Digital Signatures: Simplifying Processes for the Manufacturing Industry
The manufacturing industry is a complex and dynamic sector that requires efficient and effective documentation practices to ensure high-quality and safe production. Documentation plays a critical role in the manufacturing process, as it provides a record of all stages of production, from design to delivery. However, maintaining documentation can be a challenging and time-consuming task, and many manufacturers struggle to keep up with the demands of regulatory compliance and customer requirements.
In this blog, we will explore every aspect of documentation in the manufacturing industry - from documentation challenges to the role of digital signatures and the benefits of employing eSignatures in the manufacturing industry. Whether you are a manufacturer, a regulatory body, or a customer, this blog will provide valuable insights into the world of manufacturing documentation and its impact on the industry as a whole.
Documentation Challenges in the Manufacturing Industry
Transitions in mismanaged standard operating procedures (SOPs)
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) play a critical role in daily processes in the manufacturing industry. Thus, consistency in following established protocols and procedures is paramount. However, modifying SOPs requires extensive time and validation and involves multiple stakeholders. In addition, companies relying on paper-based systems often communicate SOP changes through brief notes, which are susceptible to misplacement or loss.
Creating customer communications
When working in the manufacturing industry, it is essential to prioritize effective communication. This includes creating and authorizing various documents, such as product information, proposals, and invoices, which are critical to maintaining positive customer relations.
Maintaining vendor relationships
It is crucial to give equal importance to both customers and suppliers or vendors and provide them with undivided attention. This includes handling various types of documentation such as quotes, packing slips, change orders, requisitions, and more.
Good Manufacturing Processes (GMPs) are essential for companies that produce items like pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and food, among others. Implementing these procedures is critical for avoiding product recalls, fines, seizures, and legal issues stemming from subpar product quality. Documentation plays a crucial role in ensuring compliance with Good Manufacturing Processes by providing a record of all manufacturing, development, and testing activities. Essentially, GMP documentation serves as a means for regulators and auditors to evaluate the quality of the final product. However, compliance can be challenging to maintain, specifically when dealing with numerous processes. Even for companies with many employees, verifying and signing hundreds of documents is a time-consuming and complex task.
Costs associated with documentation
Reducing expenses is a crucial objective across various industries, including manufacturing. For instance, among the primary costs encountered by manufacturing firms is the expense of printing, signing, and managing documents. Thankfully, this expenditure can be readily trimmed down.
Employee productivity can impact an organization's profitability in the manufacturing industry. Thus, employees must stay current with the latest developments in contract management to track and manage all issues related to these processes effectively.
Lack of centralization
When the paperwork is not adequately coordinated, manufacturing companies are vulnerable to various risks, including noncompliance and delayed customer payments. Moreover, there is a threat of document theft or loss and document misplacement that can lead your company to undesirable legal or financial disputes.
Digital Signatures in Manufacturing Industry
The manufacturing industry faces inefficiency issues, which have persisted for a long time. Presently, there is an increased emphasis on analyzing and referencing statistics. Plant managers and engineers spend their days scrutinizing facts and figures. Nevertheless, despite this extensive analysis, many companies cannot develop a practical approach to rectify long-standing problems. Thus, embracing new technologies and methodologies that better suit your business and help move the business forward feels more beneficial. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses were forced to shift significantly to remote work, which helped usher in the move of digital document processing.
According to a prediction by Gartner, half of all business-to-business invoices worldwide were expected to be processed and paid without manual intervention by 2025, and 80% of such invoices would be transmitted digitally by 2030.
This trend was already gaining momentum, but the pandemic expedited it. Now, more than ever, manufacturing companies are turning toward digital signature solutions to streamline their processes, cut down on unnecessary costs, and reduce time spent on redundant tasks. For instance, manual paperwork takes days or sometimes months to process a document. While integrating digital signatures in your document workflows takes less than a minute to sign and process a copy while ensuring the document's integrity. Dive in below to know the documentation challenges faced by the manufacturing industry and how eSignatures can benefit the same.
Also Read: Which Industries Must Use Digital Signature Solutions and Why?
Benefits of using digital signatures in the manufacturing industry
Manufacturing companies can benefit significantly by investing in digital signatures. Here are some of the substantial advantages.
Fast-track contract approval processes
The validation of the manufacturer-supplier or manufacturer-customer relationship is established through contracts. However, the approval and signing of these contracts can be a lengthy and laborious process. To expedite this process, the use of digital signatures can be advantageous. Rather than following the traditional approach of sending a contract to one party, waiting for them to print, sign, scan, and send it to the other party, and repeating the process for each signature, eSignatures allow all parties to append their signatures in a matter of minutes. This results in a faster turnaround time, providing manufacturers greater flexibility, particularly in situations where time is of the essence, and may enable them to realize the financial benefits sooner.
Lower the costs associated with the contract approval process.
Opting for digital signature software may appear pricier initially, but it can lead to significant cost savings in the long run. Digital signatures eliminate the requirement of physically transferring, signing and storing contracts in paper format, which can reduce expenses associated with the manual handling of paper-based contracts. This encompasses cost savings on paper, postage, and mailing supplies and minimizes employees' time and effort processing paperwork.
Prevent human errors in the documents.
Integrating digital signatures in your business processes automatically eliminates human errors. E-signatures automate document workflows and streamline operations, significantly cutting down on costs and time. Moreover, automation leaves no room for human error.
Maintain compliance with different manufacturing standards and regulations
Being in the manufacturing business means you'll need to adhere to numerous regulations - from 21 CFR Part 820 to OSHA and ISO 9000:9001. Fortunately, digital signatures provide a simple solution for ensuring compliance with all regulations. E-signatures rely on Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology, which offers a high level of security and is universally accepted for digital documentation. For instance, you can add a page of verifiable signatures to the end of a PDF contract, which serves as evidence that authorized parties have approved the contract.
Improve workforce agility
By embracing digital technology, companies can benefit from increased flexibility in ensuring smooth onboarding procedures, trustworthy documentation, and efficient safety regulations. For instance, in the manufacturing industry, utilizing digital signatures can speed up the hiring process for new employees. This can be achieved by digitally disseminating company handbooks and policies while keeping track of the signing progress seamlessly, which employees can do remotely. In addition, eSignatures can be employed in performing background checks and verifying identity credentials.
Central document repository
It is common for physical documents to be lost, misplaced, or damaged since they are scattered across various locations and departments, making it challenging to locate them when required. Nevertheless, utilizing digital signature software ensures the secure storage of signed contracts in a centralized repository, making them easily accessible and protected.
Applications of Digital Signatures in the Manufacturing Industry?
Below is the list of a few standard documents that can be signed and executed using digital signatures:
- Contracts and agreements
- Purchase orders
- Billing statements
- Bills of lading
- Sales orders
- Quality control documents
- Request for Proposal (RFP) / Request for Quotation (RFQ) documents
- Technical documents
- QA and other reports
The utilization of digital signatures is revolutionizing the way manufacturing and engineering companies do business. It helps organizations operate more efficiently and securely. If you are also looking to upgrade your business procedures and go digital in your workplace, DrySign could be the appropriate option for you. DrySign is a cutting-edge solution for digital signatures, offering reliability, security, and compliance with global regulations. Try DrySign for free now!
DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing the subject matter may change quickly, and Exela cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.
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