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Digital Transformation – The Evolution from Paper Travelers to Digital Travelers

Inventory Control in a Digital World

As technological advances rapidly develop the innovation among IoT products and manufacturing/warehousing systems, the need for paper-based processes is depleting. The rapid influx of orders that has recently bombarded all industries that move and store inventory has created various issues for companies. The inaccurate tracking of on-hand inventory and inefficient control of asset management processes are only some of the many problems organizations are facing.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its imposition of lockdown situations across different countries created massive supply chain disruptions across almost all industries, causing cashflow issues and has accelerated the adoption of warehouse automation tools.

However, more than half of companies in the U.S. still use spreadsheets or even paper travelers.

The Problem with Paper Travelers

Honestly, there really is nothing wrong with the ease-of-use and universal compatibility of paper travelers as it has been the industry standard for decades. However, remaining in a paper-based inventory system dismisses the opportunity of exponentially improving an organization’s inventory tracking efficiency, traceability, and security.

Tracking inventory via paper enables tons of room for human-made errors. The lack of immortalized digital back-ups is dangerous especially when such crucial information is stored on something as fragile as paper that can be easily mishandled or lost. Scans or photos can be created in hopes of solidifying the security of paper orders, however, the time spent manually creating backups can negatively affect the overall efficiency of your organization.

On top of that, paper orders do not scale particularly well. There is only so much room on a piece of paper let alone the storage needed for all the notebooks/binders. When that space is at its limit, organizing all the necessary information can get very messy and chaotic. Moreover, there is no efficient methodology for reporting across the organization. The type of bottlenecks that occur when using a paper traveler can rapidly build up especially when you are catching stride and finding success in your business.

The Struggle with Spreadsheets

The utilization of spreadsheets is a huge step forward from paper orders. The integration from paper to digital can drastically improve the systems and processes of an organization. Unlike paper orders, spreadsheets are highly scalable with the ability to embed automated formulas and have the benefit of not being limited to a tangible storage space. Although going digital is a huge improvement from paper-only processes, there are still issues that remain when companies primarily rely on spreadsheets.

For one, spreadsheets are prone to human error. The mixture of complex formulas, various users, and multiple oversight opportunities can create a very messy spreadsheet. According to MarketWatch, 88% of all spreadsheets have errors (Source: MarketWatch). Also, data is exceedingly difficult to find in the sea of spreadsheets that companies use. The lack of clear presentation of data makes it hard for employees to see the overall picture of their work, making their workflow less efficient and the company less scalable.

Even though the integration of spreadsheets is a huge step forward for paper travelers, there are more viable and effective solutions that will provide your organization with the visibility and control you need over your processes.

Traceability Made Easy®

The integration from paper travelers to digital can drastically improve the systems and processes of an organization. The TME® e-traveler follows the lot through each stage of production and optionally requires each operator to verify their work for every work station and automates sequences to initiate the next stage. This process will provide you with detailed information about production process, increasing accuracy and quality output.

MASS Group’s TME® software solution is an end-to-end cloud-based platform that was developed to transform the way users count, manage, and track assets and inventory. It is a comprehensive tracking system that is designed to help its users gain the traceability, visibility, and control they need to efficiently manage their most valued items.

TME® offers multiple deployment methods. It is geared towards mid-size companies in industries like aerospace, automotive, high tech, and manufacturing.

Information in TME® EAM/CMMS, Enterprise Asset Management and Computerized Maintenance Management System, is updated in real-time, so users on the floor always have access to equipment performance data. Managers can assign tasks to maintenance personnel through the system and then order status updates via email or text message while a work order is followed to completion. TME® records total time spent on repairs and identifies overdue maintenance tasks. It also comes with a built-in contact manager to store support numbers and contact information for employees, customers, vendors, and suppliers.

TME® WMS, Warehouse Management System, provides organizations with real-time visibility on the location, quantity, lifecycle, shelf life and status of inventory and consumables. The system ensures the prevention of excess or below minimum stock levels with reorder points and automatic notifications. Integrated with barcode and/or RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, users can quickly receive, transfer, and conduct cycle counts. Management can easily report on all aspects of the warehouse workflow from ordering, purchasing, receiving, transfer/consumption and scrapping.