Document Control is a discipline and a job role that is now widely implemented, especially in industries involving engineering and construction activities.
But many actually struggle to define it in a simple and effective way.
Document Control manages documents throughout their lifecycle
In a very simple way, we could define it as organising documents, data and information in a consistent, standardised and controlled manner.
We can also say that document control is the set of measures taken to regulate the preparation, review, approval, release, distribution, access, storage, security, alteration, change, withdrawal or disposal of documents... so, pretty much everything about documents!
Document control is a requirement from the ISO 9001 standard
Document control is also a requirement from the ISO(*) 9001 international standard (Quality Management Systems - Requirements). This standard states notably that:
"A documented procedure shall be established to define the controls needed:
- to approve documents for adequacy prior to issue,
- to review and update as necessary and re-approve documents,
- to ensure that changes and the current revision status of documents are identified,
- to ensure that relevant versions of applicable documents are available at points of use,
- to ensure that documents remain legible and readily identifiable,
- to ensure that documents of external origin are identified and their distribution controlled, and to prevent the unintended use of obsolete documents, and to apply suitable identification to them if they are retained for any purpose."
(*) ISO = International Organisation for Standardisation
Source: Extract from ISO 9001 standard. The complete latest version of this standard can be purchased here: iso.org
Document Control is critical to any business
Document control is key to any business. It is a crucial element to ensure efficiency, performance, reliability, traceability, quality and safety.
If you are starting or pursuing a career in Document Control, you may be interested in our articles on: