In most manufacturing environments, quality management represents a significant component of the operational effort because of the need to ensure that processes and procedures are well documented, reliable and predictable.
Some industries are subject to more stringent regulatory requirements than others. One such example is the manufacturing of children’s clothes, where manufacturers need to comply with regulatory demands that ensure their products are safe for children to wear. Control over information — whether in a design, a proposal, a contract, a spreadsheet or even an email — is an important aspect of maintaining the quality and reliability of business processes because a decision based on incorrect or outdated information can prove to be costly.
A common culprit contributing to organizational content chaos is the use of email as a de facto system for document control. When employees use email to manage and store design, production and sales information, document control issues will inevitably arise. Most people simply don’t realize that the “attach” button in their email actually means “copy…times the amount of people in the ‘recipient’ field.”
Hannu Herckman, IT Manager at Reima, which is Northern Europe’s leading manufacturer of children’s clothes, knew something had to change when the over-reliance on email and shared network folders by the company’s employees was making it nearly impossible to effectively manage and control design files, technical documents, invoices and other vital information. It’s easy to imagine the difficulty in finding the latest “for approval” design when several versions of it exist in shared network folders and staff inboxes. When incorrect versions of product designs, requirement documents, bills of materials, requests for information and proposals are used, quality issues are the result, which was the case for Reima when more and more errors began making their way into the company’s production processes.
Reima deployed M-Files in the summer of 2010, and within a short time, design and product managers were able to more effectively manage and collaborate on design documentation, and still use their email in order to refer to documents or designs – but not by attaching the document to an email, but rather by linking to the same document residing in a single repository. M-Files ensures there is always only one version of each document and that no one can make changes to it while another colleague is also working on it. In addition, a full history of each document is maintained automatically in M-Files, with the ability to roll-back to previous versions when needed.
M-Files also empowered Reima to administrate automated workflows to support and formalize document review and approval processes for designs, purchase orders and standard operating procedures (SOPs), which provided the company with a much higher level of control over how their manufacturing information is managed.
Learn more about how Reima is leveraging M-Files as their document control and information control solution in this detailed case study.