Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Controlled & Improved Document Distribution

The old British Gas advert with Larry Hagman as JR saying “Don’t you Just love being in Control” may be a distant television memory for a lot of us but the sentiment is still very true, we do like to be in control, not in an extreme “control freak” kind of way, but in a way that makes us feel confident and sure about the decisions that we make, the relationships we form and the work that we do.

The truth of this can be seen when we lose control of something, take as an example losing our car keys, I am renowned for doing this much to my families annoyance and over the years have probably lost hours just looking for keys that should be where you’ve left them but never are. What is the result? Frustration, irritation, impatience, anger, blaming everyone else and not yourself and a lot of time wasted all of which could easily have been avoided if we had just maintained control and put our  keys on the key hook that was bought specifically for that purpose.

The same can be true when working with documents that we have to refer to during the course of our daily work. In our 10 benefits of using a document management system, benefit number 6 is: Controlled and Improved document distribution. Any document management system today that is worth its salt will have  a routing or workflow mechanism that can be employed to help improve document control and distribution. Not all documents have the same classification so the system must be flexible and robust enough to handle many workflows at the same time. Some documents are collaborative and therefore rely on the input of more than one person before they are complete. This may involve collecting information from a variety of sources, updating or modifying it before it is collated into a file that is deemed complete. Other processes are purely transactional like accounts payable for example where an invoice has to be routed to certain individuals for approval and payment. Whatever the situation, we like to maintain an element of control. Knowing where a document is in a given process and being able to track who has actioned a task during a documents lifecycle is important. Such data helps managers identify bottle necks in the process that may need adjusting, eliminate waste and improve overall business efficiency. It helps them to maintain control and helps the rest of us have the confidence and assurance that we are doing our job well.

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