Manufacturing is currently riding a wave of super growth. In the US alone, the giant industry generates $2.3 trillion in GDP and employs 12 million people. Growth rates have tripled this year compared to the last five years. And manufacturers have added about 1.43 million jobs so far in 2022, a net gain of 67,000 workers compared to pre-pandemic levels.
In other words, the industry is experiencing a remarkable rebound.
Manufacturing’s resurgence is due to a combination of factors. Externally, global supply chain issues and changing consumer demand have shifted priorities in the industry, shaping a very different future to the one not so long ago. Manufacturing as a sector is also evolving. What it creates is very different to a decade or so ago. Think technology-powered pharmaceutical plants, modern craft breweries, and alternative food and dairy factories. Together, these changes have paved the way for manufacturing’s growth. And the main challenge? How manufacturers can keep up with the pace and effectively scale their enterprise for the modern future.
Much of the solution lies in technology. It is crucial for the manufacturing sector to innovate and upgrade their tech stack if they are to continue to grow. That’s why, in this ebook, we’ll explore a visitor management system (VMS) as an important staple in your technology solutions, including how it can modernize manufacturing and help you prepare your facilities for the future.
Keep on reading to learn:
What is a visitor management system?
A visitor management system (VMS) is an intuitive solution that tracks visitors who enter any of your facilities, sites, or workplaces. This is essential for manufacturing enterprises who need to keep track of who comes and goes onsite, especially for compliance and security purposes. With a visitor management system, not only can you record who the person is, but also what type of visitor they are, when they arrived, and how often they visit . You can also collect all the information you need ahead of time. For some manufacturers, this might simply be a new general contractor’s name. For others, it might be their name, a signed NDA, and a scanned copy of their passport.
Manufacturing is an industry that’s been slower to innovate and digitize than others. Many processes across factories and plants are inconvenient and hard to maintain. With a visitor management system, you’re able to upgrade the welcome experience from clunky, pen and paper sign-in methods to a sleek, digital experience. You can streamline every sign-in across your factories, plants, and HQ offices, and ensure each location supports varying regulations and security requirements worldwide.
How will a visitor management system work in your facility?
It can be difficult to envision how to switch from your current, manual system to a more automated VMS. To help you, we’ve put together a timeline of how your visitors will interact with your visitor management system when they arrive at your site.
Step 1: Invite your visitor to your facility
When you invite a visitor through your VMS, it will automatically notify them and send them an email with the information they need. This might include directions to your facility, a pre-registration link, or detailed safety requirements they must meet while onsite. You can also send documents for each visitor to sign ahead of time. This helps speed up the sign-in process when they arrive while also avoiding messy pen and paper processes.
Step 2: Ask your visitor to sign in on a tablet or computer onsite
When your visitor arrives at your factory, plant, or site, they will enter the required information that you set up in your sign-in flow. You can customize your sign-in flow depending on who’s checking in. For example, you might customize your sign-in to prompt visitors to supply their country of citizenship to be compliant with ITAR regulations. You might also want them to confirm they’ve watched a safety video to be compliant with OSHA regulations. With each sign-in, your visitor management system will store and back-up the data so you can easily export it when you need to.
Step 3: Notify relevant people about their visitor’s arrival
Whether it’s a worker in your factory or someone in the office, your visitor management system will automatically alert the correct person that their visitor has arrived. This will be a notification by email, text, or via an app. By automating this process, the right person at your enterprise will be able to greet their visitor in no time, ensuring they are always safe, secure, and where they’re supposed to be in your facility.
Always be on top of security
Manufacturing plants often have proprietary information, sensitive materials, and private documents that must be kept away from unsavory visitors, so it’s important to have the right safety measures in place. With a VMS, employee registration, visitor screening, and security alerts happen instantly and discreetly in the background. This means that you can keep your facilities and workplaces safe at all times, and also get notified instantly of visitors who appear on watch lists or scan an invalid ID.
1. How to embrace smart visitor management solutions–and ditch your old legacy systems
Some manufacturing enterprises are late to the game when it comes to digital technology investment–at least when it comes to building security and visitor management. While so much focus has been on innovating manufacturing with machinery in place of human labor, a large portion of legacy systems have been left alone and ignored. The result? An inflexible, outdated, and overly costly set of systems and solutions that are now hindering manufacturing’s growth.
In this chapter, we’ll run over how to upgrade from your legacy systems to a visitor management solution and how a visitor management system will help modernize your business. Let’s get started.
