Automating Your Document Control Procedures
With an automated document control software program, you can control each and every document used in your business with ease. From important and highly confidential contracts to everyday job tasks, memos, procedures and any other documents that may be used at any given time, a good document system allows you to manage documents reliably. Some of the steps that need to be taken to ensure effective automation include the following:
- Step 1: Document Creation. Creating documents is the first step in the document management process, and this step becomes far simpler when the process is automated. Once you start to create and approve documents with the help of your software system, the process becomes faster and more streamlined with minimal room for error. Each document that is created is assigned a workflow and user access rights. For example, if you only want your CFO to approve certain documents, their user permission level will be set to that of an approver. Another senior employee meanwhile may require access to documents and edit them. While a whole slew of employees will just require to read documents. These permission rules ensure a greater level of security with confidential documents being far better protected.
- Step 2: Document Management. Next up comes the various other aspects of the management process – routing, reviewing and approving documents. The aim of these tools is to make life simpler, and when it comes to managing your documents, this is exactly what happens. Once documents are created, they can be automatically routed to those employees responsible for review and approval, to ensure that no document is sent out without final approval. This makes it easier to deal with important paperwork correctly without any mistakes or accidental distribution before proper signoff. When needed, documents can also be delegated to a replacement employee when a certain member of the team is on leave or off sick. Deadlines can be met more easily, which makes life better for all involved, from clients to employees.
- Step 3: Document Integration. Integrating your documents with various other functions such as competency testing, audits and quality management is the next step in the automation process. This allows you to link all of your quality tools for even more ease of use – employee training can be done in a way that is visible and easily tracked, audits have more transparency and less room for human error and new processes and procedures can be created, reviewed and approved quickly and simply. Thanks to additional tools such as version control, you can keep track of each version of any given document, to ensure that only the most recent version is ever distributed. Once your system has been integrated within your quality strategies, the automation process comes in handy yet again to ensure that all initiatives are clearly recorded and tracked. Reporting functionalities make it simpler to see any competency or quality gaps, while user access levels once again help to maintain data security at all times.
- Step 4: Document Workflow. By now, you should start to see how the automation process works. The final step to achieving complete automation is dealing with change requests and document workflow. Often, changes are required long after any document has been created, reviewed and approved. By including a process for change requests into your integrated quality system, all changes will be tracked and a smoother workflow will be achieved. Older document versions are archived, multiple change requests are granted within a single workflow and all changes follow the process that is set by your company.
While there is no doubt that document control is meant to ensure a secure, simple way of managing data, the automation of these tools goes beyond these benefits to add even more value to business operations, ensuring a smarter, more reliable way to control your company’s precious information.