Goodbye paper chaos – thanks to document management! Not so long ago, companies were still piling up mountains of folders and paper. Desks were flooded with documents. In some cases, large archive rooms with many shelves had to be created to manage the flood of documents, at least to some extent. But with the advent of digitalization, this problem was countered. Of course, there are still companies and administrative authorities that have only partially or not at all jumped on the digitization bandwagon and whose administrative apparatus has to struggle with the chaos of loose sheets and a flood of documents. This is where document management can provide a remedy. This article highlights the individual aspects of document management and aims to show what intelligent document management looks like in the age of digitization.
What is document management?
Document management is also referred to as a document administration system or document management system (DMS). With the help of this system, documents are to be archived centrally in electronic form.
- Documents that used to be in paper form can now be found centrally in a digital document archive utilizing the software. This makes administration easier for companies.
- They are captured, processed, stored, centrally archived, and traced to their origin.
To ensure the acceptance and use of the employees, it is essential to involve them as early as possible in the process and before the rollout of such a system.
What are the components of a modern document management system?
What are the advantages of a document management system?
There are still too many mountains of paper and files with large archive rooms for these documents in many public authorities and companies. So much time has to be spent on filing and finding the records. Therefore, it makes sense to introduce a system for managing documents in digital form. The following are the key advantages why a DMS makes sense:
1) Paperwork is reduced to a minimum
- Searching for documents is much faster with the digital version, thus saving valuable time. They are now available in digital form and can be easily organized.
- Multiple versions of the same document are a thing of the past. The basic version is centrally stored in the DMS in the always up-to-date version and can be conveniently retrieved at any time.
- Paper itself costs a lot of money. The costs for archiving documents distributing or forwarding them in paper form are reduced dramatically. Digitization saves printing and paper costs.
- Passing on documents in paper form costs time, which is saved many times with a DMS.
2) Document management systems offer more security
- Every company has confidential data. Thanks to such a solution, they are protected from unauthorized access with the help of revision security. In an emergency, the documents in the DMS can be restored so that there is no loss of data.
- User and administrator rights ensure that only employees who have been authorized have access to the documents. If, for example, a copy is a contract only to be viewed and edited by a personnel administrator, then only this person has access to the agreement.
- In the case of paper documents, there is a risk that they will be destroyed by force majeure, such as floods. This risk is avoided by such software, as the DMS regularly creates backups of the documents, and these can be restored in an emergency.
- Documents and data must be appropriately secured for data protection reasons (DSGVO). With your document management system, the company is on the safe side that regulations such as the DSGVO are adhered to.
3) Integration and connectivity to other programs
Document management systems have numerous options for integration with other programs or modules. This provides the company with a uniform infrastructure, and entire processes can be automated. The DMS can be connected to systems such as Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, Microsoft Sharepoint, DATEV, Docu-Ware, etc., among others. Emails, files, and information are archived, indexed, managed, and shared.
In which areas can document management be used?
Document management is mainly used in human resources, marketing, sales, and finance companies. A well-thought-out and planned document management automate standardized tasks that occur daily in the company about documents. The following examples show how this can be successfully used in different areas:
How is document management introduced in a company?
Cloud services offer the ideal prerequisites for successfully establishing document management in a company in a future-proof manner. The advantage of a cloud-based DMS solution is that it eliminates purchasing additional hardware for the company. To make the leap from paper to the digitization of documents a success, the following points must be taken into account:
1. What is the current status of the company regarding document management?
In the first step, it is essential to record the current situation in the company, including all departments, and find out in which areas or departments the DMS is to become part of the daily business workflow in the future. The prerequisites for introducing the system in the company must be clarified. For this purpose, it is essential to involve the employees in the process accordingly to determine how high the previous effort and need for documents in paper form is. This way, it can be determined where improvements need to be made.
Introducing a DMS saves paper and archive rooms and simplifies internal processes in this area. A DMS also offers advantages in terms of data protection. First of all, it is essential to clarify the concrete benefits of the DMS for your own company.
