Data Management and Web based Document Control Software

L

Louise86

#1
I started working at a medium sized manufacturing company at the beginning of the year and was appointed to look at the structuring of data (from forms through to reports) throughout all departments. We were ISO9001 accredited in 2002, but not anymore, and are also not seeking to become accredited in the near future.
Until now, we have structured each department’s data in the categories: Generic forms, job descriptions, statutory documents, procedures, work instructions, reports, measurements and working documents. The reason for this, is so that information can be easily accessible to all employees, and that each employee/department does not work from his/her ‘own island’ (computer) of information.
Now, we need a software package to facilitate the following:
Access and security control: to grant access and security rights to certain employees.
Version and retention control: to have a system which facilitates the editing, access rights and uploading revised documents (i.e. engineering drawings, or procedures or specifications).
Authorization: Electronic authorization. For example – Some financial reports need be electronically approved. Also, the authorization of ‘purchase orders’ need to become an electronically authorized process etc.
Does this approach sound right, and is a document management system the correct software package to look for? Which packages would you recommend? (We have looked at SharePoint, but that is way too big for our needs. I am also not too keen on open based document management systems).
Lastly, we want to get a ‘platform’ through which we can manage our documentation, but this must not limit us on future development (for example, incorporating bar coding systems, and automating processes in future.) It must be fully compatible with Microsoft programs.
I would greatly appreciate any help on this matter. Thank you.
Kind regards
Louise
 
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L

Louise86

#2
Re: Data management software

I have realised that 'document control' usually comes as a module when purchasing big ERP or MRP software system. Are there any software programs that one can purchase which is web-based and focuses only document control?:truce:
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#5
If anyone has any specific recommendations or suggestions, they will be appreciated. My Thanks in advance!

My question would be - What Microsoft programs does the solution have to be compatible with (and why)?
 

AnaMariaVR2

Trusted Information Resource
#6
:bigwave:Welcome to the Cove!:bigwave:

What type of industry are you? Which software those in your industry are using?
For example in the pharma/biotech industry we need to align to 21 CFR 11 electronically for documentation. And for example, one company that comes to mind and offers solutions in the sector is Master Control. They have white papers & helpful webinars for your review at their Resource Center page. There are many other companies on the market that offer solutions as well.

:applause:Definitively go through Harry's post, there are so many threads on this topic been discussed:
And always look at the bottom of the page of each thread to see other recommendations based on similar discussion threads in the subject. There is tons of info already there.

Finally, take a look at LNeJame's post: Part 11 Compliant Document Control Software recommendations, where Larry makes some simple suggestions on what you want to incorporate as you go through your evaluation process.:agree1:

Good luck,
Ana


 
L

Louise86

#7
Sorry, i think i stated it incorrectly (about the compatibility). We do not want to buy a large package such as SharePoint, but rather want to start at a smaller scale such as a 'document management' system, but still have the opportunity to move towards such a system.We must be able to move forward in expanding our information systems for example - getting a bar coding system. I am just afraid of buying a software package which will not allow us to further develop and expand our information systems.

We are a medium manafacturing company that exports most of our products (Chicken and pig feed systems). There are about 25 employees who work daily with computers.
 
M

mandarkg

#8
We are using MasterControl as document management software. It has ability to integrate with ERP or MES system. Another software to look at is Pilgrim Software. Both of these are web based.

Mandar
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#10
If anyone has any specific recommendations or suggestions, they will be appreciated. My Thanks in advance!

My question would be - What Microsoft programs does the solution have to be compatible with (and why)?
Most good programs today are capable of working with a wide variety of software and dependence on being "compatible" with Microsoft is not as big an issue as it may have been as recently as two years ago.

Sorry, i think i stated it incorrectly (about the compatibility). We do not want to buy a large package such as SharePoint, but rather want to start at a smaller scale such as a 'document management' system, but still have the opportunity to move towards such a system.We must be able to move forward in expanding our information systems for example - getting a bar coding system. I am just afraid of buying a software package which will not allow us to further develop and expand our information systems.

We are a medium manafacturing company that exports most of our products (Chicken and pig feed systems). There are about 25 employees who work daily with computers.
You seem to have a good feel of reality of balancing current need with future need.

Welcome to the Cove.

Threads related to document control software
Yep. Dozens and dozens of possible leads - Most folks would reach my age before they could read through them all to glean the desired information and by then it would all be obsolete anyway!

Document management (both manual and electronic) has been a particular specialty of mine for for 40+ years. I try to keep abreast, but I can practically guarantee that any brand name recommendation I might give today might be obsoleted by a competitor's new development tomorrow, so I never publish a brand name recommendation.

