Training on the importance of Document Control

JasnahKholin

Starting to get Involved
#1
Hi All,

I am working on revising training on how to use our internal document control software and in putting things together I realized that we really do an OK job of explaining how to use our system but we do an awful job of explaining WHY document control is important in the first place, beyond the fact that our ISO certification requires it. I've put together a tentative outline of what this training should cover but would appreciate any input on something I may have missed based on your experiences.

I found a few industrial accidents where lack of documented processes were contributing factors to the accidents so I figured that might be good to include as examples. I'm also considering contacting some of the managers to see if they have any examples in the past where we had quality or process issues because of lack of document control to tie things back to something people can relate to.

Training Outline:
- What is Document Control?
- Why do we need Document Control? (ISO requirements, ensure product quality, employee safety)
- ISO 9001 requirements for control of documented information
- How do we implement Document Control here?
- Examples of effects of not having document control.
 
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Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#2
- Why do we need Document Control? (ISO requirements, ensure product quality, employee safety)
Document control is not sexy. How I would sell the importance of document control is by elaborating how PROCESSES must be executed/performed/controlled/followed in order to deliver the intended results. Document control CAN BE a critical aspect of PROCESS ASSURANCE/INTEGRITY, thus the need for documentation to be available and current/up-to-date.

The idea of using accidents/disasters to raise people's awareness of the importance of process (including documentation) control is sound. As always, if you have cases from your own organization related to product returns and/or customer complaints and/or high cost of non quality, due to people failing to follow the proper documents/process parameters, bring that up. When people can relate to the consequences of their actions, they tend to be engaged in the solution.

Good luck.
 

RoxaneB

Change Agent and Data Storyteller
Super Moderator
#3
(snip)

but we do an awful job of explaining WHY document control is important in the first place, beyond the fact that our ISO certification requires it.

(snip)

- Why do we need Document Control? (ISO requirements, ensure product quality, employee safety)
I would suggest starting with the 'why' - putting it first in the outline - if done properly it can be the factor that pulls everyone into the topic.

As Sidney has indicated, document control isn't sexy. My personal take is that citing requirements and conformance is the least important reason for it.

The long-term success and sustainability of an organization depends on the strength of its foundation. Good document management is a critical component of this foundation because, if implemented properly, it is the repository and single source of truth of objective evidence and proof surrounding an organization's processes - that the right things take place with the right people and that the right products/services are indeed provided.

If the document management approach is ad-hoc or informal, the entire foundation of the business is unstable. The absence of a document management system can even hinder business operations, resulting in the lost of resources (this includes people), time, and money.

A powerful document management solution/process will not only make the organization's foundation stronger, it will help the people operate on a higher level of quality. When organization's don't know when or how or what to do, it can cause enormous amounts of confusion in the long run. Team members do their own thing and results are inconsistent, possibly off-target.

Some organizations may think that having a formal document management process will "stifle innovation" or "slow down processes/business;" however, as long the document management process is built into the business culture these negative perceptions can be averted. If the document management process is properly structured from the start, they can help encourage innovation and growth, instead of impeding it. Strong document management processes ensure that everyone in the organization, regardless of the department or team, knows exactly where a document is housed, what the contents of it are, and if additional actions on a document are needed. It can foster a collaborative environment amongst teams as they all work on the "same page" (literally and figuratively).
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#4
Reading the excellent comments from Roxane above led me to remember the obvious, but seldom mentioned connection between document control and organizational knowledge (ISO 9001 §7.1.6). For the most part, proper documentation control is also an important component of acquiring, maintaining and updating of knowledge within the organization. That's why people needs to be empowered to trigger changes to both processes and documents when something is incorrect, ineffective, inefficient or can be improved. In my experience, part of the battle is to convince workers that, they too, are co-owners of the process and it's associated documentation.
 
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