How does Document Control Help Businesses streamline their operations

Running a business might seem like a challenging task, as it has several moving parts that need to work correctly and effectively to bring the required results.

Document management is an indispensable part of every business – be it a small-medium scale or a large conglomerate. The larger the business, the more complex and streamlined the document management should be.

Documents communicate your business goals, procedures, and performance, and it is crucial to have a reliable document management system. Document management is not only a legal requirement. It also helps in increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of your organization. But, before we jump to the topic of document control automation, let’s dig deeper into document control, its importance, and its lifecycle.

Document Control Management

What is Document Control – An Introduction

Documentation is crucial to the success and efficiency of an organization, but what exactly is document control?

Complete Guide to Document Control Management

Document control is a set of procedures that an organization undertakes to ensure all documents are created, verified, reviewed, and distributed in an organized and controlled manner.

Document control is laying down certain practices that allow documents to be up-to-date, accurate, verified, and available for access at certain levels within the organization.

Document control oversees the creation, verification, and distribution of documents and their safety, access, storage, and compliance. Documents are a foundation for an organization’s credibility, integrity, and accountability.

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What is the meaning of a document controller?

Complete Guide to Document Control Management

A person responsible for the timely preparation and management of documents is a document controller. Document controllers manage the sorting, numbering, storing, filing, and retrieving of documents for project, departmental and organizational use. They ensure accuracy and efficiency in every controlled document.

Why is Document Control Important to a Business?

Document control manages the flow of information within the organization effortlessly. It is about delivering accurate and verified information to the right stakeholders to drive organizational efficiency and goals.

Complete Guide to Document Control Management

Until recently, document control has largely been ignored. Although organizations had realized the importance of having a streamlined document control system in place, they weren’t giving it the importance it deserved.

However, with the latest technological advances such as workflow automation becoming prevalent, document management has become easy and effective.

  • Information is valuable only when it is available to the right people at the right time. Unless it is available to the decision-makers, the business will not gain insights from the data.
  • A document control system reduces your dependency on manually processing data and consuming paper.
  • Large quantities of documents can be safely saved in a system rather than in hard copy format.
  • Document control streamlines the entire operations and allows every stakeholder in the loop to be on the same page.
  • Document control eliminates the ambiguity in data and ensures the reliability of the information.
  • Document control is also required for quality control, accountability, and regulatory purposes.
  • Document control helps improve operational efficiency by allowing you to track, monitor, and organize relevant documents available in various locations.
  • All your documents are maintained and controlled according to pre-set standards.
  • Every document in the organization is readily available to the right stakeholders, up-to-date, and verified.

What are the benefits of document control?

Document control is an essential part of quality management in any organization. It acts as proof of compliance and operational efficiency.

Complete Guide to Document Control Management

Productivity Boost:

Some reports suggest that employees spend large amounts of valuable time searching for reliable information. This redundant job eats away at their good and productive time. By automating the system and controlling the lifecycle, you can ensure employees can get their hands on the required information at the right time.

Enhanced Quality:

At the heart of the document, control lies in document version management. It is easy to lose track of revisions and access without having version control. When you can control the version, you know the people who have accessed the documents made changes. It also helps in preventing unauthorized access.

Necessary Compliance:

Certain documents come under legal and regulatory compliance. When particular records are not maintained well or long enough, the business can quickly run into legal trouble and be subject to fines, sanctions, and legal repercussions.

Improved Safety and Storage:

Information is the most precious commodity in any organization. Maintaining high safety standards is crucial to the longevity and productivity of a business. A document control system should be efficient to ensure access is available to only the designated personnel and secure the documents from unauthorized access.

Document Control in Organizations

Document control procedures should be established by organizations to maintain a standard across the organization. And the standard should define the controls and management of documents by selecting rules that specify:

Complete Guide to Document Control Management

  • The approving authorities for documents before use
  • Review, verification, and up-gradation of documents and re-release of updated documents
  • Documents are readily available, identifiable, and accurate.
  • Ensure that the document revision changes are in line with the requirement
  • All versions and relevant documents are available for use.
  • Documents from external sources or outside the organization are identified, and access authority is provided to the concerned persons.
  • All obsolete documents and reports should be separated from the current version. And, if these documents are saved, they should be identified and maintained separately.

Document Control Lifecycle

Document control is the technique of maintaining a consistent standard in organizing information in a controlled manner.

In an organization, document control is a series of steps taken to regulate making, approving, reviewing, verifying, distributing, storing, altering, re-releasing, and disposing of documents efficiently.

Complete Guide to Document Control Management

The entire document control lifecycle consists of several steps. Some of the essential ones include:

Preparing Documents
The document preparation step should specify the persons responsible for creating documents. It also determines how the papers should be prepared, named, numbered, and metadata designed to help classify documents efficiently. Only the authorized personnel should have access to composing documents.

Review and Verification Through an Approval
In this stage, the document approval and review procedures are determined. You have to make sure the documents are not changed or altered by people who don’t have the necessary authority. The revision and approval process should impact the overall quality standards.

Distribution or Publishing
The document control policy should determine when a document is eligible for publishing and distribution.

Revise and Review
Almost every document needs to be revised or reviewed at some point. Even if the concerned department heads have approved the documents, they could need some alterations or revisions in the future.

The document control system should mention the people who have the authority to request reviews or revisions and perform the actual changes. Once a document has been revised, only the latest updated document should be identified.

Storing, controlling access, and safeguarding
Another significant document control aspect is storing, controlling access, and safeguarding documents.

