is an inevitable task that needs due completion everytime there are changes within the system. Therefore, deploying an intelligent document automation solution can be of immense help for manufacturing organizations aiming at optimizing and automating their paper work, considering the fact that companies in the manufacturing industry face frequent changes in the documents that they come across in their day to day business.
Before leading to the solution, let's learn about the different documents used in a manufacturing department, other associated document intensive departments, document automation benefits, and more…
Documents Utilized by Manufacturing Department
Bills of Material
Bills of Material or BOM is an important document central to the process of production in manufacturing for design, operation, and more. It is a list of raw materials, instructions, components, etc. used by the production team to either create a new product or make changes to it. Often created in a hierarchical manner that starts from finished products, it goes on to cover other critical information such as components, raw materials, instructions, etc.
A BOM might also contain the prices of the components and raw materials required to create the product. This data is recorded and distributed among the team to have a better understanding of the final product. Also, it is important to record and store the data for future references. Since this process is carried out manually in multiple organizations, it can be time consuming, considering the frequent changes that occur in the components of BOM. To mitigate this problem, an automation solution like an IDP platform can be used as it can be leveraged by manufacturing companies to extract data from countless BOM’s in a structured manner each and every time a change is made in the document in the ERP system.
Raw Material Specifications
It is an elaborate document on the raw material requirement of a product. Depending upon the industry such as electronics, pharmaceutical, fooding, automobile, etc. This document can either be too short or too long and mentions all the raw materials along with the precise quantity they are used in.
If prepared manually, it could be a cumbersome process for the employees to uncover business critical data that lies locked within this important document. Hence, taking advantage of an IDP platform can help them unlock the required information in just a few minutes along with aiding them to store the information in a central database. The information so gathered can also be shared amongst the team members at the click of a button.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
A standard operating procedure guides the workers to perform routine operations so that the end product can be realized. To do this, the document is divided into various sections such as purpose, objective, regulatory basis, references, responsibility, etc. These entries are filled with data that is central to the entire process of manufacturing, therefore, it is stored and maintained. Using an IDP, it is possible to extract important data for useful entries such as purpose, objective, regulatory basis, etc. from multiple SOPs without any manual intervention. The extracted data would be without any human induced error. Also an IDP would aid easy storage to the infrastructure’s DMS without any issues.
Master Batch Records
A master batch record comprises the list of total raw material requirements, and step by step instructions for creating a single batch. These are constantly updated and the amends are made by mutual consent of the related parties. Just like every document above, these are also recorded and maintained. To make this process simpler, one can take advantage of an IDP platform that can easily extract data for multiple fields. It can provide sorted data that can be worked upon without any errors.
Other Departments in Manufacturing - In Dire Need of Document Automation
Manufacturing has multiple departments, each catering to a particular set of responsibilities. All of these departments have their own workflows, and different documents to process. With the added weight of today’s increasing documents and the task of document processing, there is an imminent need for a document processing automation solution. A few departments that come under the ambit of manufacturing industry includes-
- Engineering & Research Development
- New Products Development
- Quality Department
- Maintenance Department
- Marketing Department
- Human Resources Development
- Manufacturing Systems Engineering
- Personnel Department
- Finance Department
Starting from purchase orders to financial ledgers and reports, there are tons of documents that are dealt with manually. This manual process often puts a lot of stress on the bandwidth of the teams associated. Instead of fulfilling their core operations, they are often stuck with manually processing documents and performing primarily two tasks i.e. data extraction and data verification.
With an IDP platform, the task of extracting data and verifying is simplified ten fold and automated to give final processed output. An IDP can process unstructured documents in bulk and complete tasks such as data extraction and data verification without any manual intervention.
The operator simply needs to provide the batch of the documents along with the corresponding source of truth. It is also possible to extract custom data from each of these document batches without any coding skills. The processed data provided by an IDP is uniform, sorted, and segregated. Also, the platform offers continuous feedback learning and human in the loop. It allows the platform to handle exceptions while document processing and learn & evolve with each case.
With an IDP, it is possible to process thousands of unstructured documents in a single go making it an effective upgrade for the manufacturing industry.
Advantages of Upgrading Document Processing in Manufacturing
Document processing traditionally has been carried out either manually or using an OCR. Although, there are multiple advantages to upgrade document processing via an intelligent document processing platform. These are:
Faster Processing: In terms of processing, these automation solutions are exponentially faster than manual processing. Also, they are not limited by a template or the type of data unlike an OCR. Instead upon deploying an IDP within the existing infrastructure, it is easy to see the immediate surge in the speed of document processing.
Bulk Processing: The task of document processing can be a much simpler ordeal. Yet, the sheer numbers of documents that are generated and processed today for extraction and verification makes it much more difficult. With an IDP, it is possible to feed huge batches of documents with hundreds, thousands, and even millions of documents. An IDP will process all this data and give out verified information without any problem.
Zero Errors: These IDP platforms are free of any human induced errors. It happens because the data extraction and verification part of the process is completely automated by the system. The platform doesn’t require any human intervention to complete this operation, thereby, providing information with no errors.
Unstructured Documents: A much bigger problem faced while processing documents is the variation in format, structures, fonts, etc. This is one big reason why traditional OCR had limited document processing capabilities. With an IDP, it is possible to process almost any kind of document regardless of its source.
Handwritten Documents: Handwritten documents and data are still a big part of the entire documentation process. There are multiple entries that are made into documents that are handwritten which was almost impossible to process with great accuracy previously. On the other hand, an IDP uses an image optimization engine that pre-processes any document fed to the system for providing the highest accuracy.
Accuracy: IDP platforms are developed to make sure there are no errors. Any time, there is an exception the platform is unable to determine, it raises a flag to the operator to mitigate it manually. Once mitigated, the platform learns it and never demands a resolution for the same problem in the future, thereby, reaching higher accuracy autonomously and sustaining it.
Higher Transparency: The data extracted from an IDP is processed into information i.e. sorted, segregated, and categorized. It makes it much easier to search any information for which the existing teams had to go through multiple folders of documents.
Digitization: The world is moving towards the digitization bandwagon. It is because the data is much easier to store and find. An IDP essentially aids digitization of data since the final output generated is in formats like excel, CSV, etc. This data can be directly stored on the cloud or can be fed into a DMS system.
Cost Optimization: Document processing is an inherently cost intensive process considering it requires manual labor and hours of hard work. With an IDP onboard, this cost is blown to smithereens and the teams are freed from the overburden of document processing.
VisionERA - Intelligent Document Processing for Manufacturing
VisionERA is the latest intelligent document processing platform available in the market. It possesses all the features of an IDP such as data extraction, data verification, unstructured document processing, etc.
Developed using proprietary technologies such artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision, it is an OS independent solution which can be deployed on cloud as well. Its continuous feedback loop mechanism helps it constantly learn and evolve. Also, the platform doesn’t require any samples to begin with.
VisionERA can be deployed in any existing infrastructure because of its plug-n-play feature and seamless integration with different environments. It is backed by the human-AI alliance approach making it a perfect solution for anyone with zero coding experience. The platform allows custom DIY workflows which makes it an industry and use case agnostic solution. VisionERA can be utilized anywhere that requires heavy document processing and it can be easily molded as per the requirements.
Document automation in manufacturing is generally associated with accounts payable. Yet, there are multiple other departments that generate ample amounts of documents that need processing. An IDP platform is a perfect solution for any documentation that requires data extraction and verification of unstructured documents in bulk. It serves as a mediator between raw documents data and processed information useful for different purposes such as production, reporting, accounting, maintenance, etc.
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