Core Benefits

How Going Paperless Creates a Complete Audit Trail

Published October 24th, 2023

Digitized record-keeping can save you time and energy, reduce risk, and even win you valuable new business.

You likely already know that as a manufacturer, maintaining a consistent, detailed record of the work you perform is crucial. That information can offer insights into your operations, help you answer important questions, and preserve institutional knowledge as your business grows and changes.

But if you ask employees across almost any industry what their favorite part of the job is, documentation will probably be low on the list. Filling out logs and reports can feel like it takes time away from “real” work, and it’s difficult to see the benefits that kind of record-keeping produces in the short term.

Taking the metaphorical “paper trail” paperless make record-keeping a whole lot simpler. Software solutions like JobPack reduce the complexity of documentation and cut down on physical storage needs, while at the same time improving compliance and maintaining a detailed activity log.

That’s great news if you ever need to audit your operations—which might be part of your routine business strategy, or might be a step in the process of winning valuable government contracts. Here’s a closer look at how paperless operations, and the auditing they enable, can take your manufacturing business to the next level.

Robust audit trails open new, lucrative doors.

Contracts with the US government are a financial boon to manufacturing businesses, with 2022 topping $700 billion in government contract spending. A renewed policy focus on the American manufacturing industry suggests that total is set to increase in coming years.

However, manufacturers that want to work with the US government are subject to a certain amount of scrutiny. Government regulations are complex, stringent, and constantly evolving. Ensuring compliance can be a rigorous process, and audits are an expected part of that process, particularly for companies that are new to government contracts.

For contracts that fall under the Department of Defense, audits are typically conducted by the Defense Contract Audit Agency, or DCAA. Other government contracts may be audited by independent firms or internal groups. In either case, winning and maintaining a successful contract depends on a company’s business systems enabling secure and thorough record-keeping, to ensure that tax dollars are being spent as efficiently as possible.

Software tools like JobPack can help you build processes that satisfy government standards. Key aspects of business systems that auditors will check include timekeeping and labor tracking, procurement and expenses, and reporting. Going paperless helps you monitor all of them more efficiently.

Timekeeping and labor: JobPack’s scheduling and machine monitoring capabilities give you a complete, real-time view of your shop floor’s activity. See what work was being done at what times and in what locations, to enhance the accuracy of your timekeeping and labor records.

Costs and expenses: JobPack integrates with your ERP, so you can use scheduling data to more accurately predict costs, timelines, and contingencies. Leverage detailed information about job history and timing, machine capacity, and supply availability to help you develop estimates and proposals.

Reporting: Transparency is a key part of compliance. JobPack helps you automate or streamline the stickier parts of documentation, so that your business can enhance your regular reporting and demonstrate a track record of thoroughness.

When your company is under consideration for a government contract, it helps to show that you’ve planned ahead. Having robust systems in place for each of these aspects tells contract auditors that your company is serious about compliance.

Auditing your operations helps weed out bottlenecks.

There’s no question that automatically logging events in real time takes less effort than tracking activity in paper reports. On top of this, paper documents can go missing, get damaged, or just plain get lost. And if your documents contain any kind of sensitive information, storing them securely adds a whole other layer of complexity.

But software solutions like JobPack can make collecting that data simpler, and more than that, can make the information readily accessible to the people who need it. With performance data at your fingertips, it becomes much easier to analyze your processes for inefficiencies and bottlenecks. And with functions like JobPack’s what-if scheduling, you can use the insights you gain to test out new possibilities.

Limit your risk with detailed audit trails.

No business ever hopes to face a quality control issue. But errors happen, and the real gauge of a company’s resilience is how it deals with them. In the event that your manufacturing business identifies a problem with a product, a detailed audit trail can help you determine the cause, develop a solution, and streamline any recalls that might be necessary.

JobPack’s scheduler makes it easy to see which equipment worked on which jobs, and when. If a flaw can be traced back to a particular piece of equipment, or to a particular window of time, detailed scheduling information can help you figure out the scope of the problem and begin narrowing down a cause. Integration with your MES and your ERP can also help you track assets to and from the shop floor, which can give you clues to identify problems that originate upstream or downstream from your factory.

Audit trails are one more way JobPack gives you crucial visibility into your business.

Your processes are at the core of your manufacturing business—they’re some of your most important assets. But in the era of Industry 4.0, the limitations of paper-based processes are becoming more and more apparent.

Shifting to paperless lets you harness more information about your business processes, and use it to grow your company in new ways. At JobPack, we’re experts in making data work for you. For more information on going paperless and improving your audit capabilities with JobPack, contact us today.

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