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With the construction and service industry moving more and more towards a digital environment, businesses are eliminating pen and paper to opt for a cloud, paperless office. This movement towards modernization has also driven the need for an effective document management system that can meet the needs of your business, while integrating the core facets of your business, such as accounting, service and job costing.
What is a Document Management System?
A document management system (DMS) is an electronic system for managing and organizing documents related to your business. In the construction and service industry, these documents typically include AP invoices, purchase orders, change orders, work orders, and human resource documents.
Why Would My Construction and Service Business Need a Document Management System?
With a document management system, you can essentially be paperless, providing your company with immense savings on print, postage and storage space annually. Beyond being a mobile, centralized repository for all the documents related to your business, an advanced document management system can also help you streamline your workflows and approval processes – in short, make your business more efficient and improve internal controls. While it may seem like a relatively simple system to invest in, there are some key features that every business should consider prior to selecting a document management system.
5 Features Every Good Document Management System Should Have
To help you select the best document management system for your business, we’ve a compiled a checklist of must-haves, plus the businesses advantages of having these features in your document management system.
The main and most obvious advantage of storing electronically with a document management system versus storing paper documents in a filing room or office space would be the increased accessibility to your documents in and outside of the office. This may mean eliminating truck rolls for technicians dropping off or picking up paperwork from the office or continuing business as usual for your office staff to work from home in circumstances where they can’t physically be in the office.
Instead of manually sifting through paperwork in a filing cabinet and wasting valuable time, you can accelerate the search process for finding specific documents electronically by having a document management system that has optimized searchability. Searchability means that you have a wide variety of options for finding the documents quickly, you should be able to search using the file name, type of file (ex. Purchase Order), content inside the file (ex. Invoice amount), Category (ex. Specific job or Customer), and who uploaded/created the file.
Full Integration and Automation with Your Construction Software
A good document management system will be fully-integrated into all the features of your construction management software, allowing better visibility and collaboration between owners, office staff, service technicians, field foremen, project managers and even customers and suppliers.
In a paper filing system, there is less transparency between departments as some managers may not be aware of certain invoices or purchases until they are signing the checks for payment. Hard documents passed down from one department to the next can be easily lost or overlooked even with manual processes in place. With an electronic document management system, you can stop invoices from being posted if they are not yet approved, saving your employees the headache of fixing the allocation after or crediting the invoice.
You can enhance your workflows, accelerate approval processes and eliminate double-entry of information by automating the movement of your documents through different parts of your construction management software and departments with a document management system.
As a benefit of automating processes with your document management system, it is recommended to include a standard checklist of rules and guidelines for business and government compliance to ensure all government protocols are met prior to approving or submitting documents. From paying service technicians to completing all the necessary paperwork for a service job or construction project, businesses can save themselves a great deal of time by implementing these protocols earlier and eliminating the need to resubmit or revisit documentation.
It is essential to retrieve and identify the latest version of any document to ensure there is no miscommunication or improper work executed as a result of the incorrect information found. In construction, version control is especially important when it comes viewing invoices or change orders. A good document management system will not only include the latest version of your documents, but previous versions as well with a history of what changes were made, when and by who to provide you with a complete picture of the document you are retrieving and eliminate any guesswork.
Get accurate document tracking by using your document management system as a single source of document storage and retrieval. You can also eliminate the confusion from handling multiple versions of paperwork, as well as administrative mistakes associated from working in multiple systems, and completing and re-entering handwritten paperwork.
A high priority for all businesses should be maintaining the data security of the business and its employees. A good document management system will include authorization permitted to specific users or departments of the organization to protect any confidential business information such as specific job information or employee’s personal details from being improperly shared. In the event of a physical or natural disaster such as a fire or a flood, it may also be easier for IT staff to retrieve information that otherwise might be lost with a paper filing system through backups or on the cloud.
After switching to an electronic document management system, many businesses proudly report new found office space and other business opportunities from eliminating filing cabinetry and filing rooms. In addition to no longer needing to lease or own extra office space for filing, businesses can also eliminate the additional costs of purchasing paper and ink cartridges.
Watch Now: How to Accelerate and Enhance Business Processes with a Built-In Document Management System