The second you mention “Document control”, many things might come to your mind for you to pay attention to. For some, it may sound boring and overwhelming, but document control is more important than you think. If you want to incorporate quality into your organization, you can do so with the proper document control. 

Document control, in other words, is creating order out of chaos. Did you know that nearly 8% of all paper documents get lost at some point in time? Even if all of your documents are online, there’s still potential for them to get lost due to data corruption, online attacks, and even when you forget where to store them. 

Let’s dive deeper into learning more about smart document management!

How does document control work?

Document control ensures that the validity and reliability of documents are used in business and operational teams. Typically, this involves checking if documents are updated and have undergone review and approval. Additionally, it also means that all of your records of activities are verified regarding their modification and creation. 

Creating and developing standards in document review, approval and creation are highly important parts of document control. Of course, document control depends on the volume of documents and data involved and the size of your organization. In many cases, document control is an additional task for staff members and a dedicated role for many people. 

Furthermore, when it comes to smart document management, we need to focus on three important factors: 

  • Authorization management: Make sure you overlook who can open and edit your files and who can’t. 
  • Version control: Ensuring that the document is always updated to the current version 
  • File management: How are documents organized and easy to find when employees are looking for them? 

In short, smart document management should follow the following guidelines: 

  • Should solve and address the problem 
  • All parties responsible for the document management process should be involved 
  • Always remain vigilant and practice continuous improvements 

Online tools can help with smart document management 

There are plenty of online tools available that can help you with smart document management. As of now, there are more than 2.5 trillion PDF documents being used worldwide. Therefore, PDF files are most commonly used and might take up most of your space within your organization. 

For instance, you can use online tools to merge PDF files to reduce the amount of space you take up. Most PDF mergers have the same procedure for combining PDF files: 

  • You drag and drop your PDFs into the PDF combiner 
  • You rearrange your files in the order you desire 
  • You can add or delete more files as required 
  • In the end, you click “Merge PDF” to combine your PDFs 

When two PDF files are combined, the document will act as one, so this will be better for your document management process. 

Why is smart document management is important?

Initially, you need to carefully analyze your documents and make sure that they don’t contain any incorrect, or inaccurate information and procedures that can affect the quality of your organization’s services.

After, risk avoidance is an essential part of document generation. Unnecessary risk can lead to a cost in material, workforce, and time you need for reducing errors from incorrect information. In more risky industries, such as the construction industry, it’s a measure for ensuring the employee’s safety. 

Document control has become an essential part of a successful business for ensuring compliance with any external quality certification like the ISO (International Organization for Standardization)

ISO has set a few rules on organizations for document management that are required for a quality management system. Clause 7.5 states that records are special documents and need to be reviewed. 

ISO requires organizations to create a documented procedure for the following: 

  • Approving documents free of faults 
  • Reviewing documents and checking if they need any updates 
  • Identify any changes that need to be made 
  • Identify all external documents and monitor their distribution 
  • Prevent documents from being used unintentionally 

To entirely review your ISO compliance, you can try and check the ISO 9001 document control. Some of the largest productivity losses because of manual document management are: 

  • The amount of time-consumed because of manually managing documents 
  • Having to spend too much time signing contracts 
  • Reduced productivity levels because of human error 
  • Risk of losing files through email communication or miscommunication 
  • The amount of time lost in preparing the document 

How smart document management impacts the Workplace 

Smart document management offers many advantages for an organization and they are: 

  • Better access to information: Remote access saves the day if you include the approval process for your documents. 
  • Easier to track and locate documents: Indexing and search filters allow you to locate and track documents whenever you need them the most. Having to go through thousands of paper documents or unorganized online files is time-consuming, especially when you are working a 9-5 job. 
  • Increases productivity levels: with large amounts of information available, data analysis can be conducted much faster and easier. It minimizes the chances of lost documents and physical absence. 
  • Reduces operational costs: Going fully digital with document management can not only save you money on not having to spend on paper, ink, copy machines, but also even storage space on your desktops. 
  • Improved response times: The speed at which you can find any document is not only time-efficient for you, but also for customer service purposes. Whenever customers ask for a file, you’ll find it more rapidly compared to if you didn’t properly manage your documents. 

The documents that need smart document management 

Each type of document is different, but the truth is that each document has its own standards and differs in several aspects of business operational areas: 

  • Revised documents 
  • Contracts 
  • Any type of legal document 
  • Qualification and validation documents 
  • All documents containing client records 
  • Manuals 
  • Standard policies
  • Operating procedure documents
  • Specifications regarding the product or service

The type of tasks smart document management includes 

The document control management procedure and tasks include six important steps. We will go through all of them on a deep level: 

  • Version control: manages different versions of documents and ensures that the latest version is used in all groups and organizations. This includes keeping records of when, how and why the document was created. Throughout time, updates and revisions should be conducted and let’s not forget that each version should have a unique ID number. You also have to add data regarding who approved and made the revisions. Overall, version control is an essential part of project management and involves a large amount of data where many reviews are made throughout the project. 
  • The review process: After a document is finalized, either during the first phase or in the later stages, the document must be reviewed for quality checks and to see if it meets all compliance standards. Standard review processes prevent delays and help you avoid any confusion. 
  • The revision process: Revision must be completed through each stage of the document. Each time the document is updated, a revision must be conducted the same way it was when the original document was created. 
  • Approval stage: The document is approved by authorities within the project or organization. If not, it can’t be considered valid. Therefore, it’s the reason user management and role setup are vital. For an additional layer of security, you can only grant authorized access only to special users for viewing and editing the documents. 
  • The distribution stage: All parties have to be given a copy of the reviewed version. The distribution timeline is just as vital as the document’s content. 
  • Ruling out older versions: Having online documents is easy, but let’s not forget that you need a smart document controller that will ensure only the latest versions are available. Older versions can be used for reference, but shouldn’t be used for stored reference. 

Closing Thoughts on Smart Document Management

Smart document management is highly important for your organization if you want to stay organized and reduce unnecessary time consumption. Most organizations are turning to a digital world and keeping their important files online, but there are still some organizations that follow physical document management. 

The good news is that smart document management is here to help and eliminate all of the unnecessary problems many organizations face each day. After all, what worse feeling is there than not being able to find your files, or having a bunch of unorganized files?