Why all the documentation, procedures and work instructions?

Document Control eQMS Blog

“Would your know-how survive if a few key employees left your company?”

Why don't you take up this challenge and evaluate the situation in your own organization? To what extent does the knowledge and know-how in your organization depend on (certain) people?


For the past thirty-five years, Mark has worked in the metal industry at company X. He is a seasoned veteran who knows all the tricks and tweaks. He can practically operate the machines blindfolded. Working at his lathe for so many years, Mark has seen numerous colleagues come and go. And it was always Mark that trained and took care of the young apprentices. But one day, Mark didn’t show up for work. He had a serious accident and was in a deep coma. Only now did the manager realize how important Mark’s knowledge and experience were to the company?

He had mistakenly assumed that Mark would always be around to fix everything and keep it all working. If only he’d asked Mark to write all that knowledge down. If only he had detailed instructions and procedures clearly explaining how to do this or that. But now it’s too late...

An over-exaggerated disaster scenario, you might think. Blown out of proportion? Not really. Organizations today are full of “Marks” walking around with essential bits of corporate knowledge stored away in their brains. KNOWLEDGE = POWER. It’s important that the knowledge present in our organizations is documented and protected. It’s the only way to ensure the continuity of our organizations. So write down procedures detailing the various steps of each process where necessary. But don’t get carried away. Thick books full of complex and almost unintelligible procedures will not often be used. Furthermore, they’re very difficult to keep up to date.

So where should you begin?

It’s a good idea to start by describing a few processes that are critical to the overall production process or where basic or general knowledge is not good enough.

What should you do next? Invest in a good document control tool such as our Document Control to keep track of all your documents.

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