Robbert Geertsema, Assai’s resident Document Control specialist shares the common pitfalls of document control and how a system such as Assai can help…

1. Underestimating the importance of document control

Despite its importance for both risk management and providing tracking and accountability for projects, document control is often forgotten between other disciplines, such as engineering or project management.

2. Lack of investment
Robbert identifies a lack of investment in document control, both financial and in terms of human resources, as being one of the main challenges facing this discipline. In addition, when customers buy Assai’s DCMS software, the Document Controller is often left out of the decision-making process.

3. Non-responsive engineers
Document Controllers are often required to expedite both suppliers and internal parties in order to ensure that documents are received in time, thus avoiding project delays. In Assai, you can generate an email notification to remind external contractors when documents are overdue. This process can even be automated so that a reminder email is generated when a document exceeds a contractual range.

4. The only engineer who asks for a hard copy
Over the course of his career, Robbert has seen the document control function go through a huge digital transformation. He recalls one of his first projects at Assai working with an engineering firm on the building of a new chemical processing plant. At the beginning of the project, he was working with lead engineers who only wanted hard copies of documents, but over the course of a year, many of this older generation of engineers had left and were replaced by a new generation of engineers who only wanted digital documents.

5. Engineers who ask for the latest revision when these are easily available in a system such as Assai.
In Assai, powerful search functionality (queries, trees) and the fact that the latest revision always shows on top, not only reduces the risk of users working from the wrong document but also leads to significant time savings. Some engineers put this at a time saving of up to 2 hours per day (that’s up to 500 hours per year!), meaning that engineers can focus on what they do best.

6. Colleagues not informing the document controller when sending documents to a client.
Uploading and sharing documents is a key functionality within Assai. It contains a robust, built-in transmittals solution to maximize efficiency and accuracy during this critical process. Once a transmittal has been submitted the document controller is notified of the transmittal receipt. Assai’s automation and record keeping allows Document Controllers to control the flow of documents, rather than be the flow of documents.

7. Inaccurate data
In Robbert’s opinion, although many actions, such as transmittals, can now be done automatically, companies will always need a Document Controller to ensure that things are being done correctly. Creating templates for uploads ensures that you can quickly and effectively capture the correct information when a transmittal is being prepared. With Assai, Document Controllers are free to optimise and control the whole process, rather than processing or handling the documents themselves.