Centralize content to improve data flow, security

Tips to help you tame the ‘documentation beast’ on your plant floor

01/03/2012


Document management and control are critical components of a plant’s quality operations. Good manufacturing practice, FDA regulations, ISO standards, and other regulatory and compliance mandates require that companies manage versions, control employee access, facilitate training initiatives, and implement appropriate change control procedures for operational documents.

Quality systems without integrated document control processes can put plants at a competitive disadvantage and significantly increase the risk of noncompliance with standards and regulations associated with cGMP, ISO, and the FDA, among others. Document management systems provide a framework for centrally organizing, managing, and tracking the important documents, information, and processes typical in plant operations, and support lean manufacturing practices and quality management programs that ensure efficient and ISO-compliant operations.

As plant operations expand, the demand for increased information storage capacity and process improvement will inevitably follow. Therefore, it's important to select and implement a document control system that can seamlessly scale as business grows.

Implementing a security framework to enforce role-based policies and document access permissions establishes the specific level of access granted to each user, helping to ensure that only authorized employees can access sensitive or confidential documents. Controlling employee access and permissions is an important aspect of compliance and version control, as well as a critical element of processes associated with the approval, release, and distribution of critical information assets. Well-defined access permissions and associated policies and processes lead directly to a reduction in errors and mistakes on the plant floor due to the use of out-of-date or otherwise incorrect documentation.

It's also important to select a document management solution that provides a straightforward means for authorized administrators (not just highly technical IT personnel) to update, refine, and add additional document and data types, as well as workflows and business processes that affect the business. Role-based policies can also be employed to monitor and control administrative tasks, and alert appropriate parties when appropriate.

Also, consider automating and enforcing specific document-related processes to comply with ISO and other industry standards and regulations, such as document review and approval processes, which will also further increase efficiency and worker productivity while fostering continuous improvement and collaboration.

Greg Milliken’s full article on ‘Taming the Documentation Beast’ is one of the topics in Plant Engineering’s Forecast issue, which will be published in mid-February. To receive the digital edition of Plant Engineering in time for the Forecast issue, which also will feature the 2011 Plant Engineering Salary Survey, subscribe here (it's free!).



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Go deep: Automation tackles offshore oil challenges; Ethernet advice; Wireless robotics; Product exclusives; Digital edition exclusives
Lost in the gray scale? How to get effective HMIs; Best practices: Integrate old and new wireless systems; Smart software, networks; Service provider certifications
Fixing PID: Part 2: Tweaking controller strategy; Machine safety networks; Salary survey and career advice; Smart I/O architecture; Product exclusives
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Look at the basics of industrial wireless technologies, wireless concepts, wireless standards, and wireless best practices with Daniel E. Capano of Diversified Technical Services Inc.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.