Rather than a company-wide rollout, it’s typically a single department within an organization that pioneers the implementation of a Document Management System (DMS). More often than not, users start small, with a specific need in mind. Perhaps the manufacturing department is pursuing ISO 9000 certification, or maybe a lab needs to comply with stringent FDA document control regulations. Regardless of the initial document control application, it doesn’t take long for management in other departments to take note of the benefits of using a DMS. Offering a convenient, central document storage location, reliable document retrieval, easy version control and simplified document approval processes, a DMS can increase employee efficiency and have a positive impact on the bottom line.
The Gas Department at Norwich Public Utilities (NPU) needed to streamline document editing and approval processes. This lone department forged out on their own and began using ENSUR. Instead of updating an entire electronic binder document, team members were able to make changes directly to discrete document sections. Edits were seamlessly folded into the mother document system.
Deb Rathbun, NPU’s Management Group Secretary, appreciates having the ability to view who makes changes to a document, and when the changes are made. “We have a large manual that we use for our inspection procedures,” explains Rathbun. “When we get audited, we need to show the revision history and prove that the manual is up-to-date.” With ENSUR, they’re able to do that – and more.
NPU also struggled with cross-departmental approvals for inspection manuals. Other departments – electricity, water, wastewater – all had similar manuals, but each managed them differently. “Cross-department approvals were challenging for senior management,” noted Jeanne Kurasz, Programs Coordinator at NPU. “Each department had their own, unique process.” This disjointed approach also presented challenges for auditors. Enter DMS. Today, after the Gas Department’s success with ENSUR, a company-wide rollout has given NPU unified editing and approval processes resulting in a consistent approach across departments.
Pet-care company Hartz utilizes ENSUR in a number of departments, ranging from packaging management and marketing to manufacturing and document training. For Hartz, it’s all about access. “Everyone has easy access to documents and materials,” notes Vitor Oliveira, Hartz Packaging Engineering Manager. “Through an easy-to-use web interface, information is accessible from any intranet device.” Employee access is granted based on each individual’s group rights making it easy to define who can view, edit, and approve documents, and more. The DMS provides an audit trail so administrators can see who has been using the system… and even who has not been using the system, triggering the delivery of automatic reminders to those folks. “It’s very streamlined and saves a tremendous amount of time,” says Oliveira. “We have one place to enter data and it can be viewed by any number of people in the organization.”
Collaboration is the priority for biotech company Spark Therapeutics. Technical operations, quality control (QC), manufacturing, research & development (R&D) and pre-clinical all have access to quality control documents. “We can collaborate more efficiently, with documents located in one place,” says John Adams, Computer Systems Validation Lead. “If a QC Analyst needs an SOP, they can go get it. They don’t have to request a paper copy.”
Spark employees discovered that a document management system simplified the editing and finalization of documents, versus manually routing documents for signatures. “Once we have consensus, we can move right to the approval cycle with management,” adds Adams. “Electronic signatures allow us to obtain approvals regardless of location.”
Starting small, then expanding the use of a DMS from a single department to a wider group of users has proven to be a winning strategy for many companies. A small core of individuals well-versed in the system can successfully help drive cross-company system set up. Super-users often train and assist new users in other departments. As usage of a DMS expands across an organization and the number of users increases, the bottom line blossoms, with companies realizing an improved ROI as a result. Some of the many cost-benefits include:
- Avoid buying and supporting different document control applications in different departments
- Eliminate paying multiple support contracts
- Tiered pricing of a single application can reduce per-seat price
- A single administrator avoids duplicate work and saves man-hours
- Centralizing documents in same repository is efficient for employees
- Documents from different departments can be linked together – supplier portal, HR, operations, quality, etc.
- Create or replicate common forms used in different departments
When all is said and done, ENSUR’s security model and document classification framework make it easy for a variety of departments within an organization to interact while simultaneously tailoring ENSUR to meet their own ideal workflow and usage goals.