The Benefits of Digitizing Document Control

Companies are looking for ways to reduce costs and streamline processes. A key area of interest is Environmental, Health, Safety and Quality (EHSQ) since it is instrumental in an organization’s productivity, product quality and compliance.

The amount of recordkeeping for EHSQ can be overwhelming. Since regulatory and industry audits can result in requests around any product, process or system, it is imperative for these teams to have a structure in place that can access requested information quickly and show consistency in the documentation process.

According to LNS Research, 77% of companies are still using paper-based records to manage their EHSQ processes. This often leads to problems with documents being outdated, incomplete, missing approvals, or lost in the abyss of paper records.

That’s why more companies are starting to invest in Document Control systems that manage the process for them. When a Quality Manager is investigating a nonconformance, they need to identify the product deviation, where the root cause originates and which production material or lots were affected. The manager also needs to process a corrective action/preventive action (CAPA) to prevent incidents from reoccurring, issue a Management of Change (MoC), and train employees on these updates as a final step.

It seems easy enough to do – get a few signatures and post a copy of the latest version for employees to review. You can even highlight any changes so everyone knows what is different from the last version. But too often, paper copies are marked up with additional comments and those changes are not properly reviewed and approved by the team, which could affect compliance and EHSQ requirements.

Reduce administrative burden. A Document Control system provides the visibility, controls, compliance and security needed to manage these processes quickly and accurately. By automating the creation of these documents and digitizing this information, users you can easily find any documents in seconds compared to hours of reviewing files and trying to locate current and previous versions for comparison.

Users are also looking for a system that makes their job easier. A Document Control system needs to be able to schedule annual (or periodic, depending on the company) document reviews to maintain compliance requirements. This takes the guesswork out of review schedules and a document can be reviewed and approved by the team on time, every time.  

Streamline the approval process. A common problem with a paper-based process of approvals is that you are not sure who is still reviewing the document and if all approvals are complete. The Cority Document Control module eliminates the mystery and provides visibility using swimlane screens that show each step of the process. Now document owners know who has reviewed and approved the document and where there may be bottlenecks in the process. If it is in a team member’s queue but no action has been taken on the document, the document owner can see if the person is out of the office and whether it should be reassigned to someone else for review.

Take control of the version. When a new version of a document is activated, the previous version need to be stored for reference or in the event of an audit. That’s where a Document Control system really helps. The current version is available for review while previous versions are properly identified and saved for future reference. This is especially helpful in the event of an audit if a company is asked how nonconformances are handled. A manager can quickly query any nonconformance and corresponding CAPAs and MoCs. This shows auditors that the company has a consistent method of managing processes and the corresponding documentation associated with it.

For your eyes only. Paper documents can easily be accessed by unauthorized personnel. A Document Control system provides the added security of enabling only authorized users to access specific documents and make changes. It also records the users who access and make changes on specific dates, which provides complete visibility throughout a document’s lifecycle.

How Much Paper-based Processes Cost a Company

When companies first begin to look at investing in a Document Control system they think they are spending additional funds for a new system. If they calculated the cost of not having a Document Control system, the amount would surprise them.

Besides the frustration of trying to find missing records, there is a significant cost to companies as well. It is estimated that the time spent searching for information averages 2.5 hours per day for each knowledge worker.  If the average salary of a knowledge worker is $80,000, the cost per month for tracking down information would be $1,923. If a company has 100 knowledge workers, that can cost a company over $2.3 million annually.

Digitizing Document Control

By implementing a document control system that works in conjunction with the EHSQ systems that rely on it, companies can save millions of dollars of knowledge worker hours to support activities that contribute to the bottom line. 

How We Can Help

We understand how challenging it is to manage EHSQ processes, documentation and compliance requirements. That’s why Cority developed a Document Control module to streamline the document lifecycle process and centralize information for easier management and tracking of important compliance records. Let us show you how to select the right software for EHSQ needs.