The problem with legacy systems
A legacy system is an outdated piece of software or hardware that is still in use, but no longer allows for growth or integration with newer systems. It’s called a legacy system because it’s a system that your business has likely used for a while and is very comfortable with as a result.
For manufacturing companies, this might be pen and paper sign-in at the front desk to track important visitors and vendors. Or it could be clunky access control methods that don’t talk to any of your other security systems. Here are a few reasons why sticking with your legacy systems will weigh you down in today’s digital era. Legacy systems are:
1. Unable to securely store data
Still using pen and paper visitor log books? What if you need to find a record of a sign-in or create a report of the frequency of check-ins throughout the week? With legacy systems, secure storage of data is either impossible or takes up huge amounts of room on hard drives.
2. Hard to configure
Older systems don’t allow configuration at a regional level. This means that as you grow your company grows, you might miss varying and changing regulations that you need to stay on top of. This increases the risk across each of your global workplace locations.
3. Impossible to integrate and update
It’s all well and good upgrading to newer systems and features, but if you can’t integrate it with your main operating system then it can prove difficult to maintain.
4. Cumbersome to operate
Legacy systems are manual systems, which mean that no part of the process is automated. This can lead to issues related to human error down the line, and can be overly cumbersome for people to use compared to newer technology.
5. Limited in functionality
Legacy systems are often limited in functionality because they are built to only solve one problem. Now, smart all-in-one platforms offer many features that can help several areas of your business.
How a visitor management system can help modernize your operation
So now that you’re aware of the problems with legacy systems, let’s explore how a visitor management system can help modernize your operation. A VMS can:
1. Automate repetitive tasks
A visitor management system reduces tedious, manual tasks by automating them for your front desk and security staff. It saves them time by assisting them in different ways. For example, your visitor management system will automatically send emails to upcoming visitors with important information, like health and safety policies, pre-register invitation, or requesting information from them like their country of citizenship.
2. Streamline your operations
A visitor management system will streamline your paperwork process by digitizing it into one, easy sign-in flow. No more scrambling for documents or forgetting to ask visitors to sign-in when they reach the site. Using a visitor management system means you’ve covered everything you need to ahead of time, making the visitor experience more streamlined and efficient when they arrive.
3. Connect disconnected data
A visitor management system is a central system for all of your data, connecting and storing it securely in the cloud. This means that when you need to complete an audit, find information, or provide any kind of report, you can locate the data you need to with ease. What’s more, as you collect more data in one location, your visitor management system will offer visibility on trends. This helps you to analyze and make more informed decisions about the future.
A visitor management system goes beyond a simple sign-in on an iPad. It acts as the central system you need to connect all of your locations, data, and people. No matter if your business is an international factory, working office, or multiple large-scale plants, a visitor management solution means that you can build your brand, customize what you need, and ensure your operations are automated and slick for everyone.
In this chapter, we’ve covered why operations are so important to upgrade and how a visitor management solution can help you achieve that.
Now we’ll cover how a visitor management solution will help you be compliant in a world of so much regulatory change.
2. How to be compliant and improve your regulatory readiness
Every organization, no matter the size, has federal, state, or local laws and regulations that they need to meet. For manufacturing, being on top of compliance and regulation is crucial. Particularly because different office and warehouse locations mean there are more rules to adhere to. In fact, since 1981, the federal government has issued an average of one new, manufacturing-related regulation each week.
With such a sheer volume of new rules, regulations, and policies to keep on top of, it’s no surprise that manufacturers are finding it difficult to focus on growth opportunities. But don’t fret. In this chapter, we’ll cover exactly how you can stay on top of regulations and compliance with the help of a visitor management solution. The outcome? Some much-needed time and space to focus on scaling your company, not just running it.
Top compliance standards on manufacturing’s radar
It’s impossible to list every compliance and regulation that may affect the manufacturing industry. One health and safety procedure might be standard in the US, but not in other plants and sites across the world. Staying compliant to an international mindmap of regulations, laws, and policies is overwhelming.
To help, here is a list of the five top compliance standards that should be on your radar.
- ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) – ITAR helps ensure that defense-related technology doesn’t get in the wrong hands. If your manufacturing company deals with defense-related services, products, or technical data, you’re most likely familiar with this compliance standard.
- GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) – GDPR is a personal data privacy regulation from the European Union. If you have a location in the EU, provide goods or services in the EU, or employ any EU citizens then this regulation is important to you.
- CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) – The CCPA is a regulation designed to give consumers in California more control over their personal information. This includes what your manufacturing business stores about them and how it’s used, sold, and shared. They also have the right to request deletion of information and opt out of you selling their data on.
- OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) – OSHA is a regulation that falls under environmental health and safety (EHS). It ensures that manufacturers guarantee a safe, working environment for their employees and visitors. This includes watching safety videos, carrying out health and safety training, and wearing protective equipment.
- GMP (Goods and Manufacturing Practices) – GMP is a regulation that controls the way manufacturers’ produce goods. It ensures businesses are consistent and adhering to strict quality standards in the country they operate in.
- Did you know? Despite the regulation coming into effect in 2020, only 11% of companies currently comply with CCPA regulations in California.
6 ways a visitor management system helps manufacturers be compliant
A visitor management system might be the surprising hero of your regulatory ails, but it’s a hero nonetheless. If the above compliance standards have you sweating, we got you! Here are six ways a visitor management solution can help you be compliant.
1. Ask visitors for their data consent–always
With a visitor management system, you can allow visitors to opt-out of data storage when they sign in. If a visitor doesn’t consent to data collection, you can offer them an alternative way to sign in. You will also be able to inform each visitor about how their data is used by displaying your data policies directly within the sign-in flow.
2. Store and track data
Part of being compliant means you must have a way of securely storing, accessing, and transmitting data. That includes any type of personal data the owner has legal privacy rights over, such as their name, address, email, and billing information. To ensure your manufacturing enterprise is compliant, you’ll need to secure your files and data with a visitor management system. How does it work? A visitor management system will integrate with your chosen file storage software and work together to collect, store, track, and transmit all the data you need.
3. Request documents ahead of time
As part of your visitor management policy, it’s likely you’ll need visitors to sign legal agreements and provide personal information before they arrive at your facility. Maybe that’s an ID scan, a background check, or signing an NDA. Whatever it is, you can use your visitor management system to request signatures and collect (and store) the documents you need ahead of time.
4. Customize sign-in for every visitor type
Whether it’s clients and customers to your HQ offices or contractors to your factories, it’s likely that you’ll need different information for each visitor type to remain compliant. Your visitor management system will enable you to customize your pre-registration and sign-in flow to send and receive what you need. This could be signed contracts, passports, legal documents, and more.
5. Send safety videos for visitors to watch
Manufacturing is an industry that has tons of health and safety regulations. And it can be a costly mistake to cut corners–for your business and for the safety of your workers. As part of OSHA and other health and safety regulations, you can automate and send safety videos and training before each visitor arrives. That way, you can be sure they have completed it before their arrival and are not tempted to skip any compliance steps on the day.
6. Access backed-up records for upcoming audits
A visitor management system can help you by maintaining a compliant visitor log book. With a visitor management system, you can easily and reliably store detailed reports to assist with audits, security protocols, and on-premise visitor controls. That means that then when an audit comes about, you don’t have to scramble. Instead, you’re prepared with all the information you need.
Cutting corners on compliance is risky business. It’s also unnecessary. With the help of a visitor management system, you can keep on top of your compliance with ease. You can transform a clunky and monotonous task into a streamlined and automated process. This will help to protect your organization, workers, and visitors as you grow.
In the next chapter, we’ll do a deep dive into the features of a visitor management system and how it can help your manufacturing enterprise.
3. 9 features of your visitor management system that will secure your facilities
Okay, so far we’ve covered how a visitor management system can automate tasks, store data, streamline operations, customize sign-in flows, and loads more.
One extra superpower of a visitor management system is its ability to secure your physical spaces. In this chapter, we’ll explore the benefits of a visitor management system when it comes to securing your facilities. We will also outline the features to look out for in a visitor management system when shopping for security.
How can a visitor management system improve your building security?
A crucial aspect of running a successful manufacturing facility is undoubtedly maintaining a secure premise. This includes security for your workers, machines and equipment, IP, and products and goods. But unlike other industries, your assets don’t neatly fit into one, single office location. For manufacturing, it’s often a little messier–people move between facilities, factories, and offices more often. There’s therefore more to consider when it comes to the security of your people and business.
Before we dive into the features of your visitor management solution, here are some ways a VMS can help secure your facilities.
Integrates all aspects of your building security
A visitor management system can integrate with other aspects of your building security to provide a robust, protective layer across all of your sites. For example, you can connect your visitor management solution to your access control system to help ensure that only invited, welcome visitors are allowed on-site.
