Organizations need to accommodate continuous improvement activities, daily operations and change that correspond to document content – administering all these documents, making it accessible and keeping it current. Today’s regulated companies must track and manage all documents from different departments, plant locations, customers, vendors and regulatory agencies. To be competitive, a firm must automate its handling of documents with an effective electronic document management system (EDMS). EDMS is a set of products and services that lets users electronically store, locate, retrieve, share and track documents.
EDMS automation of data helps a company achieve:
- Increased product and process quality. By having the right document at the right time, companies can reduce the possibilities of defect and miscommunication.
- Consistency. Enforce consistency of your documents and your document creation across all your sites.
- Compliance. An EDMS improves regulatory compliance by providing employees with access to the latest regulatory updates and corporate mandates, and by facilitating communications among departments. By facilitating regulatory compliance, an EDMS minimizes fines, facility shutdowns and litigation expenses.
- Visibility across the value chain. Quickly identify trends and take fast action.
- Increased safety. Employees have faster and easier access to the most current safety- and training-related documents through an EDMS.
- Focus on improvement.
Five key processes are essential to any good EDMS application
- Document creation and check-in. Every document is created and entered into the system with document type.
- Review and approval. Documents are routed for approval.
- Notification, distribution, viewing and training. If the document is approved, it is released as Current and the affected users are notified. If training is necessary, as is the case in new procedures or safety information, the employee receives notification that they need training on the document.
- Change Management and change orders. During the lifetime of the document, single or multiple change request may be raised against the document, and revision or change orders may be initiated to revise the document.
- Periodic review, expiration and archive. Periodic review of the document may take place within the lifecycle of the document and it may expire or need to be archived.
These processes well integrated into an automated EDMS system will provide you with efficient and streamlined document processes. Combining the above with drill-down reporting and dashboards will also help raise the visibility of your document and SOP process and state of quality.
Ensuring that your processes are tightly integrated with your organizational procedures is key to compliance, product quality and operational effectiveness. By managing and maintaining the integrity of changing data, and dealing effectively with the ever-increasing data volumes, firms can best meet the challenges imposed by today’s industry drivers — competition and compliance.