For years, experts have been saying that telecommuting—otherwise known as working from home—would be the “wave of the future.” However, few predicted the wave would rapidly crash into the real world so quickly to become the “new normal.”
A recent study showed about 20% of people said they worked from home prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. As of late 2021, 71% of workers were reportedly working from home. Another 54% said they would prefer to continue to work remotely after the pandemic recedes to an endemic. For most companies, this paradigm shift represents a challenge in terms of building a new tech infrastructure that evenly facilitates at least three modes of work—in-office, hybrid, and remote.
Of key importance is the role of information management platforms that leverage a new-normal sense of collaboration and communication—especially in companies with workers spread across far-flung nations and time zones. Steve Jobs once said, “Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.” But, to do “great things,” an organization requires “greater” communication and collaboration tools.
Facing the “anywhere/anytime” challenge
As American workers continue to spread out into remote teams, the importance and value of project collaboration can’t be overstated. Knowledge workers must be able to work together anywhere, anytime, and from virtually any device. A 2021 Gartner study estimated nearly 80% of workers used collaboration tools—an increase of more than 40% since Q1, 2020.
Along with this shift came new and daunting challenges. For example, workers reported being unable to access key documents due to a lack of collaborative, accessible document management systems. Not only were workers scattered, so were their documents and data. Or worse, workers were using the wrong versions of documents that could often be lost in a swamp of email attachments.
Addressing collaboration frustration
So, how do forward-facing companies address these challenges and get the best out of their remote and in-office workers? The answer begins with a superior information management platform.
Workers must be empowered to share information easily and securely, as well as to work together more productively. They can’t do that if crucial information is still trapped in data silos or sitting on a hard drive in an office somewhere.
The good news? Document management solutions like M-Files face and defeats new-normal challenges for remote workers. No matter where or what your team focuses their resources and time, all crucial data is stored in one centralized repository, so everyone has access to exactly what they need. The result? Improved communication with clients and each other.
Keeping clients in the know
The digital-first experience has long presented an opportunity for organizations to create more personalized client experiences. For example, if a client needs a document, your team must have a streamlined system in place to make retrieval simple and secure. Solutions like M-Files mitigate issues in these areas by making content available internally and externally—but only to those who need access. Advances like these are ultimately why collaboration has continued to rise over the previous two years, despite the massive disruption brought on by COVID-19. When you give people the resources they need to perform at their best, they will.
Your enterprise’s critical information may exist in different forms, such as paper, digital formats, office documents, and across multiple locations. Gathering and capturing the sheer volumes of information effectively and accurately from the deluge of organizational content is a tedious process, especially when it is done manually. To overcome these challenges, it is important for business leaders, like you, to streamline the process of data acquisition and information capture.
What Is Information Capture?
It is the process of capturing unstructured information from paper-based or digital documents and translating the same into structured data, readable by a digital device.
The first step in an organization’s digital transition starts with digitizing its paper-based processes. With the help of information capture software, you can streamline data management while replacing traditional paper-based forms.
Understanding with a Use Case
A financial institution can leverage an information capture tool to extract relevant details from a supporting document provided by the customer, such as identity proof. The software will automatically retrieve information, including name, address, contact details, etc. from the document. This helps minimize manual errors, boost employee productivity, and drastically reduce the time for account opening.
Business Benefits of Leveraging Information Capture Software
In the above example, it is evident that enterprises can maximize their organizational efficiency by using information capture software. Let us dive deep into some of the other business benefits of the software:
Reduction of operating costs through automation of document-intensive business processes, such as document handling, storage, and manual data entry
Resource optimization through automating time-consuming and error-prone manual tasks, including document classification, data separation, and data indexing
Faster document processing through concurrently performing bulk scans, classifications, image enhancements, and extractions
Furthermore, the information capture software can be advanced to the next level by combining data capture functionalities with content management, process automation, and workflow capabilities. It can unlock new avenues for enhanced data capture, efficient content management, smarter decision-making, and improved workforce productivity.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “TPM” (or total productive maintenance) many times throughout your maintenance career. As Greg Folts noted during his appearance on the Rooted in Reliability podcast, people may refer to TPM as shorthand for a number of different things. Often, people are referring only to autonomous maintenance when they mention it. In reality, developing an autonomous maintenance plan is just one pillar (and the most common starting point) of building a full TPM program for a facility.