Provides real-time alerts and notifications
With a VMS, employee registration, visitor screening, and security alerts happen instantly and discreetly in the background. This helps you balance a welcoming feel for your visitors and a strong sense of security for your business and buildings. For example, your VMS will automatically notify hosts of visitors who appear on watch lists or scan an invalid ID.
Did you know? On average, customers who use Envoy report a 50% increase in workplace security.
Maintains a record of the comings and goings across all of your locations
A visitor management system paints a much-needed picture of what’s going on across all of your facilities, plants, or factories, including who’s onsite, when, and how often. Over time, this helps you get a sense of the happenings around each of your locations. For example, by knowing what times of day each of your facilities are busiest, you can make better decisions for your security, such as when to have more security staff onsite.
Scales alongside your manufacturing business
A visitor management system is a solution that can grow with you and your workforce. This might be adding new locations to your system, or rolling out security processes at new facilities when you open them. A visitor management system helps you monitor security in every location, all of the time.
9 visitor management features to uplevel your security
The above benefits sound great in theory. But what you really want to know is how do they do it. We’ve got you covered. Here are nine features of a visitor management system that will help you get the upper hand on your security.
To avoid security breaches, you can use your VMS to screen people before they visit your site. That includes scanning IDs, scanning against watchlists, and setting criteria, such as proof of vaccination or confirmation of safety training completion, before visitors arrive. In the event that someone doesn’t comply with your criteria, your VMS will automatically notify you so you can take action.
Security alerts happen instantly and in the background with a VMS. That means that if someone who is unauthorized to enter your facility does attempt to sign-in, your visitor management system will identify the threat and alert hosts and security personnel immediately.
Blocklists are fairly self-explanatory but a hugely important feature in your security set-up. With a VMS, add people to a blocklist to ensure they can’t enter any of your locations. The right parties will then be notified, including security personnel and people marked as hosts in your VMS.
Badges help with onsite security because it enables your security staff to identify and confirm that visitors are welcome. You can also customize your badges for different visitor types. For example, you might want blue badges for contractors and white badges for auditors so you can spot the difference.
Your visitor management system can integrate with your access control system for upleveled security. Types of access controls are QR codes, facial recognition, and touch ID to allow visitors access to different areas onsite. For manufacturing facilities, access control is an important feature to keep the right people in and out of your facilities.
Your VMS is an extension of your security staff. You can scan IDs ahead of time or when each visitor arrives. Your VMS will integrate with your existing blocklist to ensure each visitor is allowed onsite. You can also choose to set up other integrations such as background check software. Once each ID is scanned and verified, your VMS will store this data so you don’t need to check anything twice.
NDA and document signing
Whether it’s a NDA, a contract, or any other type of legal documentation, the days of signing pen to paper and storing it in your desk are long gone. A visitor management system will securely send and store any digital documents you need the visitor to sign before they arrive.
Integrations are potentially the most important feature of your visitor management system. They connect and work seamlessly with your existing tech to improve your security. Some example integrations include credential checks, emergency response, ID scanning and blocklists, secure WiFi, and background checks.
Your VMS offers real-time analytics across all of your locations and devices. It improves your overall security by enabling you to see important visitor trends. This includes who each visitor is, what time they visit, what time they leave, and how often they might come and go at any given time. With these insights, you can pull reports and send them to security staff for auditing, or simply to make smarter decisions around things like physical occupancy in each of your facilities.
Impressed? Great! So now that you know all of the benefits of a visitor management system, including how it works and all of the features to look for to uplevel your security, it’s time to get to it. Whether you are a pharmaceutical enterprise, construction organization, consumer goods company, or any other type of manufacturer, investing in a modern, compliant, and secure visitor management system is a crucial step to growing your business in the future
Visitor management: the key to modernizing your manufacturing enterprise
It’s an exciting time for manufacturing, that much is true. Automation and digitization sit at the forefront of the industry, but does it sit at the front desk of your facilities? By improving and upgrading your visitor management system, you won’t only be impressing the visitors who walk through your door. You will also:
- Innovate your operational processes to be more efficient, time-saving, and cost-effective
- Make it easy and pain-free to be compliant across different regulations globally
- Secure your enterprise from top to bottom, including physical security across all of your facilities, factories, plants, sites, and labs
- Position your business as a competitive, key player with a high-tech engine powering it towards a modern future
Are you ready to innovate and scale? Envoy’s visitor management system can help you modernize your manufacturing enterprise. Speak with one of our experts today to learn how you can upgrade from old and tired legacy systems and invest in an all-in-one solution that creates seamless and efficient experiences.