Oh, the joy of the cover sheet, or title page, or cover page, or why-the-heck-do-I-have-to-do-this pages. Why does this painful part of the document submission process exist at all? Lets work backwards.

Assume an engineer in an operating plant needs an instruction manual for a piece of equipment. With a document management system installed, she should be able to enter the tag number of the equipment, and see every relevant document.

Uhh – how does that connect to the vendor who is churning away, putting cover sheets inside every single document they submit?

It’s all about connecting the documents to the right place. And a lack of automation.

Doc controllers in engineering companies need to have extra information about each document, like the SDR code, the PO number, the equipment list etc. This allows them to create the links in their doc system, and permits the functionality in the example above. In the digital world, this information is called metadata.

In all cases of metadata, the information must be highly structured, delivered in a consistent format, and be imbedded in the source. Generally metadata is not visible when looking at the actual document. Things like filename, author, last modified date, size, etc are all regular pieces of metadata for every file on a computer, but they aren’t shown inside the actual document.

In the capital project world, there are two problems. First, the engineering companies are responsible to ensure this metadata is accurate. They don’t create any of the documents, so they must have a way to review the metadata being supplied by other parties. Second, the engineering companies want to make it as easy (non-technical) as possible, for vendors to supply this data. As a result of these two issues, the title sheet was born. It provides a non-technical way for vendors to provide the required metadata (embedded in the document) while allowing document controllers to review and process the information in a human readable form.

But. There is a better way.

DocBoss systematically creates the document register for every job with a combination of order data, SDRL requirements, and some input from the vendor. The resulting structureallows us to create, and attach, perfect metadata to every vendor document. We eliminate the enormous amount of time it takes to create and attach cover sheets, and we ensure metadata is 100% accurate. Doc controllers need only that the correct document was put in the correct place, vs verifying layout, metadata, and then manually entering the document (and all metadata) into their own EDMS (Engineering Document Management System). With DocBoss, both docs and data can flow directly into the engineering (or owner) doc system. No data entry/upload required by doc control.

While we add the integration to various engineering companies, DocBoss has invested to comply with the status quo (the existing specs). We put the metadata into the human readable form, i.e. we automatically create, fill out, and append the company mandated cover sheets for every document. However, as more companies look to improve the time and accuracy it takes to manage vendor data, we’ll eventually see everyone adopt the electronic exchange, and leave the metadata to the computers.

The days of the cover sheet are numbered.

 

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