For companies in industries handling many documents – such as manufacturing, oil & gas, or pharmaceuticals – every single moment is an opportunity to become more efficient. What can be done to stay ahead? Embrace modern technology.

A document control system manages document creation, review, modification, distribution, and archiving. When utilizing a DCS, companies reduce time-consuming processes by buttoning up systems and eliminating the need for manual labor. Effective utilization here can propel a company into the future, preparing for the world beyond 2024

90% of enterprises are looking for simpler automation tools to streamline daily management tasks to allocate more time to strategy. "

What is a Document Control System?

A document control system (DCS) is an organized framework for managing and regulating all documents involved in a project or organization. It involves processes and technologies designed to control document creation, review, modification, issuance, and accessibility. The system's core components are a centralized document repository, version control, access permissions, audit trails, and collaboration tools.

For project management, the document control systems ensure documents are current, accessible only to authorized individuals, and compliant with industry standards. This will streamline workflow while significantly minimizing risk. The right system helps organizations operate at the highest level while maintaining regulatory requirements.

Why Document Control is Crucial in Manufacturing

In manufacturing, document control is not just best practice – it is required. The quality standard ISO 9001:2014 is an international framework that mandates organizations to use rigorous document management to ensure quality and consistency in operations.

A document-controlling system is the backbone of efficient, error-free work processes for engineering project teams, maintenance personnel, and compliance groups. It facilitates the precise execution of projects, maintenance of equipment, and adherence to protocols.

Additionally, for other industries that have meticulous compliance standards – such as oil & gas and pharmaceuticals – a DCS can be transformative. It is a simple and effective way to maintain the integrity of operations, safety standards, and regulatory compliance.

Key Features of a Document Control System

Document control systems are instrumental in managing the multitude of documents an organization produces. It ensures they are current, accessible, and secure.

1. Centralized Document Repository

The cornerstone of a DCS is its centralized document repository. This feature consolidates all documents into a single, organized space. This makes document management and retrieval a straightforward process. It provides all team members with access to the latest versions.

Advanced search features allow users to quickly locate the documents they need at a moment’s notice. Additionally, the system’s document archiving capability provides secure storage of historical records, which can be accessed at any time.

2. Version Control and Audit Trails

A robust DCS tracks every change made to documents. Document version control encourages a culture of transparency and accountability. Detailed records of all document revisions mean users can easily track changes and revert to previous versions when necessary. It can provide details on who made the changes and when.

Further, the check-in/check-out system allows only one user to modify a document on demand. This helps avoid any overlapping or mistakes.

3. Access Control and Permissions

Keep sensitive information secure. With an advanced document control system, user permissions are based on user roles. That means no confusion about who has access to what documents.

The permissions also lead to stronger security measures by requiring user authentication. It protects documents from unauthorized access. Adding to that, document encryption shields confidential documents during transmission or storage. This is vital in preventing data breaches.

4. Collaboration and Workflow Integration

A smooth collaboration process makes it easier for teams to work together, no matter their location. With document control system software, real-time collaboration allows multiple users to work on documents simultaneously. Meanwhile, workflow automation streamlines document-based manual processes, such as approvals.

The notification system keeps all team members updated with alerts on document changes and deadlines. This key feature helps projects stay on track, despite any hiccups or obstacles.

Infographics of the key features of a Document Control System, highlighting version control and access management.

Benefits of Implementing a Document Control System

Here is a startling statistic: 72% of senior executives say they think bad decisions are about as frequent as good ones within their organization. By finding the right document control system, companies provide team members with a tool that can kick this trend. Not only is workflow significantly improved, but a DCS helps foster a culture rooted in efficiency, accountability, and innovation.

1. Increase Efficiency and Productivity

By automating routine tasks with a document control management system, teams see a reduction in manual labor and an increase in operational efficiency. This leads to an uptick in efficiency and productivity across the board.

Quick access to documents propels project workflows forward at an accelerated pace. The automated system prevents the creation of redundant documents, which saves both time and resources.

2. Improved Compliance and Risk Management

In terms of compliance or risk management, an engineering document management system ensures strict adherence to industry standards and legal mandates. That means a lowered risk of incurring penalties while increasing the speed of operations.

