How do you control E mails

A

Andy Bassett

#1
Just come out of a meeting to discuss documentation with the EDP Department, and i have been asked an interesting question.

We were looking at various ways to use our central server to control the creation, approval and storage of EDP Documents. A lot of good ideas came out, but how do you control E Mails.

We are reaching the point where a lot of supplier and customer communications are going over E mail. But how do you control them to ensure that they are stored in the correct place for the correct period etc.

Regards



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Andy B
 
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A

AJPaton

#2
We've got lots of customer input coming over the e-mail system on one of our newer product lines.

Our method of dealing with it is to store the attachments with the customer specs in a folder on the network. E.g. Server_Name:\Company_Name\Job_Name.extension

We've still got growing pains on this and some resistance to losing a hard copy system. However, this cuts down on the paperwork that gets lost on desks.

As it's a new system, we haven't been looking into retention times yet. So I can't give you any insight there.

AJP
 
A

Andy Bassett

#3
Thanks for that input AJ. Tomorrow we have the second documentation meeting and we will dicuss this again. We have so far planned to set-up 4 files on the network;
E mails to customers
E mails from customers
E mails to suppliers
E mails to suppliers.

I am just trying to think through the consequences of all this in terms of 'checking' 'release' 'rework' etc, for instance i am not sure if we can prevent people going into these files and chnging the content of the file.

Andybody anything to add to this?

Regards

------------------
Andy B
 
A

AJPaton

#4
Andy,

You might want to talk to your MIS folks about this, but the nice thing about network folders is that you can put different degrees of access on files.

I know that for our ISO procedures we had read-only access for almost the entire plant; only those administrating the documents could make changes.

That would be the simplest way to deal with your folder, have a single administrator entering documents with all others having read-only capabilities.

I do know that various programs give you a write-once access ability, but I'm not network savvy enough to know if that extends to systems.

Good luck with the e-mail system. Any insights you gain would help me in controlling our system.

AJP

[This message has been edited by AJPaton (edited 11 October 2000).]
 
A

Al Dyer

#5
I agree with the methodology of setting up "folders" on the network. Applying security rights and defining the process in a procedure or instruction.

A couple of items to consider so as not to clutter the system:

1. Is the email a record of the quality system? If not, don't save it.

2. Is the email only a means to relay the information contained in another controlled quality record? If yes, don't save it.

3. Is the email an approval to change a quality related process? Save it, control plans, FMEA's, and process flows might need to be revised.

4. Ensure that the process to determine what will be saved is well defined in procedures.

5. Although emails from customers may contain quality related information, could it be stated that internally, quality related data may not be relayed and stored by email?

We too are going through the same process and coming to a consensus is proving difficult.

ASD...
 
J

John C

#6
Andy,
Re your four files for emails; Rather than have a file for incoming and another for outgoing, you should have a built up record of exchanges, with a particular supplier or customer and, where it is extensive, against the particular subject.
Also, (back to the simple system issue) why do you want to stop people going in and changing things? Unless you have a real, proven concern then don't try to cover every angle because, there are more angles than there is time in the day to protect yourself against them.
How can you stop a person sabotaging the system? You can't. How can we stop people falsifying records? You can't, but you already keep backups of all documentation and records (though I don't think the standard calls for it). When a dispute arises, check it and expose the person who falsified the record. Then tar and feather him 'pour encourager les autres'. But, in normal circumstances, use the system as a tool, not a cage. Have high expectations of people and don't turn a blind eye to malpractise. Don't just say you have principles and that fair dealing with the supplier is one of them. Really do it and get rid of anyone who pulls a fast one with a supplier to cover himself. You can punish wrong doing but you still have to work on trust, so why try to build a system which doesn't, and risk making it unworkable or inefficient?
John C
 
A

Andy Bassett

#7
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
 
J

Jim Biz

#8
Andy: - I'm surley not a Computer techkie but our Outlook system uses Word.doc as the editing file format?...

Could you not set up to open-save-archive the Outlook information in Word applications & then go to shared "read only WORD files"??

Regards
Jim
 
A

AJPaton

#9
Andy,

I'm on NT, using Outlook, and our company has public folders there that cover local, national and international divisions.

I haven't used them much, so I don't know how e-mails get there, but I have read-only access to the existing e-mails.

You might want a second tech's opinion.

AJP
 
G

Graeme

#10
Originally posted by Andy Bassett:
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?
Andy,

First, I am not a Windows NT guru. However, I have worked in three organizations that used Windows NT servers. All three had anywhere from a few to very many shared folders in Microsoft Outlook. In one organization, in fact, users could create their own. It's a great way to share information with others you are working with. Using a shared folder saves system resources because a file that you want to share (for example) only exists in one location instead of being attached to a bunch of mesages.

So, I don't know how to do it, but I know it can be done.



[This message has been edited by Graeme (edited 13 November 2000).]
 
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