Document Control

Setting up your document control system to be simple, sustainable and effective is critical to the success of your management system. Some of our suggestions are included below:

Build effective documents.

  • Make them clear, concise, and user-friendly.
  • Use short sentence starting with a command verb.
  • Use present tense (e.g.: is, are). Make it clear who is performing the task.
  • Format your documents to make them easy to read: use headings and white space.
  • Use flow charts as documents or to supplement documents
  • Check lists can also be used as a document or part of a document

Have the right amount of documentation.

  • Too much
    • Overlap and repetition – including a process in more than one work instruction
    • Work instructions written for virtually everything
  • Too little
    • The goal is consistency for your processes. If two trained employees were to perform this task, would they do it the same way? If the answer is “maybe not,” a work instruction is appropriate.
  • Just right
    • You have SOPs and work instructions to cover key processes.

Outline your document control system.

  • Clarify your terminology.
    • Procedure: describes the process
    • Work instructions: tells how to perform the process
    • Attachment: information attached to the procedure for clarification
  • Determine what to control.
    • Procedures
    • Work instructions
    • Forms
    • Attachments
    • External documentation
    • Prints
    • Drawings
    • Routers/travelers

Determine where to keep your documents.

  • Planning your infrastructure
    • ISO gives you the specifications.
    • You prepare your own blueprint.
    • You choose your document control system.
      • A simple word processing program
      • An existing database program
      • A packaged document control software
  • What will be best for your company?
    • Consider the following when choosing a system for your company.
      • Company size
      • Computer setup and availability
      • Number of different processes performed
      • Rate of change for your processes or documents
  • Your company may need more than one system.
    • If documents are different enough, it may be best to have two distinct systems. For example,: one for management system documents, and one for engineering documents
  • Remember the standard requirements
    • Each standard has very specific mandatory required documents. Make sure you have developed and documented these processes.

Hardcopy/Paper Document Control Systems
Online Document Control Systems
ISO Software Packages
Engineering Prints
Documents of External Origin
Records