Remember "hand-shake" deals? Or where a person was "only as good as their word"? Today, we "document, document, document." In business, where we're short on telepathy and long on increasing employee turn-over and failing memories, good documentation is imperative.
Documentation is both a life-saver and a burden in business, but either way it's certainly a necessity as we endlessly tap into the enterprise information flow. Information is vital, and shared information is key to daily decision-making. The good news is that the "paper trail" is now largely an "information trail". Documents don't necessarily mean paperwork! And information is more accessible than ever before.
As business models have evolved with information and communication technology we can now take advantage of electronic libraries, as opposed to stacks and stacks of three-ring binders and rooms of file drawers. How many of your departments require documentation?
For those of us attempting to answer questions, such as, "what is in the offer letter?", "what did we agree to for the customer?" or "what is on the setup sheet for this job?", it's easy to click on the database record and view a reference document.
In addition, it has always been amusing to note "paperwork reduction act" on any six-page form which has to be completed and signed. In a commercial enterprise, there are a myriad of forms to complete, sign, file, store, and reference. We have forms for employees, partners, vendors, part specifications, machine setup, safety compliance, audit trails, contracts, material data, and the list is seemingly endless.
But now even some requisite government forms can now be completed electronically and signed with an electronic signature.
Thankfully, Document Control was incorporated into our EnterpriseIQ ERP system years ago as part of our Quality Management System. This system encompasses any kind of internal and external documents, including drawings, and is available for any department. Controlled documents are easily accessed for viewing, by library, secured or shared, from any module in the system. Documents can also be checked out, and revisions can be submitted, reviewed, and authorized via a workflow system, routed sequentially or broadcast, for team members. They're even color-coded for quick visual reference, with revisions listed, and effective dates and expiration dates.
In HR, where we have required documentation for recruitment, hiring, job descriptions, personnel records, skills tracking, and certifications, secure document libraries are a life-saver and so much easier to use than 3-ring binders and file drawers. I'm a fan of documentation, and I encourage the use of electronic documents. It certainly reduces workplace injury from paper-cuts and falling stacks of files!