How to keep old versions of work instructions from being used at point of use?

Renea Koski QSM

Starting to get Involved
#1
As long as I have been a Quality Manager (8 years,) document control has been a thorn in my side!
I was wondering what some of you do to control printed work instructions at point of use that are outdated.
My idea was to have only access to our server with all the work instructions available, but some of the work stations do not have access to a computer.
What is the best way to ensure that printed documents of work instructions are kept up to date? I cannot stand at each work station to ensure that are making sure they are using the most recent version and the managers cannot track every employee either.
If I add a statement that this document is only good for 30 days past printing, then I am setting myself up for a non-conformance if that document is still sitting there past 30 days. . .
I did add a statement that "All printed documents are considered uncontrolled and for reference only" but the auditor said that work instructions cannot be for reference only.
I was just wondering if you all had any great ideas you could share. I am at a loss!
 
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Tidge

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#2
A footer that says something like "Uncontrolled Document When Printed" should be ok... provided you have some mechanism for the control of "non-printed" copies. (The same issue will crop up if local electronic copies are stored).

How much control are you willing to exert? For production processes, it is not unreasonable to require a recording of work instructions (and revisions) used during manufacture, at the point of use... I'm not referring to attaching a printed copy of a BOM, I'm thinking of requiring an actual recording the WI number and revision used in the DHR/traveler. (and having a review of the record)
 

Renea Koski QSM

Starting to get Involved
#3
That is a great idea, but logistically, I am not sure how to get the WI on the traveler without it being manually done. Our document control systems and ERP are 2 separate softwares and I can hardly get them to record their initials on the DHR let alone add more for them to do. . . .
But I will look into it.
(BTW, the BOM is printed on the WO/DHR/Traveler at each processing step.)
Thank you.
 

John C. Abnet

Teacher, sensei, kennari
Leader
Super Moderator
#4
As long as I have been a Quality Manager (8 years,) document control has been a thorn in my side!
ntrolled and for reference only" but the auditor said that work instructions cannot be for reference only.
I was just wondering if you all had any great ideas you could share. I am at a loss!
Good day @Renea Koski QSM ;
Regrettably, your situation is not new...nor is there any "silver bullet" to bring resolution. Let's consider the goals...
1- Ensure only CURRENT information is available.
2- Ensure information IS readily available at the point or work/where needed.

In my experience, a computer terminal is an inexpensive 'best' solution. A terminal with EASY and INTUITUIVE access (i.e. maybe a single folder icon on an otherwise blank screen, which provides direct access to only the information needed {a method I've used in the past) )...
to the information that users need can be a big asset in achieving your goals.


Not sure what your organization's size nor "work station" configuration allows, but if/as practicable, the terminal solution I describe may be your best option.

Hope this helps.
 

Renea Koski QSM

Starting to get Involved
#5
Good day @Renea Koski QSM ;
Regrettably, your situation is not new...nor is there any "silver bullet" to bring resolution. Let's consider the goals...
1- Ensure only CURRENT information is available.
2- Ensure information IS readily available at the point or work/where needed.

In my experience, a computer terminal is an inexpensive 'best' solution. A terminal with EASY and INTUITUIVE access (i.e. maybe a single folder icon on an otherwise blank screen, which provides direct access to only the information needed {a method I've used in the past) )...
to the information that users need can be a big asset in achieving your goals.


Not sure what your organization's size nor "work station" configuration allows, but if/as practicable, the terminal solution I describe may be your best option.

Hope this helps.

Thank you! That is what I thought, but just seeing if there was something that I just could not think of out there!
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Leader
Admin
#6
I was just wondering if you all had any great ideas you could share. I am at a loss!
First and foremost, educating the workforce about the risks of using inadequate revisions of documents. Normally, if you can use some examples of real-world (hopefully recent) cases of nonconforming products due to wrong revisions, the employees can relate to the concerns and understand the potential issues. Keeping printed copies of these WI's in drawers or posted on walls are always a potential risk. Having focused internal audits at a high frequency on this specific issue should help in bringing awareness to the shop floor workers.

From a technical standpoint you can limit the availability of printed WI's to a single central location on the shop floor (assuming a small to medium size plant) and the updating would be easier to a single point of distribution. Each work environment is unique, but, in my experience, most workers don't need the WI's to perform work. Most of the time, only new employees use them and, after some time, the knowledge contained in the WI is memorized. Obviously, each scenario is different; so, this solution would depend on the complexity of the work being performed.

Good luck.
 

Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Leader
Super Moderator
#7
As stated it’s an age old Problem. My take is a bit different: the standards (rightly) say that we must prevent use of outdated instructions. Now having copies available somewhere (either hard copies or local electronic copies) is ‘troublesome’ because they could be used, it doesn’t mean they are being used. Unfortunately objective evidence is usually taken as the (easy) detection or observance of a document. But just like a signature on a document doesn’t prove that the person signing it actually did what they say they did, the mere existance of an outdated document is taken a proof that it old have been used. Add to this the number of revisions that are for administrative purposes that don’t change the actual instructions and you have quite the dilemma. I’ve never seen an auditor discover that the ‘old way’ was used; they just find that an outdated document and thi evidence that it could have been used. Changing this approach will probably never happen so we are stuck chasing outdated documents.

I would add that talking with the employees about the importance of following only current instructions and having only current copies available and most importantly asking why they have outdated copies around is critical to improving the situation…

Another thing to consider is error proofing your processes as much as possible so the wrong thing can’t be done.
 

Renea Koski QSM

Starting to get Involved
#8
First and foremost, educating the workforce about the risks of using inadequate revisions of documents. Normally, if you can use some examples of real-world (hopefully recent) cases of nonconforming products due to wrong revisions, the employees can relate to the concerns and understand the potential issues. Keeping printed copies of these WI's in drawers or posted on walls are always a potential risk. Having focused internal audits at a high frequency on this specific issue should help in bringing awareness to the shop floor workers.

From a technical standpoint you can limit the availability of printed WI's to a single central location (assuming a small to medium size plant) and the updating would be easier to a single point of distribution. Each work environment is unique, but, in my experience, most workers don't need the WI's to perform work. Most of the time, only new employees use them and, after some time, the knowledge contained in the WI is memorized. Obviously, each scenario is different; so, this solution would depend on the complexity of the work being performed.

Good luck.
Thank you!
 

Renea Koski QSM

Starting to get Involved
#9
As stated it’s an age old Problem. My take is a bit different: the standards (rightly) say that we must prevent use of outdated instructions. Now having copies available somewhere (either hard copies or local electronic copies) is ‘troublesome’ because they could be used, it doesn’t mean they are being used. Unfortunately objective evidence is usually taken as the (easy) detection or observance of a document. But just like a signature on a document doesn’t prove that the person signing it actually did what they say they did, the mere existance of an outdated document is taken a proof that it old have been used. Add to this the number of revisions that are for administrative purposes that don’t change the actual instructions and you have quite the dilemma. I’ve never seen an auditor discover that the ‘old way’ was used; they just find that an outdated document and thi evidence that it could have been used. Changing this approach will probably never happen so we are stuck chasing outdated documents.

I would add that talking with the employees about the importance of following only current instructions and having only current copies available and most importantly asking why they have outdated copies around is critical improving the situation…

Amother thing to consider is error proofing your processes as much as possible so the wrong thing can’t be done.
Thank you!
As stated it’s an age old Problem. My take is a bit different: the standards (rightly) say that we must prevent use of outdated instructions. Now having copies available somewhere (either hard copies or local electronic copies) is ‘troublesome’ because they could be used, it doesn’t mean they are being used. Unfortunately objective evidence is usually taken as the (easy) detection or observance of a document. But just like a signature on a document doesn’t prove that the person signing it actually did what they say they did, the mere existance of an outdated document is taken a proof that it old have been used. Add to this the number of revisions that are for administrative purposes that don’t change the actual instructions and you have quite the dilemma. I’ve never seen an auditor discover that the ‘old way’ was used; they just find that an outdated document and thi evidence that it could have been used. Changing this approach will probably never happen so we are stuck chasing outdated documents.

I would add that talking with the employees about the importance of following only current instructions and having only current copies available and most importantly asking why they have outdated copies around is critical improving the situation…

Amother thing to consider is error proofing your processes as much as possible so the wrong thing can’t be done.
Thank you.
 
#10
I work in a system where all production cells work from paper documents. While it should fall to the Production Manager and Supervisors to ensure their people use the correct documents, it does not. Long before I came here, the Quality Manager (two before me) assumed that responsibility, as he was the one both writing and revising the Work Instructions, as well as controlling all drawings. So, part of that revision process is to print the newest revision, and replace the old revision, which is then destroyed (unless it's so old that there is no electronic copy, in which case it's scanned and then destroyed).

Checking the revision levels of documentation is also a part of our regular WIP Quality inspections.
 
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