The Importance Of Document Management
Robert S. Michaud, P.E.
March 11, 2018
Knowledge is power and we live in the information age, so the mastery of this information translates to effectiveness in nearly all aspects of our life and work. What would you do if someone tried to take your data from you? Depending on the nature of the data, it could be very concerning. Yet, many businesses are losing data regularly simply due to the ravages of time. Do you recognize the photo above? We haven’t produced true “blue prints” in decades, but that doesn’t mean they don’t contain useful information about your buildings, assets and infrastructure. However, they are rapidly deteriorating, and at some point they may no longer be legible.
But drawings don’t need to be old to be of concern. Many organizations lack an effective filing system to effectively manage their drawings, construction documents, specifications and other important facilities data. You probably have stacks or rolls of these drawings or documents that are squirreled away in a corner or jammed into drawer. Maybe you know exactly where each drawing is and that they are in good condition and well maintained. You would be in a very small minority, if that is the case. For the vast majority of organizations, document management is a challenge that never seems to float to the top of the priority list until a project arises where this information is really needed.
You probably also have a combination of drawings and documents in electronic format as well as paper format. Chances are also good that they are stored in different locations and there is no easy way to search for both electronic and paper documents easily, at the same time. This makes any building or construction project or renovation a particularly difficult challenge. Depending on the extent of the project, the information you need may not be found in the more recent electronic documents. Ideally, they would be stored together in a searchable, electronic format that allows you to make new copies at any time without risking damage to the originals.
Don’t wait until you really need those answers. Take the time to organize and digitize your drawings and documents. Better yet, utilize a database to capture these digitized drawings and make them easier to search and find. If you do not have the tools or time to do this yourself, consider hiring a company that specializes in this. The benefit to you and your organization will pay dividends for years to come.