2. What is the time frame for the introduction of a DMS?
To use a document management system effectively, it is necessary to plan. Perhaps the company does not need all the functionality at the moment. However, this can change very quickly with the ever-increasing flood of information. Therefore, it can make sense to use a cloud-based DMS solution right from the start to book additional functionalities later on when more is needed quickly. The SaaS solution (Software as a Service) is ideal for switching to a cloud platform and migrating data without any problems. The cloud offers excellent protection against data misuse and access by unauthorized persons. It is easy to decide who should have access to which documents with appropriate roles for entry. Information can be easily exchanged or shared with team members and other authorized persons. Discover more advantages of the cloud here.
A centralized workflow about documents is the best starting point to introduce a DMS system. Business areas such as accounting, HR, or contract management benefit the most from introducing a DMS.
3. Where exactly should the DMS be introduced?
The strengths of a DMS lie in the fact that it can be effortlessly integrated into existing workflows. Once the existing processes have been analyzed in detail, it is essential to identify where the new software should be integrated. These include the following integration points:
- Release of invoices: The DMS can be easily integrated with an accounting or ERP program. This controls the document processes of the financial data. This includes, for example, a connection to MS Dynamics or Lexware.
- Adding new employees:The system can link the company to HR-specific programs that the company uses.
- Manage contracts correctly:Word from Microsoft is the program that legal departments and teams responsible for procurement, for example, use most often. A DMS can easily integrate Word documents. With the editing function of the documents and the revision control, the employees always keep an overview.
- Management of manufacturing documents:In production, a DMS makes the current and correct production documents available at the workstations. Workers, therefore, always have the latest version at hand.
4. Choosing the right DMS provider
Once the goals are clearly defined, where, how, and in what time frame the DMS is to be used, the next step is to find out which provider best fits the internal workflow of one’s own company. To avoid making a bad investment, a provider should be chosen to compile the individual modules for one’s own needs. Here it is essential to pay attention to the experience of the provider. Suppose he has been on the market for a long time and knows the circumstances of his customers very well. To ensure that the acquisition of the DMS is a complete success, the manufacturer should offer the right combination of customized DMS software, service, and staff training.
5. Introducing the DMS in the company
As soon as the employees have been trained or qualified through preparatory workshops and are thus ready to use the software, the software is rolled out. IT specialists do this. The workshops that took place beforehand should have ensured that the employees could use the new DMS software promptly.
6. Adaptation of the DMS and review rounds
It takes some time until the digitization of document management runs smoothly. In many cases, adjustments must be made gradually at specific points in the new document process. For example, some goals were formulated too imprecisely in advance and needed to be optimized.
Review meetings with the users (i.e., the employees) are a valuable help to optimize adapting to the new DMS workflow. In this way, timely feedback can be obtained, and critical insights can be gained to improve the documentation process more and more.
Document management in production
How to manage documents efficiently
With modern document management software for the manufacturing, you can organize the shop floor quickly and successfully. Documents required for production, such as CAD drawings, work instructions, or product data sheets, can be efficiently and intelligently made available, documented, or archived at the appropriate assembly workstation with the right production data management software. An important point here is the organization and archiving of NC data. The corresponding NC programs can be transferred to the respective machine at the touch of a button. This saves an enormous amount of time and helps your production staff concentrate on their work on the device. Old programs are not overwritten but archived. Revisions can be easily traced, and duplicate NC data in machine memory or network drives are a thing of the past.
The FORCAM document management application digitizes, manages, and schedules all the workers’ data for their work processes. The information is prepared according to requirements and made available promptly at the required location. The employees can organize their work process independently and optimize it sustainably.
For example, production resources can be made available in a significantly shorter time. This substantially increases productivity at the workplace. Workers spend less time searching for the required documents. The error source of using incorrect or outdated documents is minimized, and operational, and operator safety is optimized. In addition, paper documents in the production area are eliminated.