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What are the 6 best practices for engineering document management?

Folder organization, versioning, traceability, approval etc. Discover all the best practices for engineering document management

If you are reading this article, your office desk is probably under a pile of paper documents that you can no longer handle. In the AEC sector each project is usually followed by a mountain of documents that in theory should be easily archived and identified when necessary. In most cases, however, finding the right document without wasting time doesn’t come easy.

Document management, when supported by an engineering document management software, not only manages documents effectively, but also maintains data accuracy and integrity, and improves productivity.

Here are 6 best practices for engineering document management. Let’s see how to apply them effectively according to the context.

What are the 6 best practices for engineering document management?

Statistical studies have shown that when documents are stored and handled on paper, more than one working day is spent searching for and organising information. Moving to a digital engineering document management system can therefore increase a company ‘s productivity and efficiency.

In the AEC sector, proper document management is very important throughout the life cycle of the asset, as it contributes to improving security, protecting intellectual property or personal information.

To avoid costly document management errors, I recommend following these 6 best practices:

  1. Name files and folders in an orderly and consistent manner:
    even if underestimated, this aspect is of fundamental importance to ensure efficient cooperation. It is useful, therefore, to establish from the start a template that guides team members in how they should structure document names. This provides consistency and coherence across the organization and makes collaborative document management easy.
  2. Reduce confusion of versions:
    another particularly useful advice for document management in the AEC sector is to work as much as possible on the same file. Changes, even those made simultaneously by several professionals, are saved in a new version of the document without the need for additions and new uploads.
  3. Making documents and signatures traceable:
    it is important to monitor the documents, manage at what stage of their life cycle they are by identifying if they are active, archived or ready to be deleted. Documentation must be kept up-to-date, especially if we consider the degree of responsibility that different team members have on it. Document management on cloud can boost productivity and bring up to 86% savings in documentation expenses.
  4. Define approval workflow:
    a simplification of the process of creating, updating and archiving documents is necessary to obtain a good document management process. It would therefore be useful to set up a sort of approval workflow that will not only ask the team to view and sign a document, but will also show if and when it was done. This will identify any bottlenecks and reduce approval times by as much as 80%.
  5. Allow access from mobile devices:
    mobile devices are no longer anchored to the traditional features belonging to a phone. This allows us to solve many issues, even when we are not in the office. So why not also make document management accessible from a mobile device? This would mean that workers do not have to wait to get back to the office or have a PC with them to manage documents, leading to a shortening of approval times and a reduction of versioning issues.
  6. Storage:
    for legal issues, many companies have to archive and store documents for very precise periods of time, often even very long.  Some companies cannot even delete the documents, or some of them, and for this reason they are often forced to find dedicated spaces where to physically archive all the paperwork. Cloud document managment​​ totally revolutionizes the way of working; you can store as many documents as you want and for as long as you want in the cloud with the advantage of making them easily accessible to anyone from anywhere in the world.
best practices per il document management

best practices for document management

Why apply engineering document management to your work?

In this article, we have reviewed the best practices to follow. Now you may be wondering why you should apply an engineering document management process to your work.

There are many benefits to implementing this process. Let us see below the most important:

  • secure and organized cloud storage of all documents;
  • accessibility and retrieval of documents from any device and from anywhere;
  • management of versioning of the various project files;

To obtain these advantages, I recommend using software for engineering document management that can manage the document part of engineering, architecture and construction projects. Through this online software, you can store and organize all your project documentation correctly, completely in the cloud, ensuring time savings and avoiding budget overruns.