Organisations are always looking for ways to improve efficiency and thereby reducing costs. This is usually done by reducing the time involved in performing the steps in an important process such as the production of a product or service. By doing this the organisation will reduce the cost of producing their product or service and which can either be passed on to their customers or can be used to improve their profitability.
Most organisations now have a dedicated quality management function to ensure that the quality of their products or services meet the expectations of their customers in a dependable and repeatable fashion. The quality management function is an administrative function and while its profile has increased substantially it still must comply with the efficiency requirements of the organisation. One of the ways to improve efficiency is to replace time consuming paper-based or Excel based systems with a quality management software product and in particular a document control software system. Our preference is to do this with cloud-based software.
So what is cloud-based document control software and how can it save an organisation both time and money?
Cloud-based document control software is software that is hosted by the vendor on their servers and is then accessible over an Internet connection using a standard browser. This type of software is very quick to implement and to set-up when compared to more traditional document control systems.
The most obvious area where cloud-based software can save time and money is that it provides a secure location for holding and protecting important documentation and information. This is performed through various methods such as external storage, daily back-ups to a different geographical location and encryption of the documents and key information. Loss of data is traumatic and extremely costly to any organisation so knowing that information is safe is a very big time and money saver.
A second area is with the improvement of the control, communication, traceability and compliance of important quality management business processes. This is where important cost improvements are effected and these are:
Effective Information Management
Retrieving thousands of documents can be imperfect particularly when there are multiple versions of a document and only the latest version must be accessed. Cloud-based document control software ensures that management with the added benefit that it can be done from anywhere that has a connection to the cloud (also known as the Internet).
Speedy keyword search and retrieval
By using an electronic document control software system the process of retrieving and distributing documents is automatic. Keyword search will ensure that any document is quickly found based on the access rights for the document in the system. So a staff member without access rights to a document will not have that document listed in their search results.
The traditional process of approving documents can be troublesome. There are many shortcuts that can be taken including the releasing of an unapproved document. With cloud-based document control software there are no shortcuts possible and the approval process is simplified:
- The approvers are informed by email when a document requires approval
- The approval process can be performed securely from any location by logging in to their account
- Once approved the system immediately publishes the latest approved version and pushes the prior obsolete version into archive
Compliance with Regulations
When going through a regulatory audit, it is critically important to be able to demonstrate access to the most up-to-date document. If that document has prior versions it is also important to show “who” did “what” and “when” from the moment a change request was issued to when the updated changed document was sent for approval, approved and published. The activity or history record for that document must be comprehensive and demonstrate proof of accuracy. It is also important to demonstrate that the persons performing the actions are who they claim to be.
Most of the processes are easy to perform if there are only a few documents to control but when the amount of documents is in the thousands the process of controlling the documents becomes exponentially more complicated.
Cloud-based document control software solves all these issues seamlessly. In addition cloud-based document control software is easily within the budget of all small to medium businesses or enterprises and can be implemented in hours.