Document management is an approach that groups together items that either have similar individuality or are sourced from similar supply markets. These categories are then managed as a complete value chain (from end user to the furthest tier suppliers) with the objectives of lowering costs, improving service and stimulating innovation. Here are some basic tips for kick-starting your document management program.
1. Obtain a senior management mandate. The category management approach will in all probability be different to the approach your organization currently takes. This will involve change and as with any change initiative it is vital that you get a mandate from senior management who can then help direct policy and remove any organizational barriers you might find.
2. Develop the range. The starting point for document or otherwise file management is to get a clear picture of what you currently spend. Building a spend cube (a database that lets you cut out it into views of who receives what, on what, where and for how much) is a great starting point for deciding what categories you should put into the program. Do not just replicate past contracts. Look instead to see how different sub-categories can be combined.
3. Have a process. When you are going to win the hearts and minds of those who need to be involved in your document management program (particularly users of the products and services) you are going to require to be able to show them that you have a process for methods you will go about the task.
4. Decide how it will fit with contract management. One outcome of data management will be new contracts. It is significant that you think about how these will be relayed to those who will be responsible for managing them and also how you will involve them in agreeing the contracts.
5. Decide how it will fit with supplier relationship management. File organization results in suppliers being selected who have the right aptitude and characteristics to meet your needs. Employee relationship management should develop your key suppliers. Obviously, it is vital that these two functions work in harmony with the outcome of each informing the other party.
6. Check that you possess sufficient capacity and capability. Document Management Systems requires a relatively rare mix of skills. In addition to data expertise, file managers need skills in problem solving, project planning and relationship building to name just three. Before you press your foot on the accelerator too fast, it would be wise to check that you have sufficient employees with these skills otherwise you may need to prioritize your categories.
7. Communicate. As mentioned above, Document Management Systems are as much a change agenda as anything. The success of any agenda of change depends on the effectiveness of keeping everyone up to speed with your progress. So have a communications strategy and deliver it well.
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