Now ISO 9001:2015 does not disallow the use of printed out, controlled hard copies of procedures, work instructions, and the like. Companies choosing to maintain hard copies of the "approved" documents at point of use or in other controlled locations certainly can keep doing that and your certification won't suffer.
But, this is the 2015 version of the standard. Yes, 2015. It's time to simplify.
There are tools out there now that will facilitate compliance with all of the 9001 Documented Information requirements in an electronic environment, and drastically improve the document revision and approval process.
Facilitate, as in, make easier.
My personal favorite is Microsoft SharePoint.
Using Microsoft SharePoint can drastically simplify the way you're currently managing your business documents. Users can simply create a metadata based document library where you can tag documents, search based on keywords and tags, and not worry whether you're accessing a duplicate or latest version of the file. The SharePoint library can simply organize your documents that may be relative to one another ,and share the same security and permissions. Here are some of the features you can use to simplify your workload and management roles:
Version control is a distinctive feature for any enterprise-scale document collaboration platform. In SharePoint, the versioning feature automatically saves every version of a document. This allows multiple people to make changes to a document without the fear of overwriting a previous version.
An approval workflow feature is also available to simplify organization and sharing task responsibilities. The approval workflow routes items in a SharePoint site to specified people for approval. It manages and tracks all of the human tasks involved with the process and provides a record of the process when it completes. Approval workflows support any business process that requires sending documents or items to colleagues or managers for approval.
The check in - check out feature allows you to make changes to a file on a site, and ensures no one else can edit the file. When you have the file checked out, you can edit it online or offline and save it as frequently as needed. You can simply check out, check in, and discard changes you make to files in SharePoint libraries.
User permissions can allow users to specify who can view drafts and edit content on any document. This feature allows users to manage and assign documents to specific individuals without having to make all documents public within SharePoint.
Don't wait another minute. Start exploring this now.
There are so many benefits to moving from a paper based document control system to one that utilizes SharePoint that I would have to post another blog (or 2) to adequately describe them all. Making this leap will save you so much time, and it does not take too long to convert. If you would like a nudge to get started, shoot us an email, or post a comment below. We'd love to help you out!
Christopher M. Spranger, MBA, ASQ MBB
Want to receive free tips to improve your business?