Learn how you can implement Enterprise Content Management and Advanced Data Capture solutions to help address the unique challenges in Manufacturing Operations.

Managing Complexity

Manufacturing enterprises are complex, and manufacturers must operate as lean as possible to drive profits, revenue and growth. Between changing regulations and an intricate, global supply chain, you need solutions that are flexible, easy to manage and offer visibility and control over the information that drives your business and applications.

To succeed, you need to:

  • Identify process breakdowns and bottlenecks in productivity
  • Optimize processes and reduce costs
  • Manage complex and overlapping data and systems
  • Make sure employees and business processes are always in compliance with internal standards and external regulations

Traditionally, most companies operated with a convenient dichotomy between data management and content management. If this divide ever made sense, it doesn’t any longer. The complex challenges of today’s manufacturing enterprise require a single comprehensive and intelligent information management for both data and content management.

Improve Productivity and Automate Processes

The manufacturing enterprise has a wide range of systems that create, leverage and store data, from ERPs to human resources systems such as Lawson, PeopleSoft, and SAP. An Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system bridges the gap between business processes and other systems to manage unstructured data and content. An ECM system provides a unified platform for all content and data across the manufacturing enterprise.

Easy to learn, modify, and maintain, ECM is perfect for organizing product data, processing invoices, and managing employee information. It is critical for an ECM system to be able to provide seamless integration with ERP and other business systems in the manufacturing organization, and provide users in any department with an immediate and direct connection to the content they need when they need it to improve business processes.

ECM solutions enable managers to map and automate complex business process to speed and enhance processing times enterprise-wide, including project management, financial and procurement services, human resources, compliance and many other areas. Complex manufacturing enterprises require visibility and control.

Increased productivity, faster customer service and reduced overhead are just some of the ways ECM systems deliver a solid return on investment to manufacturers. With alerts to notify managers when a business process needs their attention, they have the ability to access their information immediately and forward approvals through the workflow with little delay.

Connect and Streamline Departments

ECM solutions scale for any department, enabling manufacturing organizations to reduce reliance on manual, paper-based processes, saving time and money. This allows employees to focus on important tasks, like delivering excellent service. Intelligent workflows and customized automation speed interdepartmental processing, improves decision-making, and empowers departments and offices to share critical information.

Accounting & Finance

Slow and error-prone manual processes, ERP systems that aren’t optimized, a lack of visibility into data – these aren’t just problems that pop up in the accounting department, they extend across all financial process chains, including procure-to-pay, order-to-cash and record-to-report.

Implementing solutions that provide automation across all these processes increases collaboration, connects key stakeholders to powerful data insights and helps build stronger relationships with suppliers and customers. With optimized productivity, reduced costs, and up-to-date audit trails, your business will have the power to make the continuous process improvements that lead to sustained growth.

Typical Solutions:

  • Accounts Payable
  • Invoice Processing
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Requisition Approval

Procurement & Purchasing

Purposeful enterprise content management can make it easy for your organization to compile, manage and track vendor documentation. All information is securely stored, providing users with immediate access to information when needed.

Replacing paper-based processes with automated document and data capture can expedite invoice and PO approval, allowing your organization to take advantage of early payment vendor discounts. You can also track any required documentation and allow users to quickly run reports to see what information is missing across your entire supply chain.

Typical Solutions:

  • Contract Management
  • Requisition Approval
  • Vendor Portal
  • Vendor Review & Selection

Logistics & Supply Chain

ECM can reduce or eliminate manual processing, speeding the vendor review and selection process. By allowing users to manage related information across the supply chain, ECM solutions enable benchmarking activities that strengthen the process with increased speed and accuracy.

Portal solutions can also be implemented, providing vendors with instant access to needed information like order forms, records of previous transactions and images of shipping labels. With one place for vendors to find everything they need, employees have more time to focus on strengthening important vendor relationships.

Typical Solutions:

  • Vendor Portal Solutions
  • Vendor Review and Selection

Human Resources

From recruiting and onboarding, to payroll and employee records management, enterprise content management solutions can help manage important and sensitive documents and processes, so that Human Resources professionals can focus on employees and their career aspirations, not paper.

With ECM, employee information is securely stored in one place and can automatically identify missing documents. You can retain information for the proper period of time and purge documents when they are no longer needed. You can also achieve outcomes through clear goal-setting and the monitoring of performance objectives, speeding reviews and ensuring employees meet company-wide targets.

Typical Solutions:

  • Benefits Management
  • Employee On-boarding / Off-boarding
  • Employee File Management
  • Payroll
  • Performance Management

Governance, Risk, & Compliance

Secure and scalable enterprise content management solutions help manufacturers and businesses satisfy the requirements of federal, state and local mandates, and automatically control document retention policies. These features also allow you to easily facilitate audits and other compliance requirements, mitigating risks to increase your profitability.

Users can securely create, store, and even digitally sign contracts within the system. Automatic alerts can notify users of upcoming contract renewals, preventing contracts from lapsing or automatically renewing without being reviewed or renegotiated. Retention policy management can automatically archive historical documents to maximize and reduce unnecessary storage.

Typical Solutions:

  • Compliance Policy Management
  • Contract Processing
  • eDiscovery
  • Retention Management


Enterprise content management also improves operational efficiencies by streamlining the management of facilities, assets, policies and procedures and compliance documents, as well as environmental, health and safety information. The ECM system stores documents, related content and data – such as CAD drawings, safety procedures, photos and videos – in a central repository, providing users with instant access to the information they need.

With an ECM system, your manufacturing organization can also rapidly distribute and track required reading documents to needed employees, supporting audit reading compliance for legal, regulatory and training purposes.

