What is a Document Control System and How Can it Help You?

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Document control systems play a crucial role in managing and organising the vast amount of information businesses handle. They ensure that documents are stored, retrieved, and updated systematically, consistently and reliably.

 

Ok, so you’re familiar with the basics of document control. However, it’s the advanced capabilities of modern electronic document control systems where the real magic happens. Ready to unlock their full potential?

 

In this guide, we delve deep into document control systems, discussing their importance, features, benefits, and, most crucially – how they can help you and your organisation.

 

Understanding Document Control Systems

At its core, a document control system is a centralised repository where organisations store and manage their business-critical documents.

 

It’s more than just a digital filing cabinet – it offers tools and functionalities that help businesses streamline their document-related workflows, ensuring the highest accuracy and efficiency.

Key Components of a Document Control System

Document Repository: A secure storage area where all the documents are kept. This repository ensures that all documents are centrally located and easily accessible.

 

Version Control: This feature allows users to track changes made to a document over its lifecycle, ensuring that users always work on the most recent version of a document.

 

Access Control: With this, administrators can determine who can view, edit, or delete a particular document. This ensures data protection and confidentiality.

 

Audit Trail: A system that logs all actions related to a document, including who accessed it, when, and what changes they made.

 

Collaboration Tools: These tools let multiple users work on a document simultaneously, fostering teamwork and reducing bottlenecks.


Automated Workflows: Automation that streamlines processes like document approval, distribution, and archival.

Diagram illustrating the key components and workflow of a Document Control System, showcasing how documents progress from creation, review, approval, distribution, to archival.
Overview of a Document Control System

Why a Document Control System is Important

The sheer volume of data and documents can be overwhelming in the modern business environment. Here are some reasons why these systems are invaluable:

 

Regulatory Compliance: Many sectors, such as defence, nuclear, and energy, have stringent regulations concerning document management. A robust document control system ensures compliance by maintaining the necessary records and providing tools for regular audits.

 

Efficiency: By streamlining document-related workflows, these systems reduce the time spent searching for, retrieving, and updating documents.

 

Consistency: They ensure that all documents adhere to a consistent format and structure, enhancing professionalism and clarity.

 

Security: Centralised storage combined with strict access controls ensures that sensitive information remains protected against unauthorised access.

How Can a Document Control System Help You?

It’s one thing to explain how a document control system works, but how does it help you? 

 

Well, imagine a world where your documents are more than just static files on a server or, even worse, loose sheets of paper crammed into a filing cabinet, but instead, dynamic assets that evolve and adapt to your business needs. A world where you’re not battling with outdated versions, lost files, or compliance headaches. 

 

This is the world that a document control system offers you. Here’s how embracing such a system can revolutionise the way you work:

Seamless Version Control

Ever found yourself sifting through countless files named ‘final_version’, ‘final_version2’, or ‘final_version_updated’? A document control system eliminates this chaos.

 

Every change is logged, and you always have access to the latest version, ensuring you’re never caught out by outdated information.

Empower Collaboration, Not Confusion

Working on a document with multiple stakeholders can be a game of endless email threads and conflicting edits. With a document control system, collaborative efforts become streamlined.

 

Multiple individuals can input simultaneously, with changes tracked and merged efficiently, allowing teams to work together harmoniously.

Say Goodbye to Compliance Nightmares

Document compliance can be a constant concern in regulated industries.

 

A document control system manages approval workflows, ensures only authorised individuals can make changes, and maintains a clear audit trail. This means reduced risk and more peace of mind for you.

Access Your Documents, Anytime, Anywhere

The modern workplace isn’t just confined to an office.

 

Whether on a business trip, working remotely, or just away from your desk, a document control system ensures that your crucial documents are just a click away. Secure cloud storage and mobile access features mean you’re always connected to your work.

Image on an orange background depicting various devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, all connected to 3D clouds, symbolising the accessibility of documents from cloud storage.
Document control systems let you access your documents anywhere

Boost Productivity with Streamlined Processes

A significant amount of time can be wasted searching for documents, deciphering edits, or simply waiting for approvals.

 

A document control system automates many of these processes, reducing bottlenecks and ensuring your work flows smoothly. This means tasks that once took hours can now be wrapped up in minutes.

Elevate Security to the Next Level

Your documents are valuable, and in the wrong hands, they can pose significant risks.

 

Beyond just password-protected files, a document control system offers advanced security protocols. From restricted access levels to encrypted storage, you can be assured that your information remains confidential and secure.

How to Choose the Right Document Control System

Implementing a document control system has become imperative for modern business operations. 

 

However, with plenty of options on the market, the challenge lies in making the optimal choice tailored to your organisational needs. Here are some factors to take into consideration: 

 

Understand Your Needs: Before investing, clearly define your organisation’s specific requirements and expectations.

 

Scalability: Opt for a system that can grow with your business, accommodating increased volumes of data over time.

 

User-Friendly Interface: A system that is intuitive and easy to navigate will encourage users to utilise it effectively.

 

Security Protocols: Ensure the system has robust security features to protect sensitive data.

 

Customer Support: Opt for providers that offer excellent customer support, as this can be invaluable in troubleshooting and resolving issues.

 

Integration Capabilities: The ability to integrate with other enterprise tools can significantly boost the system’s utility.

 

The Agility System’s document management and control functionality is robust and secure, yet easy to maintain, while still capable of controlling officially sensitive files. 

 

Request a demo today and one of our business analysts will walk you through the system and help you determine if the Agility System is the right document control solution for your organisation.

Document Control and ISO 9001

ISO 9001, recognised globally as the premier standard for quality management systems, places significant emphasis on effective document control.

 

This standard stipulates requirements that ensure organisations consistently meet customer and regulatory demands while aiming for continual improvement. Document control forms a foundational element in achieving these objectives.

 

Further reading: The Definitive Guide to Document Control for ISO 9001:2015

The Interplay Between Document Control Systems and ISO 9001

Modern document control systems are impeccably aligned with ISO 9001 requirements. These systems:

 

  • Facilitate the easy creation, review, and approval of documents.
  • Ensure that obsolete documents are removed from circulation while current versions are easily accessible.
  • Enable a systematic approach to editing, version control, and traceability.
  • Offer secure storage solutions, ensuring data integrity and protection against unintended changes.

 

By ensuring a tight alignment between document control systems and ISO 9001 standards, organisations not only maintain compliance but also benefit from enhanced operational efficiency and quality assurance.

The Next Steps

Integrating a document control system isn’t just about managing documents—it’s about transforming how you work.

 

By optimising processes, enhancing security, and fostering collaboration, you’ll find your work becomes more efficient, compliant, and ultimately, more rewarding. 

 

The Agility System software has been used for over 25 years by organisations in the most highly regulated sectors to control and manage their documents. 

 

Book a demo today, and our business analysts will be in touch to discuss your organisation’s unique requirements and how our software can help you achieve them. 

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Peter Shields
Peter is a Quality, Risk & Compliance expert with extensive experience working with process-based management systems in the Energy, Nuclear & Defence sectors since 1979.
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Peter Shields

Peter is a Quality, Risk & Compliance expert with extensive experience working with process-based management systems in the Energy, Nuclear & Defence sectors since 1979.

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