Document Changes that don't have to be approved

JasnahKholin

Starting to get Involved
#1
We have an electronic doc control system. In general, all changes to documents must go through an ECO approval process. The doc admins also have the ability to update documents without going thru the ECO process with essentially no record of what changes take place. We have a limited list of things that we will use this "admin update" functionality for: obvious typos/misspellings, formatting issues, document owner changes, table of content updates, and NEVER document content changes.

We keep having people asking admins to make updates that push the limit of our guidelines or using it as a convenient way to have someone else update their documents for them, which is an internal problem I'm working with my boss to address but...

it made me curious if there is any industry standard or best practice rules on what changes can be made to a document outside of the ECO process. Does anyone know of anything like this or what rules your company uses for these kinds of things? Any input is appreciated.

(for reference, we are AS9100, ISO9001, and IATF 16949)

Thanks!
 
Elsmar Forum Sponsor
#2
Here is our list allowed admin changes:
  • Correction to document page numbering,
  • Correction to spelling errors and minor grammar errors,
  • Formatting changes, including changes to lines/borders, paragraph numbering, paragraph indents, bullets, etc.,
  • Addition or removal of a page break,
  • Correction to font size or font color, or
  • Correction of implementation errors (changes that were approved but not implemented in error).
 
#4
I had the same question a few months ago myself. I am currently building a documentation creation and control system from scratch (very small company with no defined QMS) and wondered how to capture the necessary information when a document is altered. I came to the following conclusion concerning administrative vs fundamental changes to a document:

Why are we approving changes in the first place? Why do we have an ECO/ECR/ECN process at all? What benefit does it have?

We approve documents through our internal process to ensure the Input, Process Steps, and Output remain consistent with quality goals. That is, if the Input does not need to be altered, the Process Steps remain unchanged in both tasks and sequence, and the Output is not altered in any way, then it is an administrative change and does not need to progress through our ECO process. Same stuff in, same steps, same order, same stuff out = administrative change. So far this has worked well for the company and we have had no issues with it, as it eliminates most everything except font changes, coloring, page breaks, typos, etc.

As for a standard industry wide or a best practice, I can't speak from a place of intelligence. Follow your internal processes and procedural documents. If they are correct and people are working beyond their bounds, training to bring your company back into compliance may be needed. If they are not working or are poorly defined, update those processes to better align the actual output to the desired output.
 

malasuerte

Posts Moderated
#5
We have an electronic doc control system. In general, all changes to documents must go through an ECO approval process. The doc admins also have the ability to update documents without going thru the ECO process with essentially no record of what changes take place. We have a limited list of things that we will use this "admin update" functionality for: obvious typos/misspellings, formatting issues, document owner changes, table of content updates, and NEVER document content changes.

We keep having people asking admins to make updates that push the limit of our guidelines or using it as a convenient way to have someone else update their documents for them, which is an internal problem I'm working with my boss to address but...

it made me curious if there is any industry standard or best practice rules on what changes can be made to a document outside of the ECO process. Does anyone know of anything like this or what rules your company uses for these kinds of things? Any input is appreciated.

(for reference, we are AS9100, ISO9001, and IATF 16949)

Thanks!
Well first off, you need to address the root cause - admins making changes not allowed! While I don't like adding extra if possible, you could add a preapproval loop for the admins. So make it so the admins make no changes until it is approved through something as simple as a Sharepoint workflow. You make it clear that admins say NO to all changes until the approval comes through. Then communicate this new process. You could see if you can enhance your system (we have this) which uses metadata to start the process. So someone has to select the type (metadata question) of change. The metadata then automatically prevents a change if not specifically the guidelines you have set out.

But as a method of control, regardless of any change, it should go through an approval loop. Our system is similar, except the type of updates you note are a different class and go through a 'swift' approval. Whereas, real changes to content, go through a thorough approval.
 

Zero_yield

No cost too great...for Quality
#6
We allow an expedited approval process (i.e., only the document owner, management, QA, and Training) for changes to content that don't change the process. This usually applies to clarifications, rewording, adding a picture, etc. There's still approvals, just less of them.
 

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
#7
We allow an expedited approval process (i.e., only the document owner, management, QA, and Training) for changes to content that don't change the process. This usually applies to clarifications, rewording, adding a picture, etc. There's still approvals, just less of them.
I agree that some form of approval process is needed. There's nothing worse than seeing that a document has changed (even for something as minor as correcting a typo) and not being able to find a trail that describes everything that changed.
 

QuinnM

Involved In Discussions
#8
Hi Jasnah,

I'm unaware of any standard or documented best practice for the changes noted. To correct SOPs; typos, page numbering, etc.'; our Document Control procedure allows for the electronic doc control system administrators to make these changes. No one else is allowed, and most don't have access to do so. FYI - we have two people assigned with the role of electronic doc control system administrator.

Quinn
 

Matt's Quality Handle

Involved In Discussions
#9
We have an electronic doc control system. In general, all changes to documents must go through an ECO approval process. The doc admins also have the ability to update documents without going thru the ECO process with essentially no record of what changes take place. We have a limited list of things that we will use this "admin update" functionality for: obvious typos/misspellings, formatting issues, document owner changes, table of content updates, and NEVER document content changes.

We keep having people asking admins to make updates that push the limit of our guidelines or using it as a convenient way to have someone else update their documents for them, which is an internal problem I'm working with my boss to address but...

it made me curious if there is any industry standard or best practice rules on what changes can be made to a document outside of the ECO process. Does anyone know of anything like this or what rules your company uses for these kinds of things? Any input is appreciated.

(for reference, we are AS9100, ISO9001, and IATF 16949)

Thanks!
You might also force admins to document what they changed on these small edits. For example: "Changed Bob Jones to Jane Smith due to position change." This does 2 things. It provides an audit trail so that an auditor (internal or external) can verify the changes. It would also serve as a deterrent to admins that might abuse the process.
 

JasnahKholin

Starting to get Involved
#10
You might also force admins to document what they changed on these small edits. For example: "Changed Bob Jones to Jane Smith due to position change." This does 2 things. It provides an audit trail so that an auditor (internal or external) can verify the changes. It would also serve as a deterrent to admins that might abuse the process.
We do have a "notes" section where admins document what changes they made thru the admin edits. We don't have an issue with admins abusing the process, its more that other people try to get us to abuse it and we have to constantly push back which is why we are looking at possibly clarifying the rules for this to stop some of the back and forth.
 
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