A document controller should have complete access to the documents – right from creation to publishing stage, including revisions. By creating a document log, a document controller will keep track of all the changes, modifications, transmittals, and retrievals.

Destruction or obsolete documents
Some documents need to be taken out of circulation or removed entirely because they no longer serve any purpose to the organization. Such documents are called for destruction or retirement. If your organization wants to retain a copy of all the documents, then a retention policy can be worked out.

How to Achieve Efficiency in Document Control System

Achieving greater efficiency in document control systems can be challenging if the entire process is not given its due thought. These aspects of a document control system help an organization have a more robust and reliable system in place.

Complete Guide to Document Control Management

Hiring an Experienced Document Controller
An experienced document controller will ensure that your organizational procedures about document control are implemented. More than one document controller could be employed for a larger enterprise or an organization with large documentation requirements.

Automating your Process
Without a well-throughout plan or strategy in place that is in tune with your organizational requirement, a document control system might not bring you the results you are aiming for. Every organization should start by chalking out a proper manual or set of procedures to achieve effective document control.

Approvals, reviews, and revisions in any document control process are crucial. Automating this step can help improve efficiency by gaining faster approvals, building approval permissions, and bringing all the stakeholders within the decision-making loop.

An automated workflow system enables you to organize your document management system.

For example, if your organization uses an automated HR and Admin system, the leave request and approvals can be completed efficiently and on time.

Using a Reliable Document Control System
A document control system is a step towards a streamlined process that gives you a competitive advantage over the competition. Automation software can offer easier access, search and control capabilities.

Choose an automation system that can support multiple document types such as MS Word, PDFs, and image files. Additionally, a legally compliant automation system could work in your favor.

Make Use of Metadata to Classify Documents
Metadata is a crucial aspect of document control that makes managing, assessing, and storing documents more organized. Metadata aids in the classification of documents and retrieval at the right time. Metadata provides additional contextual information about each document that can classify documents.

Improving Continuously
Having a document control automated system will not guarantee efficiency or control if you are not continuously updating it.

Rebuilding the entire organization’s document control and management is not easy. But breaking down the process into individual tasks can help achieve success quickly.

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Features in an Ideal Automated Document Control System

Automating document control benefits an organization by improving efficiency, reducing costs, and eliminating redundancies and errors. Countless automation tools and systems are available, but only a handful offer compelling document control features.

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We will discuss the features an ideal automated document control system should have.

1)Easy Document Creation and Routing

Not all documents can be created in the same manner. Each document has a specific purpose and pattern. That’s precisely why a document control automation system should have document templates for various processes.

An ideal automation system should allow you to create multiple documents from several tools such as spreadsheets, emails, and reports. Moreover, a document control system will send to the appropriate people for approval.

Automation makes it easier to differentiate between various documents, such as policy and design documents. They are routed through the workflow for review and approval depending on the document type.

You can use a procurement automation tool to route your documents through the workflow.

For instance, a purchase request is generated from the production, and this request document goes through various departments, such as finance, production, store, and external vendors. The document needs to be approved or modified by appropriate authorities. The approval process flow can be built into the system so that unauthorized people cannot change the documents, and there is no delay in finalizing orders.

2)Electronic Storage and Tracking

Tracking emails and attachments take away a lot of productive time for employees. However, with an effective automated document control system, you can have greater control over your documents. It is possible to get all the attachments integrated within a cloud storage system, ensuring traceability, retrievability, and enhanced control.

A sound system, such as Cflow document management, allows you to access digital or manual documents even when offline. Once all the documents are scanned and uploaded, they can be retrieved easily using tags, keywords, and version types.

3)Document Protection

Businesses, substantial conglomerates, use several management tools and software. It becomes challenging to bring all the documents into an organized and coherent backup system. Certain automation software provides excellent routine backup of documentation in the background.

4)Simple Search and Navigation

One of the main features of an automation tool is the ease of search and navigation function. A document control system should be easy to access, store, and maintain organizational documentation control while providing restricted access to users.

While security might be a tipping point in favor of automation, it is equally essential to consider day-to-day activities that revolve around search and accessibility. Internal stakeholders prefer an automated tool that allows them to access documents based on predefined criteria.

For instance, when using an automated finance document control system, the finance team will access historic vendor data using metadata such as date, keywords, and document type.

5)Ease of Installation

The best software tools are easy to install and quick to integrate within existing systems. Although your IT teams do the installation, the regular employees – without expert technical knowledge – use these systems.

So, an ideal document management system would be easy to install without requiring technical prowess. A completely no-code system is always the best choice for small-medium scale businesses that need automation tools to scale without costing a fortune.

6)Multi-document Support and Integration

Multi-document support is one of the most sought-after features in an automated document control system. An ideal system would be one that would allow businesses to integrate their existing systems with automation software without creating hiccups in either program.

Every department in your organization maintains documentation, yet not every document type is the same. However, an automation solution should work with multiple document types without a glitch.

An ideal solution would be one that would allow you to seamlessly integrate third-party applications with the system and also work as a standalone solution.
Easy integration makes the transformation and process implementation easier.

Your business can benefit from a streamlined document control system. Are you ready to onboard an effective and reliable document management automation solution?

Make document management and control easier, more effective, and streamlined. Your business is expanding, and as it grows, it will depend on large quantities of well-maintained, accurate, reliable, and updated documents. It is not only going to need access to timely documents and data, but the right people are going to need it at the right time to make valuable business decisions.

Cflow is the right solution for your business. It is simple, easy to install, customizable, and completely scalable. Get in touch with our experts today and know-how we transformed our clients’ businesses using our high-performing automation systems.

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