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Document Control Practices: Generic and Entity-Specific

 

Document Control professionals around the world have questions and concerns about a wide variety of Document Control topics.

 

Those questions can be more or less specific, depending on each case and on its circumstances.

 

 

There can be four levels of questions about Document Control, as it is shown on the below figure:

 

 

Level 1: Document Control Principles and Philosophy

 

The majority of Document Controllers can draw from this level of knowledge, because it is generic enough to cover all cases and all concepts.

 

Document Control professionals can help each other, regardless of their entity of origin.

 

 

Level 2: Environment / Activity Sector Specifics

The practices at this level depend on many factors, including:

 

  • Whether your entity is a business or another type of entity, such as a government agency or a non-profit organisation
  • The practices of the activity sector – eg revision of pages only, as opposed to entire documents in the aviation industry
  • The perceived level of risk associated with the activity
  • Whether the activity involves construction, fabrication or any type of physical activity with risks of physical injury
  • etc.

 

External help in this case is possible for questions that are not precisely specific to the activity sector. In any case, help can be sought from people who are familiar with the activity sector.

 

Level 3: Entity Specifics

 

At this level, the practices are specific to the entity wherein you work. For example, the numbering of documents is specific to your entity, the filing structure is specific to the needs of your entity, the workflows depend on the roles present in your entity.

 

 

At this level, if you have questions for professionals who are outside of your entity, you need to provide them with a lot of information before they can provide solutions.

 

Level 4: Imposed Specifics

  

Imposed specifics are rules, practices, requirements and preferences that are added by an external entity to your entity, on top of your entity’s specifics. 

 

Those external entities can be clients, regulatory bodies, government agencies, headquarters of your entity, standardisation entities (eg ISO, BS etc), the law.

 

In this case, your entity may have to comply with these imposed specifics on a temporary (eg a project) or on a permanent basis.

 

At this level, if you have questions for professionals who are outside of your entity, you need to provide them with a lot of information before they can provide solutions.

 

This information includes the specifics of your entity and the specifics imposed by external entities.

 

The answers you may seek are so specific to the combination of these specifics that someone from outside of your entity will not have ready answers for you.

 

 

Think about the level of your questions

 

Whenever Document Control professionals seek external help for some of their questions, concerns or problems, they must think about what is specific to their case and what kind of information they need to provide to whoever is providing help.

 

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