Today’s manufacturing companies that seek ISO 9001 compliance-(regardless of their motivation to do so) probably don’t find it that difficult to create intelligent documentation. After all, a few days with a good consultant or a quality manager can take care of document creation. The problem lies in the gap between what employees are doing and what employees are supposed to be doing (in terms of adhering to documentation) and the gap between the manner in which processes are being implemented and the manner in which they should be implemented ( in accordance with documentation). In other words, the problem lies in the way processes are strategized and applied and in the way employees commit to standards when compared against existing documentation. How can a company overcome these issues? The answers may be simpler than you think.
Automation is the Answer for ISO Control
If your underlying processes are poorly strategized then an automated document management software system won’t be of much use. However, once the processes have been effectively planned (and applied) a document management software system can speed process-to-process management by leaps and bounds. Companies that automate not only to comply with ISO standards but to generate more revenue by performing less administrative labor save weeks and even years worth of time just by automating their processes and documentation control with a document management software system.
The right document management software system and ISO document control would also allow companies to find deviations and nonconformance events faster and move those events to resolution phases in a small fraction of the time they were originally routed—if they were routed at all. Some ISO 9000 document management software systems may even be combined with a CAPA QMS solution. This is especially valuable when determining the root cause of major to minor deviations.
A Document Management Software System and Employee Training
ISO standards do not require any type of automation but ISO standards lend themselves to automation in a way that’s quite remarkable. Take for instance the following document management requirements from the official ISO 9001 International Standard.
ISO 9001 Section 4.2.3
ISO standards make it clear that ISO 9001 “approved” companies must define (i.e., document) how they will approve documentation, how they will identify documentation changes, how they will update/reapprove revised documentation, how external documentation will be managed and how assurance will be provided that documentation will be available when it is required. 1 And that’s only a shadow of things to come! A document management software system designed for strict compliance can automate the approval of documentation, the identification of document changes, updates and reapproval notifications, external documentation management and high-level document security. Some solutions also integrate training and online exams as well.
How Much Could You Save?
Chances are high that automation will save you thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars annually depending on the size of your company. Just foregoing a typical document routing process (a manual process) can save many employees fruitless trips back and forth from one office to another. Who wouldn’t want to avoid those time consuming searches through 3-ring binders and lost documentation due to employee absence or neglect?
Regulation and control are the future for manufacturing. Gone are the days of free experimentation and a blind eye toward material waste. Today is the day of premeditated design, quality assurance and web-based automation. If your company plans to be, or already is, compliant with ISO 9001 standards why not consider automating those ISO 9001 controls with a document management software system.
Read more on ISO 9000 Software at http://www.iso9000-standards.com