I do, however, provide a set of guidelines which might help folks looking to adopt an electronic system. I first wrote this seven years ago. One small addition a year or so ago has made it current for today's use:
Make sure you know and understand the difference between "document sharing" and "document management."

Here's a brief summary to start you off:

Document Management Software

Background:
An organization wants to improve efficiency of document management by “grafting” a program over current legacy files and all newly-created files which will provide the following minimum benefits:

a) Ease of Search & Retrieval (on different fields/characteristics)


b) Ensure only the most recent revision is available on standard Search menu

c) Automate the procedure of notifying pertinent parties a document is ready for redlining

d) Maintain an audit trail for the status of documents (released or waiting for checking/approval [and by whom])

e) Allow “full preview” of documents without opening native programs – i.e. AutoCAD documents can be viewed without latest revision of AutoCAD being resident on user’s computer.

f) Permit “group printing” of documents, regardless of native file format.

g) Maintain up to 30 security levels on any document, determining whether user has authority to create, modify, redline, view, print, copy, etc.

How do they work?
The primary feature of Document Control Software is a relational database which manipulates very small files called “metatags”, which relate to certain attributes of documents. Basic attributes are file name, revision level, author, topic, key words, type of file format, etc. which are used for field headings in the database.

By querying the database, a user retrieves a “menu” of documents which meet the search criteria. Self-contained viewing software permits a user to view and print documents, regardless of the native file format. The views can be scrolled, zoomed, and cropped (i.e. user can print an enlarged detail of a document.)

Users who have redline authority can markup documents without invoking the native file program (the redlines are saved as “overlays” in separate files without changing the original document.)

Users who have checking/approval/redline authority can be automatically notified via email when a document is ready for their review. The program will track when and whether the review is completed and maintain an audit trail for “real time” status reports on any or all documents in the review process.


By keying on the attribute “Revision level”, the program can ensure only the most recent, authorized revision is available to most users, reserving authority to view “superseded” documents to special categories of users.

An important consideration in grafting legacy documents into the new system is choosing fields pertinent to the organization. Many documents, like autocad and word documents have features which provide automatic tags (create date, author, department, etc.) [click on "properties" under File in a Word document to get an idea of already available fields.]

The problem is most users write documents which still show "valued customer" as the author because they have never explored the Properties feature.

An expense to consider is going back into each legacy document and adding the meta tags which allow for sorting and retrieval.

I hope this helps - there are many consultants like me who would come in and give your organization background on choosing the best brand for your organization. Caution is "Are they truly independent or do they have bias toward one brand?"-Wes Bucey, Quality Manager


I didn't add in that post that most software programs have web versions, too. In point of fact, the documents "could" be located either on one server or scattered among hundreds or even thousands of hard drives or servers as long as they were connected or accessible via password over a network, a virtual private network, or the internet.

[<SNIP>

Back to today
Google "electronic document management" to see some other thoughts on this topic. I hesitate to recommend ANY product by brand name, because the competitive nature of the business is that one company can be hopelessly obsolete in a month or two and another can have a great breakthrough in the same period. Regulatory laws change quickly - a user's current and projected situation in that regard are important factors. Current quantity of documents and projected number of authors and changes are a major factor. Collaboration with suppliers and customers is another big factor. __________________
I can add that, back in the mid 90s, my organization spent over $200,000 creating an electronic data and document management program from scratch. It was unique and wonderful for its time, but hopelessly obsolete and simplistic today (everything was written in COBOL.) Today, a sharp shopper can get a pretty good program for less than $500 per seat (a computer and its operator which have author rights.) Many programs, especially web-based ones, have no extra charge for folks who can only read or print documents, not implement any changes. This is very handy for allowing customers and suppliers access to see documents pertinent only to them.

Do you have a time table for your implementation? Will you be adopting a large number of legacy documents into the system? How many new documents would you generate from your 25 people in a week? a month? a year? How many changes (revisions) to existing documents in those same time frames? Do you have a budget range for accomplishing this? How sophisticated (computer-savvy) are your 25 folks? Will they need mild training or intensive training? Are you budgeting the time and expense for that training? Do you envision collaboration with folks in different geographic locations (customers? suppliers? consultants?)

If anything, let me caution you that this decision on software is one which should take some intensive research and analysis. Often, trying to save a few dollars on the initial capital expenditure is penny wise and pound foolish because of the extra time and effort required by users to implement or "work around" bare bones systems compared with feature-rich ones.
 
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