From print to digital – document management for engineering companies

Document management is not only the latest “trend” for larger companies, but also small businesses are implementing different solutions, having the advantage to start from scratch and developing their software options as their company is growing.

For companies who are just now deciding to go paperless, the transitioning process is not an easy one, but also not that difficult as it might seem at the first glance.

Making the transition from print to digital

Important data, such as detailed proposals, financial information or confidential files are much more vulnerable when being kept only on paper. It’s much easier to lose, to have them destroyed by accident or even to get in the wrong hands. An electronic solution provides you with more security and the ability to back up and restore any important documents you may need, as long as the user access is controlled and all the safety measures are integrated. That is why it’s so important to choose a reliable document management system, which keeps all the stored data secure. Paper documents can’t be encrypted and the old “cabinet with a lock” system is not really usable now a days. It would be such a waste not to take advantage from all the benefits technology has to offer us and still hanging on to old, outdated records. Just by moving a single piece of paper from a place to another might become a serious security issue, and all because of a simple human error.

Document management systems are an investment for any company, but they add value by saving time and money at the same time. Just think about the storage costs, not to mention the wasted time spent by employees when searching for a single document. Another thing worth mentioning is that workflow speed is considerably reduced because paper based processes are slower and less efficient.

Eliminating paper completely is not that far away, because sometimes you have to keep official documents or you have clients that insist on having hard copies, but still most of your records are best stored, not to mention more safe if you use a document management system.

5 benefits of using document management systems for your business

  1. Reduced costs. Your employees won’t have to deal with the archiving and editing of documents and are able to focus more on revenue generating ideas. You will also save on storage space and on ink and paper because you don’t have to copy documents for revisions and approvals, since you are able to do that using a reliable software.
  2. Automated protection. Your documents are safe, especially if the option to delete a document is available for the global administrator only, or for users with full access rights. Otherwise, the document can be stored as inactive for further references.
  3. Security. The global administrator decides who has access to certain documents, by password, and you can also set different access levels. This increases the level of security greatly and you’ll be sure your documents are not viewed or downloaded by anybody else.
  4. Accessibility. Each document imported into the system will be available at any time and will be easy to track down searching by title, description, department or project because you’ll have them all categorized.
  5. Environmental – friendly. Although this is not necessarily a top priority for all companies, it’s still a great benefit knowing you’ll not waste valuable resources and it’s a bonus for your company image.

Document control for engineering projects

Lantech-Soft has created VENDOM, a document control system that caters to the tailored needs of engineering companies. VENDOM is more than just a document management system, providing full control over your document and the life-cycle of a document. When working with remote co-workers or partners, collaboration work requires support for version control. In order to do that, you document control system should integrate 5 key-principles:

  • A document numbering system agreed by all the participants in the project. This will help avoid confusion.
  • No duplicate document numbers. If the documents are saved in different file formats, they should be available with the corresponded file extension. Therefore, make sure, your document control system supports the most used file formats.
  • Establishing a revision coding system. Constant revisions are usual in this types of projects (and not only) and it’s only natural to have all the different document versions available. Although a document control system stores them by date and time and it enables you to see who edited them, it’s easier to establish a revision code (numbers or letters) to make the search easier.
  • Complete life-cycle of the document available for all users. This makes it easier to track the project timeline and also it’s easier for staff who joins the project later on to catch up on all the progress done.
  • Identification of revisions. This feature allows those who work on a project to see clearly who edited a file and what revisions were made.

The risks involved in a lack of proper document control are also worth mentioning:

  • Unidentified changes can mislead the team manager, making it difficult to manage expectations.
  • Employees might lose confidence in reliability of the documents, which affects efficiency and even the quality of the collaboration between them.
  • Document updates require more time when done on paper and sometimes it’s possible to skip this process because of a human error.
  • Contractors and subcontractors don’t receive important project updates on time.

Bottom line is, it’s only reasonable to evaluate just how important paper documents are for your business and how many of them you actually need. You’ll be surprised how much easier it would be to have a digital archive, which enables you to track, revise and store all your document in a digital format.