Across all industries, document control is one of the most important processes to get right. It ensures documents are updated and revision-controlled, allowing you to effectively route them for review, approval and distribution.
Processes, jobs, specifications—all of your most important documents should be in one place, with consistent procedures for handling them. In this blog, we discuss the most important capabilities of a robust document control system, highlighting how it should integrate with other quality applications to promote process excellence.
Your document control system should standardize the process of
document creation. An important point to consider is that not all
For instance, you wouldn’t necessarily have the same team
reviewing a policy document as you would a specification, so each
one needs its own routing procedure. An effective document control
system will automatically assign each document to the appropriate
workflow configured by your team.
Most companies also use Microsoft Office to manage documents,
whether in Word, Excel or PowerPoint.
Document Routing, Review and Approval
An effective document control system hinges upon its ability
to automate workflows for document routing. This ensures the
necessary parties have reviewed and approved each document prior
to distribution and use.
It’s not just about sending documents to the next phase in the
workflow—the system should also use intelligent business rules
• Conditional routing to send documents to different parties or
workflows depending on the business process or document
• Delegation rules to route documents to an assigned
substitute when the primary contact isn’t available
• Escalation rules to notify responsible parties when
documents pending review aren’t reviewed on time, keeping
the process moving forward
Ultimately, what you want is a document control process that isn’t
just automated, but also intuitive.
When you distribute new documents such as policies, procedures or
work instructions, it’s critical that employees receive training on the
updated documents. Integrating document control with employee
training creates a seamless transition, making it easy to track who’s
received training on key changes.
Capabilities to look for here include:
• Automatic updates to training requirements after a
• Training tests built into the document control and
• Employee training records showing complete vs.
Document Change Requests
Document control is a cyclical process. Even after document
approval, you will inevitably need to change the document at
A robust document control system allows you to incorporate a
dedicated change request process into your workflow to ensure:
• All changes go through a consistent set of steps configured
according to your unique needs
• You can request changes to multiple related documents
within a single workflow for added efficiency, so other
documents affected by the change don’t fall through the
• The system automatically archives previous versions so you
can restore or review them if needed