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Struggles of Manual Data Collection

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Your shop is old school. You have good, hard working employees, loyal customers, and the same manual data entry system you put into place when you opened for business 50 years ago. While the "if it’s not broken, don’t fix it" motto may work for many aspects of your shop, it won’t work for data collection. Manual data collection is not only an outdated concept; it’s also a hindrance to your manufacturing business.

The Problem

Manual data collection in your job shop is a multi-step process. First, the employees have to take the time to record the data, whether that’s their own timesheets, the time it takes on a particular order, stage of completion, or even material inventory. Next, an individual must collect all of these sheets and organize them into separate categories. Then, an unlucky employee is stuck with the task of manually entering all this data into an ERP system or some form of spreadsheet. Finally, all of the slips of data must be filed, thrown away, or shredded.

This tedious process can result in the following problems:

  • Outdated Information: The manual data collection process takes time. That means the data will likely not be available until the next day, and it this point, it may be outdated. This delay makes it impossible to catch and fix issues while they occur. Often times, the problem does not become apparent until it’s too late to fix. This impacts the efficiency and profitability of the shop.
  • Uninformed Decisions: The delay in data processing may inhibit a manager or owner’s ability to make a change on the fly that could benefit the shop. This missed opportunity demonstrates the inefficiency of manual data collection. It’s also difficult to accurately quote a job without immediate access to the information needed. Potential clients are looking for quick results, and without your offer on the table right away, they may choose a competitor over you.
  • Human Error: It’s human nature to make mistakes. That can’t be helped. And unfortunately, it’s very easy to make many mistakes when manually collecting data. Some errors occur as typos while the data entry person is keying in a large amount of information. Others occur through illegible writing. Finally, there are errors that occur through laziness and estimates. All of these factors can provide skewed results, which can drastically alter decisions made within the company.

The Solution

Luckily, there is a way to improve the efficiency, accuracy, and pace of your shop: automated data collection. Automated data collection provides the tools needed to eliminate all of the previous problems and enhance your overall shop efficiency.

  • Instant Access to Real-Time Data: Automated data collection is constantly updated, so it displays what’s happening in the shop at that exact moment. If a customer calls in to see when they can expect their order, there’s no need to go out into the shop to check on the job status. In just a couple clicks, that data will appear on the screen. Real-time data is also helpful for scheduling employees and machines, so there’s no overlap in jobs or shortages/surpluses of employees out on the floor.
  • Well Informed Decisions: Automated data collection provides a wide range of updated, accurate information about the shop. Therefore, everything you need to make a decision is right at your fingertips. You can view progress on a job to see if you have the machine time to take on another. Or, you decide whether or not you need to hire another worker. With instant data access, you can make smart, informed decisions every time.
  • Error Free Data: Automated data eliminates the errors that occur from illegible writing, typing mistakes, and laziness.

Improve the efficiency of your shop with automated data collection.

Automated Data Collection ROI

Automated data collection is essential to a successful business. In a study performed by Points North, a company discovered that they were spending approximately $243,000.00 a year to manually record production labor! And that number doesn’t even include the lost profit from errors and other related factors.

Automated data collection may seem like an unnecessary luxury, but the numbers say otherwise.

ECI Staff Contributors

About the Author

ECI Staff Contributors love to share their insights and expertise on a variety of topics including sales, marketing, cloud, ERP, and SMB development as well as on product specific education. With offices throughout the United States, Mexico, England, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand, more than 40 employees contribute to blog on a regular basis.