If I were to tell you that you could save significant time and money by implementing something very simple and inexpensive, you would be keen to read on. If, however, I were to start talking about ‘records’ and ‘document control’, I can almost hear the collective groan! Why is it that we all dread the thought of ‘admin’ when really all it takes is a little forethought and discipline to create a healthy saving?
Think about the last time you were in a hurry to leave the house and couldn’t find the car keys. How long did it take to search your coat pockets, handbag, briefcase or under the settee? Multiply that amount by how much you charge for your time and then add the potential (or actual) cost of having been late, such as losing a client. The resulting sum is the amount of money you could have saved simply by hanging up the keys as you walked in the door.
The old adage ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’ comes to mind, whether at home or at work. I remember a few years ago visiting a company where no one had kept the software license list up-to-date. It cost the company hours in time and money to locate where computers had been moved to, what software had been installed on them, what the license numbers were and the passwords for upgrades. Had the company been going through an ISO9000 audit, a major non-conformance would have been raised. As it was, it just wasted a lot time, raised blood pressure and took hours to put it right. A simple spreadsheet at the outset and a clear procedure would have solved the problem.
If you have ever sent out a document to a client only to realise too late that it was an earlier draft – the one in which you spelt their name incorrectly all the way through – then you will know the importance of document control. It takes seconds to upgrade a document’s issue status. Ignore it and it could be a costly business.
Then there are the implications of records such as HR files getting into the wrong hands because they weren’t stored or disposed of safely. The Government’s missing Child Benefit data in 2007 is a case in point!
The ISO9001 quality standard provides a sound framework to improve business efficiency and performance. Control of Records and Document Control are a fundamental part of the standard but you don’t need to have a quality standard to use the principles effectively. Click here to get a copy of our Quick Step Guide to Control of Records and Document Control.