The amount of disruption in today’s supply chain requires companies to respond in real-time. Digitalization promises are enormous, and nowhere is it more critical than in its potential to transform food, beverage, supplement, and CPG businesses. Far too many companies we talk to rely on static tools like filing cabinets and clipboards to manage documents. Others have upgraded to Excel spreadsheets, shared drives, and even databases but have found these solutions lacking. There are many benefits of digital document management, especially if your company adopts streamlined and automated storage and sharing procedures.
There are several benefits to going digital.
- Instant access anywhere. One of the most significant drawbacks of hard copy documents is their static nature. They’re inaccessible to anyone not holding them. And making changes to them can be time-consuming and tedious, causing issues with version control. With digital document management, not only can teams retrieve them from anywhere, but on any number of devices, like PCs, tablets, or smartphones.
- One location. Each ingredient that comes off the loading dock brings an average of 100 documents with it, between the layers of federal and local regulations and your company mandates. Once those ingredients become finished goods, they require another round of paperwork. All those documents add up quickly, filling disparate document storage systems from binders to shared drives to email folders, making them difficult to find later. You can store digital files automatically and organize them in a single document management system. This makes them instantly available to anyone.
- Business insight. Document management software makes it easy for businesses to combine digital files into a single hub, for one source of truth. You can also safeguard confidential business information with security policies and role-based access control, which limits access to authorized users. And the best part is you can leverage the data within documents to monitor and react to crucial business criteria in real-time.
- Go green. Consumers are more concerned about the environment than ever before. A quality product at a fair price isn’t always enough in today’s marketplace. More people – particularly younger shoppers – want to buy from companies with values that align with their own. And for many of them, that includes companies that embrace sustainability. Paper manufacturers extract anywhere between 10,000 to 20,000 pieces of paper for every tree they cut down. And CPG companies can burn through that in a week generating paper documents. If the moral imperative isn’t enough to drive change at your organization, consider the money you’d save. Multiple studies suggest that it can cost companies $20 (on average) to file a single paper document, including labor and salary, storage, etc. Finally, suppliers should keep in mind that manufacturers are increasingly shopping for vendors that exhibit sound environmental practices.
- Be audit-ready. Few things are as nerve-wracking as an audit. When an inspector shows up unannounced at a plant, companies have to produce any number of documents at a moment’s notice. A Gartner Research study revealed that the average office worker takes about 18 minutes to find a single document. Multiply that by the hundreds of documents that get passed around during an audit, and you can see how paper documentation can drag out an already stressful inspection. That’s assuming nothing gets misplaced along the way. Digital files, on the other hand, can be pulled with a few keystrokes or finger swipes, which can not only make for happy inspectors but much shorter audits. After disasters like fire or flooding, digital document management systems ensure your business-critical data are kept intact.
- Boost collaboration. Poor communication across departments is consistently one of the biggest obstacles to new product development at any company. When critical documentation lives in disparate systems, it’s much harder for different divisions to work together. The lack of visibility across the organization can slow down the simplest tasks. Instead of wasting time and effort looking through physical files, employees can instead call up the necessary records immediately, based on a quick text search. And by improving employee efficiency, digitization also helps employers save on labor costs. Analysts estimate that $14,000 worth of productivity is lost annually per employee due to the inability to find required documentation.
Digitization is a win-win proposition, not just a way to avoid risk. The business benefits that companies stand to gain by effectively advancing their supply chain management are profound.
Moving from a manual and disparate document management approach doesn’t have to be hard. TraceGains helps companies automate and streamline document management and achieve supply chain transparency. On average, companies find that 80% of their suppliers are already on TraceGains Network, allowing them to connect and gain instant access to required documentation. Request a demo to learn more.