“There is nothing as inexpensive or as flexible as a number 2 pencil and a paper form, which is why many organizations continue to use them” – writes my friend Peter Green from BellHawk Systems. “Then they manually key the data written on the paper forms into Excel spreadsheets, or their ERP or accounting system, or simply put the paper form in a filing cabinet, in case something goes wrong.
Unfortunately, there are also a number of problems with this approach:
- You can write anything on the sheet of paper. There is no feedback. The sheet of paper does not tell you if you have transposed two digits in that 12 digit part number. It also does not tell you if you are using the wrong part for a job or if the part you are picking has failed inspection.
- As a result, many data capture errors mistakes occur that are not detected. These can be costly for valuable managers and IT staff to find and correct, especially if they are subsequently entered into an ERP or accounting system.
- Operations mistakes, such as picking a wrong or defective or contaminated part, can be very costly. They can lead to the need to scrap or recall products and have led to millions of dollars of losses and even the bankruptcy of companies.
- Even when this paper-forms data is subsequently entered into a computer, the data is typically entered a day or more later. As a result, managers are trying to run their operations with out of date information about customer orders, inventory and jobs, which dramatically reduces their efficiency.
- There is no rapid recall capability when something goes wrong. All you have is a row of filing cabinets full of paper forms that may or may not be correctly filled out. This is a recipe for disaster if you are suspected of producing a defective product that may cause people to be harmed.
- It takes a long time to write data down and then subsequently key all this data into a computer. In aggregate, many companies are wasting the time of multiple full-time equivalent people who can be better deployed elsewhere.
To learn about how you can solve these problems, please join me for a one hour Webinar on “Replacing Paper Forms, Spreadsheets and Keyboard Data Entry with Barcode Scanning” on Thursday June 24th at 10AM Eastern Standard Time. In this webinar I will cover how to use barcode scanning to track inventory and work-in-process from the receiving dock to the shipping dock.”
For more information and to register for the webinar, head over to Peters GoToMeeting page here.
I plan to take part myself – assuming I’m back from the Apple Store by then!!