If you work in a regulated industry, you have probably been told how important it is to properly manage the documents related to your work. And it’s easy to dismiss these warnings with, “Of course, when I’ve got some down time I’ll clean up my files” or “I can usually find what I need when I need to, even if it requires some digging. That’s good enough, right?”
That is, until you’re audited. Or your company is challenged because of an inaccurate product claim that wasn’t cross checked against the latest testing record. Or a supplier delivers a batch of materials against the wrong specifications.
All of a sudden you’re a document control evangelist, warning others against your folly.
Until your memories of the anxiety and scrambling fade. So your file management processes slip back into disorder. And the cycle begins again.
The 3 Biggest Risks of Outdated Document Control
Managing documents is critical to ensuring the security, efficiency, and compliance of your company’s information. But some documents need to be controlled versus managed. This means having a central, secure document repository with access and version controls that leaves everyone confident that only the right people are accessing the right version of the right document.
Yet so many companies come up short in terms of proper document control, and are creating unnecessary risk as a consequence. Here are the three biggest risk areas.
RISK #1: SECURITY
Are the inner workings of your business, your “secret sauce”, still managed on paper or in digital files stored, uploaded, and shared in multiple forms with no way to track who has which version? It’s not your fault - you haven’t been outfitted with modern document control systems that act as a secure, audit-ready, single source of truth for your most important documents.
ISSUE #2: LACK OF COMPLIANCE
In addition to being secure, working in a regulated industry requires that your documents and procedures consistently conform to ever-changing rules and standards. Take the cosmetics industry for example: according to the FDA, cosmetic brands are prohibited from selling products in interstate commerce that are considered adulterated or misbranded. A company, therefore, needs to guarantee that every ingredient that goes into their product is safe for use, manufactured in sanitary conditions, and not a single statement on the label is misleading or false. In this scenario, would all your internal and external stakeholders know where to access the latest version of core documents?
ISSUE #3: LACK OF EFFICIENCY
Security and compliance aside, the under-appreciated cost of outdated document control is its inefficiency. Though we live in a digital age, many organizations that have modernized in some areas still maintain physical file systems. Paper is not only difficult and time-consuming to access and share, it holds no value and is limiting opportunities for collaboration and innovation. Paired with digital files shared over email (creating version control nightmares), processes slow to a crawl and team members are more likely to make mistakes due to inaccessible and outdated information.
It Doesn’t Have to Be This Hard (or Tedious)
Your information drives your business. It fuels your daily progress, it ties together your end result, and it helps you stand out in an ever-competitive landscape.
Are you doing enough to protect your information and set up your team to work efficiently? Take our 60 second quiz to assess your document control risk profile and see how you compare to your peers.