By Joan Honig • April 11, 2019 at 6:08 PM

A third-generation family-owned company founded in 1953, Criterion Tool & Die Inc. in Brook Park, Ohio manufactures precise components for “no-failure allowed” sectors including the medical, airspace, and photonics industries. With its 32 employees, Criterion Tool & Die Inc. develops prototypes, builds and supplies parts for several hundred customers.

As per the “no-failure” requirement, components manufactured by Criterion Tool & Die products must work flawlessly once the devices are implanted in patients, installed in planes or in other equipment. Government regulations mandate that Criterion Tool & Die retain documentation for the lifetime of its products and instruments. The company also must produce documentation in a timely manner for audits. These requirements resulted in the accumulation of thousands of paper documents which were stored on-site. The high volume of paper made locating documents time-consuming and difficult.

Digital transformation saves staff time, paper usage and stress levels

Criterion Tool Group Part ShotAll the parts that Criterion Tool & Die Inc. ships are now entered into the DocuWare system. Every manufactured part becomes a record in the DocuWare archives, which includes the part’s dimensional drawings, copies of the inspection reports, certifications of the material and purchase orders.

“We were being buried alive by paper. We had boxes of documents everywhere, from the conference room to the ladies’ room,” explains Kellyanne Gottschalk, the company’s Marketing and IT Coordinator. “We are obligated to maintain our records for the lifetime of our products, so we had to find a better way to store them. DocuWare changed the dynamics of how we do things here.”

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How the document management system improves work lives

In addition to clearing the office space, the DocuWare solution tremendously decreased document retrieval time. Instead of locating boxes and then records within the boxes, information about parts can be retrieved nearly instantly. The company is saving approximately 10 working hours a week by being able to retrieve the files digitally.

The speed and convenience of the digital solution is particularly important during audits. Prior to DocuWare use, audit preparations took several hours, but now the documents can be found by inputting job numbers and retrieving the records. “The biggest time save is being able to pull the document instantly,” says Gottschalk. “Having the information available instantly also greatly reduced employee’s stress levels during audit-preparation time,” she adds. “We know the job number and we can just look them up and produce documents on demand right in front of the auditor.”

The company installed DocuWare workstations on its shop and office floors so that employees could be trained to retrieve records electronically. According to the company’s internal records, using DocuWare helped save 41 trees just this year and several hundred dollars in paper costs.