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Vendor Document Management is Different. And Different is OK.In the normal development of an organization, the handling of digital information takes a scenic route.

As the number of files grow, administrators create structure and rules to handle files – naming protocols, storage locations, file groupings, folder creation rules, revision handling etc. As more documents clog the system, the rules intensify. More time is required to train users, police compliance, fight for buy-in, and fix mistakes. More users start wanting access to various files, which sets off another round for training, policing and mistakes. Eventually, the system becomes unsupportable. The rules take too much time away from users, and administrators start to lose the compliance battle as users start taking work offline.

Then document management appears. While users suffer slightly from less flexibility, they no longer need to spend time on compliance. The rewards are easily visible, and the positive feedback loop drives compliance. Solved.

When we consider vendor documentation on capital projects, even the most robust document management systems face new challenges. For vendor documentation:

  1. You must now manage a document workflow system. The document must be routed to various internal approvers, and returned (multiple times) to external parties (suppliers).
  2. There is unique meta data to create and manage
    • SDRL codes,
    • Multiple document numbers (supplier, project, subvendor),
    • Equipment Tags,
    • More ?
  3. You are generally operating without any formal list of requirements.