Typical Solutions:

  • Asset Maintenance
  • Bills of Lading
  • Compliance Management
  • Change Management
  • Environmental Health
  • Safety Management

From Theory to Practice

ECM systems are being used by thousands of organizations all over the world to help automate and improve content based workflows and business processes, including many United States based manufacturing companies. Manufacturing organizations in particular stand to benefit from automating labor-intensive workflows related to order fulfillment, order processing, invoice processing, and other paper based requisition workflows. Let’s dive deeper into three areas of a manufacturing organization – Financial Process Automation, Human Resources and Bills of Lading.

Automate Financial Processes to Save Time and Money

In Accounts Payable departments –  invoice coding, approvals, and payment processing workflows – can create real problems for manufacturing operations. When parts aren’t ordered because invoices aren’t paid, products can’t be assembled and sold. That’s why many manufacturing companies automate their invoice processing workflows to speed procurement and reduce errors related to human data entry.

For example, Advanced Data Capture ECM solutions can provide many efficiencies and transparency into the invoice processing workflow. Data entry is minimized with direct integration of data into your ERP or accounting software, and physical invoices are never lost. With an ECM system, manufacturing companies are able to simplify invoice capture, coding, and approvals.

A New Vision for Employee Files and Onboarding

The manufacturing workforce is shrinking while the demand is growing for employees in all areas and the competition to fill those positions is fierce. Whether the task at hand is recruiting, retention, learning, benefits, regulatory compliance or other critical employee-focused processes, Human Resources (HR) today manages more complexity than it ever has.

As a human resources professional in a manufacturing organization, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when juggling recruiting processes, payroll inquiries and numerous other tasks. Imagine how that would change if you could minimize paperwork while improving the employee’s work experience.

Enterprise content management systems integrate with an organization’s human capital management (HCM) systems, allowing HR staff to retrieve employee documents and data without leaving their familiar interface. By offering instant access to content within the HCM applications, ECM solutions can:

  • Minimize user training requirements
  • Enable HR to provide better service by rapidly responding to employee requests
  • Allows personnel to focus on high-value initiatives like employee retention and professional development

A Smarter Way to handle Bills of Lading

A bill of lading (BOL) is one of the most important documents in manufacturing organizations. It serves three primary purposes: acts as a receipt for shipment, evidences the contract of carriage and serves as a document of title. A BOL contains all the details needed to process the movement of goods and invoice those goods correctly.

For example, with the Hyland Brainware Intelligent Capture for Bills of Lading solution, processing BOLs can be more efficient and integrated with accounting processes. This solution eliminates manual data entry by automatically extracting, classifying and validating BOL data against your core systems. The results?

  • Process more BOLs with fewer errors and at a lower cost
  • Generate invoices faster and shorten the time to revenue collection
  • Improve on-time shipments with higher throughput and fewer mistakes
  • Engage your employees in more value-add tasks beyond manual data entry\

Features for Automation

Automate Business Workflows

Create workflow solutions that streamline document-centric tasks. With a single click, your staff completes processing activities, answers inquiries and resolves discrepancies in real time.

Make Better Decisions

Remove obstacles to effective decision-making by electronically accessing documents at the point of need. Double-check the accuracy of transaction information or collaborate with colleagues using simultaneous document views, all while maintaining proper security levels.

Maximize ROI

RPI delivers a solution unmatched in affordability and scalability, ensuring a high return on investment for your document management and workflow solution.

Integrate all your Business Applications

ECM process and content management solutions integrate seamlessly with core and legacy applications.

Intelligent Data Capture

Brainware Intelligent Capture accurately sorts scanned and electronic invoices, remittances and orders. Then it extracts and validates data.

Leverage Existing Infrastructure

ECM systems effectively leverage your existing investment in applications, operating system, and database and networking infrastructure to ensure data is available when you need it.

Maintain Enterprise Knowledge

With changing workforce, knowledge management is a key part of an organization’s success. An ECM system retains the collective knowledge of staff members.

Be Independent

RPI Consultants ensures you are educated about your implementation, empowered to leverage your investment, and free from expensive service commitments.

About RPI Consultants

RPI Consultants is a leading ERP and ECM professional services organization with over 18 years of experience designing, implementing, and supporting Infor Lawson, PeopleSoft, Perceptive Content, Koufax advanced data capture products, OnBase by Hyland, and Brainware by Hyland. RPI employs approximately 100 full time consultants, developers, and solution and technical architects with tremendous experience across many industries and solutions. RPI is based out of Baltimore, MD, with additional permanent offices in Tampa, FL, and Kansas City, MO.

RPI’s Imaging Strategy & Technical Services (ISTS) practice is focused on providing ECM solutions. ISTS is made up of consultants and developers that have direct experience with Perceptive Content, Kofax, OnBase by Hyland, and Brainware by Hyland. The ISTS team represents the only independent consulting organization with over a decade of Perceptive Content (formerly ImageNow) experience. RPI provides professional services for new installations and upgrades, existing solution health checks, new solution design and implementation, and custom integrations. RPI is also a licensed reseller of Perceptive Content, Kofax, and Hyland products, including OnBase and Brainware.

For more information about RPI Consultants, including professional services, license requests, and general inquiries, visit www.RPIC.com.

About the Author

Jim Fall | RPI Consultants Senior Account Executive

Jim has 20+ year experience in working with manufacturing enterprises worldwide to improve business, engineering and manufacturing operations with PLM, Industrial Automation, ECM and ERP solutions. He brings a unique mix of business planning and technical expertise to helping manufacturing enterprises excel.