Companies that manufacture or produce items for regulated industries often need to produce certificates that certify that the product was ‘made in accordance with engineering specifications’, or has certain dimensional accuracy by key measurements falling within specific design tolerances, or a product contains a certain quantity of chemicals for example.
There are many terms for these certificates (Certificate of Conformance, Certificate of Analysis, Mill Certs, Product Certificate etc.) but they all serve the same purpose: to indicate to the customer that the product is of high quality, meets their expectations and is compliant with regulatory requirements.
The problem with today’s paper certificates is that humans need to engage in multiple steps to manage them: authoring, printing, signing, scanning, storing, photocopying and finally including in the shipment to the customer.
Not only does this take up valuable human resources but all that time is non-value adding - it doesn’t enhance the product in any way. Furthermore, retrieving documents when requested and managing physical and digital storage can be difficult and costly.
And it doesn’t stop there. For all the effort that goes into authoring certificates, the customer has to repeat the tasks on their end - scanning, copying, storing, retrieving etc.
In today’s cloud and digital age, there has to be a better way.
Wouldn’t it be useful to have a cloud-based facility where, by entering the part, batch or serial number of a product, an authorized user could instantly retrieve the original digitally signed certificate?
This would lead to a complete elimination of the human process.
Furthermore, products could be shipped without this paper since the customer would immediately have access to the certificate - before the products were actually shipped.
This lends itself to virtual inspection of the certificates and the additional lead time to fix any certificate issues before the product even arrives - saving working capital by avoiding the product being tied up in quality/quarantine during the receiving process
Digitally producing and storing product certificates helps all three parties to a transaction (supplier/customer/regulator) improve their access and process efficiencies.
There are great efficiencies to be had in creating digital certificates. Together with our launch partner, AML Sheffield, we have calculated up to 86% manual process reduction.
CASE STUDY: AML Sheffield Inc.
AML Sheffield: An advanced manufacturer of high-precision aerospace parts
AML Produces a Product Certificate with machined product dimensions being recorded in-process via a CMM (Component Measuring Machine) device attached to their milling machines.
Today the CMM data is exported to an Excel file in .csv format where it is transformed into a Word document. This is then printed out and the operator signs the form certifying the part. Shipping makes a paper copy as well as a scan of the signed certificate. Those are then filed in Sharepoint and a physical filing system. The certificate is then placed in the box to be shipped with the parts.
We used Microsoft Flow to extract the .csv data from the CMM device and convert it to JSON formatted payload which was then sent to our CMM endpoint for processing. In Enspan, the data from the CMM device is transformed into AML’s PRoduct Certificate and made available via workflow to the operator for signature.
Once the document is signed, it is then stored with the part / serial / batch record which is available for the customer to view and download at any time. The customer can also ‘fetch’ the digital document using our API endpoint.
The digital document is always available, can never be lost or destroyed and is encrypted so that only authorized parties can access it. It remains part of the part record so that it can be retrieved in the case of a regulatory enquiry in the future. Furthermore, it is authenticated by blockchain so that it can never be tampered with and the end user can be certain of its provenance.
The result is the following: