What is Document Change Control?
Document change control is an important part of any business, mainly one that offers goods. Any company that produces a tangible product has documentation that is required by law to be produced with that product. That document may be instructional so that people know how to use the product safely, it also may be educational so that people know what materials were used in the production of the item to prevent allergic reaction or other issues. Regardless of the reason, these documents must be updated constantly in order to keep up with regulations and therefore a change control process must exist for document changes. When you change manufacturers or make updates to a product, then all of that must be reflected in your documentation and it must be done in a way that is easily accessible to potential customers as well as to regulators.
The first step in document change control is document management. This is most likely organized by a specific person or team and that is crucial in order to know the last updates, where the old documents are archived, how things are moved when necessary and how you can pull things up seamlessly. The act of managing documents can save time but also save a lot of money because those documents can cause lawsuits and other problems in distribution and sales if they are not easy to access for customers or if any of the regular updates are missed along the way. Knowing how these documents are organized from the beginning will make any change process easier to implement in the future, so make sure that you have a trusted team in place to care for them.
Additionally, there is a lot of software out there for document management and if you have an organization with too many documents for humans to manage on their own then investing in one of these programs could be beneficial. There are software programs available that will even give you reminders for when you need to update certain things but also allow you to manage the location and categorization of the existing documents that you have. This can also make the process of making changes to your documentation much easier when that time comes. Of course, even with the software, you still need to have a trusted team in place who can monitor that software, check for bugs and make sure that human error has not input bad data into the program. Otherwise, you may as well not have a system in place at all. As long as you have the right team and software in place, document change control should not be as overwhelming as it sounds!
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