Then, with organized records, companies are prepared for any type of audit at any point in time. Within that structure, the system safeguards sensitive information through fortified security measures. It is a way to prevent data breaches while maintaining confidentiality.

3. Better Collaboration and Communication

Document sharing and collective access naturally encourage a collaborative work environment. The document version control system provides a single hub for team members to share documents.

Additionally, real-time updates continuously update all stakeholders on any changes or advancements in the project, which means everyone is always on the same page. Through remote access, team members can access documents from any location – encouraging a dynamic and flexible work culture.

4. Scalability and Flexibility

A well-implemented DCS means increased efficiency and increased efficiency means the potential to expand. The system readily adapts to growing document volumes and shifting business needs.

Meanwhile, customizable workflows cater to the specific demands of projects and can integrate with other business systems. The dynamic nature of the software helps forward-thinking organizations find their advantages.

Choosing the Right Document Control System for Your Business 

When evaluating the best DCS for a business, there are several factors to analyze. It is about finding the balance between addressing current needs and understanding the potential for future growth. The right engineering document management software (EDMS) can be transformative.

Key considerations include the following:

  • Scalability: The system must be able to handle increasing document volumes and overall organizational growth.
  • User-Friendliness: Look for an intuitive interface and easy navigation for quick adoption and minimal training requirements.
  • Integration Capabilities: Think about existing business systems and how a DCS could integrate while maintaining process and data integrity.

Selecting a DCS that meets these criteria means finding a solution that will improve the current operations and workflow but position the business for future success.

Accruent’s Meridian: Your Go-To System for Document Control

For a leading document control system, consider Accruent’s Meridian. It offers a comprehensive solution for managing documents throughout their lifecycle. The software ensures documents are easily accessible, securely managed, and in compliance with industry standards.

Accruent's Meridian Dashboard, displaying project data and document control system information.

Here are the specific benefits of Meridian and why it is considered the gold standard of DCS.

  • Centralized Repository: Meridian provides a single source for all documents. This streamlines access, management, and retrieval across the organization – no matter the location.
  • Lifecycle Management: The system oversees the entire document lifecycle – from creation, review, approval, and publication to archiving. This ensures each phase meets industry standards.
  • Accessibility: Accruent’s DCS ensures documents are easily accessible to authorized users. This facilitates quick decision-making and process efficiency.
  • Security: Robust security measures protect sensitive information from unauthorized access or breaches.
  • Compliance: Maintain documents with regulatory standards and reduce the risk of penalties. Always be ready for an audit.

Accruent's Meridian works well across industries like manufacturing, oil & gas, and pharmaceuticals. It helps companies stay compliant while seamlessly integrating with industry-specific software, such as CAD systems or ERP solutions.

For instance, AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company, uses Meridian to access and manage more than 300,000 CAD drawings. Additionally, over 625 employees use the software for managing files such as vendor catalogs, equipment supply manuals, P&IDs, and asset data.

We chose the Accruent solution to support the rapid adoption of 3D modeling tools by the industry and our customers. The seamless integration between Meridian and SolidWorks allows us to provide our customer with much more intelligent design while easily managing changes to this information."
Bill Eager, Drawing Management Senior Engineer

Utilize Meridian to Unlock Success 

Unlock the potential of operational excellence with Accruent’s Meridian, the definitive solution for document control. Streamline processes, ensure compliance, and enhance efficiency across an organization. Propel the business into the future with confidence.

Ready to revolutionize document management? Explore Meridian’s powerful features and schedule your demo today.

Document Control Systems FAQs

What does a document management system (DMS) control?

A document management system oversees the organization, storage, management, and tracking of electronic documents. It controls the creation, approval, and revision of these documents while ensuring secure access and compliance with industry standards. Through the automation of workflows, it encourages efficient document handling and collaboration.

What is an example of document control?

Think about a situation in which a construction company scores a new contract. Document control is the process where project plans are reviewed, revised, and approved. Each version of the plan is stored in a centralized system, with access given only to authorized personnel. The system tracks all revisions and approvals. This means the most current plans are always used.

Which is the best document control software?

Identifying the “best” document control software depends on the specific needs of a business, such as the type of industry, scale, or feature requirements. Solutions like Accruent’s Meridian are highly regarded due to their comprehensive document management capabilities. The software caters to various industries with features for collaboration, version control, and compliance management.