Quality Management and the science/art of version control

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QHSE
Version control Qooling blog

The version control system of your Quality Management System is very important. Whenever an audit is performed the most common question is:

“How do you know that is the latest version of your document?”

This easy question is pretty difficult to answer. I mean we all have a certain methodology to increase the version numbering, but how do you know it is accurate. We have seen several solutions/answers in order to provide a satisfying solution to this problem. Down below are some potential solutions.

Document Management System

There are a lot of information management systems available to manage document control. Some good examples are Sharepoint and Windchill. The biggest issue is that these systems are relatively expensive. Furthermore, implementing these solutions not only change the version control process but they have a significant impact on your organization. This results in a long implementation process and therefore even higher costs because of the loss of effective hours by the employees of the company and increased consulting costs.

Register

The low cost solution to solve this issue is by creating a register where you track all the changes made to the several documents. The register can be set up in excel/access or any other type of database.

The idea is that whenever a document is edited you update the version number and also add the date when you altered the document. As a result you can always cross check the version number on the document with the latest version in the register. This makes the whole document handling process more secure. However, this setup is very cumbersome and prone to human mistakes. The QHSE employees need to have a strict discipline to change the register every time a document changes.

Tooling

Next to handling the version control of documents manually or with a general Document Management System, more specialized tools can be used. These tools focus on managing and maintaining the complete QHSE management system. As part of this these tools provide a versioning system for documents. Next to the versioning of documents a whole range of other feature are embedded to support the QHSE management system, such as: Issue tracking, Audit support, etc. Qooling is such a tool who automates the proces of version control and therefor allows your to work on more important things.

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