Quality and compliance often go hand in hand. For manufacturing businesses, they are critical components for the safety, quality and profitability of products made, while guaranteeing that all legal regulations are followed.
By maintaining high standards of quality and adhering to compliance protocols, manufacturing businesses not only safeguard their reputation but also avoid hefty fines, production delays, and the potential for damaging lawsuits.
While both have a vital part to play, understanding the difference between quality and compliance and accepting this importance will ensure long term success as well as customer satisfaction.
Ultimately, the quality of a product will determine whether a customer buys it to begin with or places repeat orders. If the product delivers what it promises, customers will be left with a positive experience and the product is classed as high quality. If it doesn't meet expectations and falls apart, it's regarded as low quality and has the potential to damage an organisations reputation and profitability.
Compliance means adhering to the professional regulations of a specific industry and ensuring standards are continually met. Internal processes will usually be put in place to monitor compliance and detect and highlight any issues as early in the process as possible.
In today's digital age, information security and document compliance are vital aspects of any successful business. Effectively managing documents in quality and compliance processes protects sensitive employee and customer data.
With the implementation of a dedicated document management system, companies can secure all their important information in one centralised location.
The system enforces document control and ensures that only authorised individuals have access to sensitive information, thereby safeguarding against any unauthorised data breaches.
The differing levels of access that organisations require, such as strict editing rules for policies and manuals, or read only rights for Standard Operating Procedures and instructions can be achieved with a document management system.
Effective document control gives organisations certainty that the most up-to-date information is readily accessible, and that previous versions are only visible to those with certain permissions.
It is essential to have an audit trail of document revisions which demonstrates the effectiveness of any quality system in place. However, this should not come at the cost of killing efficiency within the business.
Most modern quality departments have a quality management system (QMS) in place that may come with a small level of document control within it. But more often than not, it makes sense to have a separate, integrated document management system (DMS) to allow none QMS users to get involved in the quality processes.
Dedicated document management software can often be more cost effective, especially where it is already being used by the business for other processes such as accounts payable approvals.
There are many areas of quality and compliance businesses have to think about, and effective processes need to be put in place to manage them and the regulations surrounding them. A document management system can help with these outlined below.
With the introduction of GDPR and the Data Protection Act, organisations face the challenge of proving their compliance with data protection laws. This is where a document management system becomes invaluable as it can store all employee and customer information in one centralised and secure system.
With data protection and high-level access rights, only authorised employees can access sensitive information.
By efficiently organising and categorising data, businesses can easily respond to Subject Access Requests, providing all necessary information related to any individual within seconds. Full text search capabilities are invaluable in ensuring all data is easily located and extracted.
Another crucial aspect of quality and compliance is secure document storage.
Legal requirements dictate that certain document types, such as invoices and CVs, must be stored for a specific time periods.
For organisations that process large volumes of invoices or experience a high turnover of staff, this can result in a significant amount of paperwork and therefore a lot of costly physical storage space.
Storing data digitally in a cloud Document Management System eliminates the need for physical storage, reduces associated costs, can offer reminders for when data can be deleted and ensures high levels of security.
If your organisation needs to manage document retention as part of any quality and compliance processes then our software can take away the excel spreadsheets or email reminders you have in place.
With DocuWare, retention rules are applied to each document based on criteria such as type, date. or status. Where invoices can only be kept for six years, rules in the backend of the software guarantee they are only kept in the system for as long as needed. This ensures data is not stored longer than is legally required.
As hybrid working becomes the norm, effective version control becomes increasingly important. Employees need to work simultaneously from more locations than ever before, collaborating, editing and commenting on documents stored across SharePoint, DropBox and network drives. So organistaions must question, how can version control be effectively managed?
Our solutions provide a seamless approach to version control as users are only ever able to see the latest version of a document. This is very effective on global level documents such as policies and procedures.
While being edited, the document is locked avoiding any conflicting changes and remains as read-only to other users until the new version is stored.
After this, it automatically receives a new version number clearly indicating the ‘current version’. A complete document history is available, adding evidence of compliance when needed.
Audits play a significant role in ensuring quality and compliance while improving processes.
Whether a business is preparing for an external audit such as ISO 9001, or simply wants to monitor document usage, tracking document changes is crucial for improving processes, reducing frustration and increasing business agility.
With digital document management software, auditors can quickly and easily access relevant documents and search by any category such as product, document type or supplier.
By displaying when a document has been opened and edited, by whom, and when, organisations can demonstrate their commitment to compliance during audits. This level of transparency not only drives accountability but also ensures that all rules and regulations are being diligently followed.
To learn more about how our client, The Woodland Trust, successfully manages Gift Aid forms to ensure smooth audits, please read our case study.
Our extensive range of products can help your business on its digital journey. Suitable for organisations of any size, and as simple or as complex as you need them to be.
With DocuWare all your documents are stored and shared digitally. It’s faster, more transparent, and more efficient than traditional paper-based methods.Go Paperless
We create digital workflows to meet an organisation’s bespoke requirements. We can provide an electronic system to track, edit, store and manage all documents associated with any existing or new process.Digital Processes
Accurate data capture is vital, and some organisations have very specific needs. Our products help extract data for those with information in unstructured formats.Get Accurate Data
Digital signature technology improves the speed of auditing, provides smoother turnaround on contract completions, as well as reducing the associated costs.Sign Electronically
Use a central platform to collect, integrate, analyse and present your organisation’s data from multiple databases. Measure and track KPIs in real time.Track KPIs