Metricstream has an article describing how to raise your audit score through effective document control. Not only is “document control and document lifecycle management (becoming an) increasingly important foundation for building and implementing a good compliance and quality system”, but it can also act as an important tool to “audit-proof” your organization.
“With the growth of online manuals, standard operating procedures (SOP’s), supplier contracts, electronic material safety datasheets (MSDS), OSHA safety datasheets, plant and operator instruction manuals, most large and mid-size manufacturers are finding it difficult to enforce compliance with corporate procedures and quality standards…. A well implemented document control system, besides providing a document repository for global use, must enable seamless document and data control, closed-loop collaboration and process flexibility to turn organizational documents into living and breathing standards for global compliance and quality.”
They continue with a case study of a hypothetical manufacturer:
“The manufacturer has several thousand business critical documents stored in a document management system implemented just a few years back. These documents are increasing in volume and scope and are often sent around in emails to facilitate collaboration across teams and organizations. The current process for managing documents mostly involves individuals and groups to work on certain documents and then file them electronically to the common document vault for record keeping or collaborative purposes.”
As we continually discover, companies of every size are beginning to realize the necessity of a document control and online document management software solution. Many times, companies wait until a specific instance- a lawsuit or a lost policy that severely costs the company time and money- to take action. For instance, most document control audit findings a result on a manual review and control process. And while late is better than never, most of these companies could have used a document control system that automates the entire document work flow- from importing, to editing, reviewing/approving, revising, publishing- and tracking, reporting on, and ensuring employee compliance on said documents.
As Shipbuilders writes, an effective document control software should ensure that documents:
- Can be located;
- Are periodically reviewed to make sure they are still valid
- Are current and available where needed; and
- Are removed if they are obsolete
Your document control procedure should address responsibility and authority for:
- Preparing documents;
- Making changes to them; and
- Keeping them up-to-date.
Any effective document control system- or document management software solution- can take charge of document control, reduce your chances of a document control audit finding, and raise your audit score.
As for Metricstream, they suggest to:
- Look for a solution that automates the entire document lifecycle
- Look for a mobile solution, which is practical and usable by the entire extended organization.
- Look for a document control solution with built-in process management capabilities.
- Look for a quality document control solution, which integrates training management programs
- Look for a document control solution, which is readily audit-able