Advantages of a DMS in Compliance Management

In the year 2023, it goes without saying that data is one of the greatest assets an organization has, and managing that data is both an opportunity and a challenge. To address that challenge, a whole sub-industry of software solutions, systems, tools, and platforms has sprung up in recent years, all designed to help companies capture and leverage their data to improve business outcomes. For the modern engineering projects organization, no software has come under more scrutiny than the Engineering Document Management System, or EDMS.

What Are the Advantages of an EDMS in today’s Business Landscape?

Everything from reduced costs to improved collaboration to assured compliance. In this post, I will focus on compliance and quality.

What is Compliance?

In a nutshell, compliance is the process of ensuring that companies fulfill (comply with) the standards they are required to meet by their clients, partners, and local government entities. Managing documentation is a significant part of compliance management, and that’s why a digital document management system can be a great asset. It converts tedious manual tasks into no-stress automated digital workflows that can be built into the EDMS itself, minimizing the risk of error and oversight in day-to-day document handling.

Let’s take the example of a well-known global standard: ISO.

As most of us know, ISO is the International Organization for Standardization. It is an international non-governmental organization comprised of various national standards bodies that develop and publish a range of proprietary, commercial, and industrial standards.

ISO is the global marker for an organization’s quality, security, and efficiency, and as such, it is a benchmark to which every organization aspires. Over the years, ISO has created various certifications that organizations can earn to confirm that the standards have been met. In the context of the EPC industry, organizations desiring to be ISO-compliant have created quality management systems (QMS) that lay out a formal set of processes for the management of documents in an ISO-compliant way.

One of the core requirements of ISO 9001 is that the company follows dynamic processes rather than static standards in their pursuit of ISO 9001. This poses a challenge to the typical EPC organization, which deals with hundreds of thousands of documents. However, with the advent of DMS and EDMS in recent years, organizations of all shapes and sizes have been forced to adopt these tools to manage and maintain records, allow audits, and take corrective/preventive actions as required within their QMS. A digital document management system is the most effective way to enforce a QMS, allowing users to collaborate, share, update, and maintain information within the prescribed standards. It also provides data security, a major plus point in today’s digital age.

How Exactly Does an EDMS Help Ensure Compliance?

By removing the risk of error and improving efficiency in document management processes. An EDMS streamlines the managing and sharing of documents across all users, enabling reliable access to information, which in turn helps improve the company’s overall productivity and profitability.

Of course, no single EDMS can ensure 100% compliance management because no one software can ensure that all the requirements prescribed in ISO 9001 are met correctly. However, finding the right EDMS for your organization can certainly ensure adherence to the most important requirements, like setting up automated audit trails and audit logs, which helps create a culture of accountability and transparency within the organization. Therefore, if an engineering or EPC organization is looking to become more compliant with local and international standards, the best decision it can make is to invest in a good document management system, preferably one with integrated workflows built-in. This way, the company knows that its compliance management strategy, or its enforcement of QMS, has become an automated rather than a manually-driven process.

There are other advantages linked to compliance management that a document management system offers, and these directly impact the business even outside the context of compliance. Consider how a good QMS will offer project stakeholders the right degree of access to the right information at the right time, and give managers the necessary degree of control over access to the organization’s intellectual property. With such an EDMS, system administrators will always be aware of who is accessing what information. This creates trust between stakeholders and can help build up the company’s reputation, allowing it to win new business more easily.

In conclusion, as long as achieving ISO certification or compliance is considered a noteworthy accomplishment within the EPC industry, the value of an EDMS or document management system cannot be overstated.

Sajith Nair

Sajith is a Graduate Engineer and certified Project Management Professional from PMI who carries 30 years of industry experience. He has deep domain expertise in EPC who worked with major EPC Contractors and owner organizations in the Oil & Gas sector, including Petrofac, KNPC, KIPIC, Chevron, Almeer, BPL Ltd etc. Sajith has executed EPC projects valuing around 500 M USD and has been associated with a 16 billion USD new refinery project in Kuwait.