Document Control: Controlling Electronic Email (E-mail)

A

AnnaMarie

#1
Andy B. - Did you have any luck in controlling your emails. I have a similar problem now. This refers to your topic from 26 November 2000. Any help appreciated.

----------------------------------------
From Al Dyer, Here is the post refered to by AnnaMarie:


Hello John
The desire to create documents that are not changeable was a request from the ISO 9000 Consultants/Registrar (As a rule i dont try to make things more complex than necessary without a good reason).

On the E mail front we have dropped it from our documentation discussion for the moment so that we can concentrate on other areas of paperwork.

Our inhouse EDP expert tells me that with Windows NT it is not possible to create shared folders in Outlook. I struggle to believe that this is true. Can anyone advise me if this is true?

Regards

Andy B
-------------------------------------------



[This message has been edited by Al Dyer (edited 22 May 2001).]
 
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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#2
There are hundreds of variations on this theme. Some companies have employees save 'applicable' e-mails as text and then the text data file is filed. Some companies require a 'printout' be filed in a paper folder.

Maybe if you have some more specific questions.
 
A

Al Dyer

#3
I guess I can't help myself and I know it has been discussed before but here I go:

Why control an E-Mail? We all get many per day. Some more than others.

Can I control who sends me E-Mail? No

Do I want to control the E-Mail? No

Would I make a major business decision based on E-Mail? No

Would I say in my policy and procedures that E-Mail is just a method of temporary communication? Yes

Think of it in this manner:

in older times:

Was every piece of mail recieved by a company a controlled document?

Was every piece of mail assigned a document control number and included the document control system?

Let's be real and define what we control!!!!

Open for more discussion.

ASD...
 
D

Dan Larsen

#4
If anything, I would suspect the "critical" e-mail would become part of another controlled RECORD. I can't envision an e-mail as a document. For example, a customer requests or confirms (via e-mail) that a contract requirement be changed; the e-mail (probably as a hard copy print out) becomes part of the order record package.

Push as much as possible to record control; a lot easier to control against the standard.
 
A

Al Dyer

#5
Dan,

Well put, I like the idea of handling critical e-mails as part of a larger package that is considered evidence and part of record retention, as long as there is a good record retention process in place.

I don't know about others, but from my experience record retention has always been "skimmed" over by auditors as it is such a subjective element. In defining retention guidelines, a company can pretty well do what they want.

In an extreme example a company could say that all evidence/records are kept for 12 years until a disposal action is initiated, of course as stated in a procedure.

ASD...

Forgot to say, I am thinking QS/TS.

[This message has been edited by Al Dyer (edited 24 May 2001).]
 
R

Roger Eastin

#6
We have had plenty of examples of folks using e-mails as procedures or instructions! Now, I am not saying that I condone such a practice because most of time these emails don't follow a format or control rules. For our system, we tell folks to put their emails into the accepted format or at least treat them as a "temporary" document (until they can put it into the correct format).
 
E

energy

#7
Al,
We have Office 2000 Microsoft Outlook. E-mails can be saved on secure drives just like documents. I'm from the old school, too. But, the ease with which information can be transmitted and controlled has converted me. We allow outside sales people to report customer problems/feedback via e-mail because they do not have access to our in-house server and the use of a form would be cumbersome. Of course, I enter them into out Corrective action data base, but, I print the "back up" data in case I'm asked where do I get input for the database. All I ask them to provide is Customer, Sales Order number and a description of the complaint/feedback. You also ask would you make a major business decision based on an e-mail. I routinely "settle" issues costing thousands of dollars via e-mail. However, I agree with you that an e-mail does not replace the actual PO or contract. I guess what I'm saying is I use e-mail as evidence to show how I arrived at conclusions and entered information into other controlled documents. It would never be presented as a stand alone document, but I consider them controlled. Clear as mud?
energy
This kind of strays from the issue of e-mails as controlled documents, but it's worth mentioning. I regularly interface with our consultant via e-mail. My procedures are sent to him as attachments for review and comment. When considered acceptable to him and myself, they are placed on my secure drive. While not "official" the e-mail is considered, to me anyway, important enough to save as evidence of the communications that resulted in producing the procedures. Down the road, these can be produced to clear up any misunderstandings that may develop. Enjoy the long weekend!
energy

[This message has been edited by energy (edited 25 May 2001).]
 
A

Al Dyer

#8
Energy,

Yes when I posted "major business decision" I was refering to contracts and P.O.'s. and agree with you. I guess in my mind when I think of controlled I think of document numbers, location, storage, revision etc...

We too use e-mail as a medium to transfer data and information but I don't give it a number and put it on whatever type of master list I am using at the time. I control it a a record and usually staple it to another document (CAR). If I store it electronically I would somehow attach or hyperlink it to the record.

The times they are a changing and we have given up my trusty Access database and in the process of replacing it with a software package that will handle e-mails
frown.gif


ASD...


[This message has been edited by Al Dyer (edited 25 May 2001).]
 
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