TPM refers to putting processes and training in place so that everyone in a facility—from operations to plant maintenance to engineering—is contributing to maintenance. But what are the necessary steps for building an effective TPM program? Let’s look at each piece of the puzzle individually.
Total Productive Maintenance Pillars: Laying the foundation with 5S
Developed in the early 50s, Total Productive Maintenance is a program for increasing the efficiency of machines and processes, standing on eight TPM pillars with 5S as its foundation.
Before any of the eight pillars of TPM can be put in place, a “5S” foundation must be built. The purpose of laying this foundation is to introduce standardization and continuous improvement processes into every TPM activity.
Determine which items are used frequently and which are not. The ones used frequently should be kept close by, others should be stored further away.
Each item should have one place—and one place only—to be stored.
The workplace needs to be clean. Without it, problems will be more difficult to identify, and quality maintenance will be more difficult to perform.
The workplace should be standardized and labelled. This often means creating processes where none existed previously.
Efforts should be made to continually perform each of the other steps at all times.
Once each of the 5S actions has been established and is part of the facility culture, it’s time to move on to the eight pillars of TPM.
TPM Methodology: Building the TPM pillars
Pillar 1: Autonomous maintenance
Autonomous maintenance (also known as Jishu Hozen) refers to “the restoration and prevention of accelerated deterioration,” which involves cleaning equipment while inspecting it for deterioration or abnormalities, identifying and eliminating factors that contribute to deterioration, and establishing standards to clean, inspect, and lubricate an asset properly. The ultimate goal of autonomous maintenance is to make it part of the operators’ day-to-day job to properly care for their assets as a form of maintenance. This pillar allows maintenance teams to address the larger maintenance issues that deserve their full attention.
Pillar 2: Planned maintenance
Planned maintenance refers to setting up preventive maintenance activities based on metrics such as failure rates and time-based triggers. Planning these activities in advance allows a facility to care for an asset at a time that will not impact production so that uptime is maintained.
Pillar 3: Quality integration
This pillar involves integrating manufacturing performance, quality assurance, design error detection and prevention into the production process. The purpose of this pillar is to improve quality management by removing the root causes of defects and understanding why they occur.
Pillar 4: Focused improvement
The idea of focused improvement involves assembling cross-functional teams to address specific issues that are occurring with equipment maintenance and coming up with solutions that consider each team that interacts with that asset. Since the TPM process dictates that everyone in a facility should contribute to routine maintenance activities, it’s important to involve each functional area in problem-solving maintenance tasks so that everyone’s unique point of view is considered.
Pillar 5: New equipment management
This pillar uses the knowledge that is gained through each interaction maintenance personnel has with facility equipment to improve the design of new equipment and equipment reliability. This allows new equipment to perform better with fewer issues due to employee involvement that’s based on cross-functional knowledge. Overall equipment effectiveness is a common metric used to measure how well the facility is utilizing its equipment compared to its full potential.
Pillar 6: Training and education
The training and education pillar of TPM principles focuses on making sure the maintenance team has the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out TPM across an entire facility. As Greg Folts commented on the Rooted in Reliability podcast, TPM must be both cross-functionally and vertically integrated in order to be successful. Training and education place importance on managers understanding why a successful TPM program is important and filtering that knowledge down correctly.
Pillar 7: Safety, health, environment
Simply put, this pillar refers to building a safe and healthy facility environment and eliminating any conditions that could be risky or harmful to facility workers’ well-being. The goal of this pillar is to provide an accident-free workplace.
Pillar 8: Administrative TPM
This pillar involves encouraging people in administrative or supportive roles (such as purchasing) to apply TPM learnings and principles in their own work processes so that TPM implementation is truly cross-functional.
Implementing the foundation and pillars of TPM is a great start to early management, but an important reality of any successful TPM program is that it must be a continuous effort. Every level of employee, from personnel on the shop floor to upper management, must remain dedicated to the activities that make TPM possible.