Are you still using paper and spreadsheets to record and track critical information about your business? You're not alone! Document management experts estimate that 90% of corporate data resides on paper or in an unstructured format!
The true cost of paper-based quality management systems is quite varied when you consider that using paper creates a vast ripple effect on companies. It extends all the way from how papers get filed to how a manager communicates with employees. What's problematic is some of these costs are possibly invisible until you fully understand the duties of your document manager.
That's why it's important to always analyze your company and processes if you've used paper documents for years. You may discover certain procedures your managers and other employees use out of habit cost you more money and time than you realized.
Finding what the true cost is of a paper-based quality management system can lead you to some surprising findings if you've stuck with this process for years. You may still think using paper is easier since it's so convenient to write something down in a hurry. Employees may think the same thing, or maybe not. They may just go along with your management concept because they're so used to it.
Government requirements from the Food and Drug Administration to regulators such as the International Organization of Standards (i.e., ISO 9001) mandate that companies execute and thoroughly document employee training. These requirements ensure that employees know how to do their jobs in a way which will meet industry guidelines. The documentation provides a paper trail that can be audited to find gaps in the training. The system will minimize the risk of noncompliance with quality and safety standards.
Here's where the gap between automated computer-based documentation and paper based systems documentation becomes glaringly apparent. Post hoc explanations are of little value when an important gap in training leads to a mishap. The system auditor will look at the record. Auditors will need documented proof of compliance with training standards. Paper documents are hard to trace and collect and for the auditor "if it isn't documented, it didn't happen."
The life of a training supervisor in a paper-based system isn't an easy career when stuck in a situation that has no efficient way to manage a regulated environment. Your own training supervisor arguably has the most stressful job of all when you realize the magnitude behind keeping training records up to date. However, that's only starters once you place other aspects behind training management into perspective.