SPC Guide
First Word


Quality Applications

Powerway Inc. Documentation Suite


  • Common information pools ensure consistency of content from document to document.
  • Distribution lists track who has access to printed copies of instructions.
  • Document Manager provides complete document revision history and a distinct audit trail.

Document Management Software Optimizes ISO 9002 Registration
Powerway Inc. Documentation Suite

To optimize ISO 9002-registration efforts, management at Stein Inc.--providers of on-site material management services and slag processing for the steel industry--selected Powerway Inc.'s software suite for document management and creation. The suite includes Powerway Procedure Writer, Powerway Instruction Writer and Powerway Document Manager.

 Through ISO 9002 implementation, Stein management hoped to increase production efficiency, improve quality and demonstrate a visible commitment to excellence. After studying the standard and discovering the paper-intensive nature of quality system implementation, Stein managers became convinced that both the speed and effectiveness of their effort would be improved with the Powerway suite's ability to assist with document management and control, which was especially needed due to Stein's multiple site operations. Although some of the documents would be the same for all sites, many documents, such as work instructions, would vary from site to site.

 The software's first two components automate the process of producing procedures and work instructions by providing a preformatted, prestructured document architecture. The third component is a document management system that's used to manage all business-critical documents, including those created in the Powerway quality-management software and those created in other third-party programs, such as word processors, spreadsheets and CAD systems. The software automates the preparation of the documents themselves to ensure consistency and adherence to ISO 9000 requirements. It also routes documents to applicable personnel and alerts them when documents require attention.

 Because the quality system documentation must be accessed by personnel at various steel-mill locations, the hardware and networking infrastructure was another issue Stein had to address. Initially, PCs linked with conventional phone lines were installed at its headquarters and at each of the mill sites. When this system's performance was found to be unsatisfactory, Stein's system administrator began working closely with Powerway's technical support personnel. They suggested a different configuration that housed the entire quality system document library on a Windows NT server at headquarters. The remote sites were configured with NCD Windows terminals connected to the server on dedicated 56K lines. This direct point-to-point connection gave Stein improved performance and simplified hardware maintenance at the mill sites.

 Once the work instructions for the first site were written, they were registered into Document Manager and electronically routed to Stein personnel at the mill site for review. Document Manager simplified the review process by allowing authors to send documents to all applicable personnel reviewers at once, a capability known as parallel routing. Powerway Desktop electronically notified reviewers that a document was awaiting their review. The field personnel frequently used a software feature that allowed them to make annotations within the documents to indicate specific sections that needed changing. Although each reviewer received an electronic copy of a document, the software's check-in and check-out capability gives the author control over the original version. Reviewers can make comments on their copies and route their revisions back to the author.

 When the reviewers return documents with their comments, the software's notification feature alerts the author. The software keeps track of who has reviewed and returned a document and who has not. At any time, the author can view the status of each reviewer's progress, seeing where there was a delay and who needs to be prompted to review documents. The software also maintains a complete revision history of each document throughout its life cycle. The history includes details about who wrote and approved the document, when it was released, access levels of the users (such as who can view, print, change, etc.), notes and comments. Once a document has been revised, the software automatically removes the previous version from circulation.

 As soon as the work instructions were in place at the first site, the employee handling the ISO 9000 registration process was able to duplicate the work instructions and route them to a second site. Field personnel at the second site were able to access the documents, make applicable modifications to the work instructions, and route them back to the author. The capability to route and revise documents electronically greatly enhanced the documentation process.

 The efficiency provided by the software helped Stein achieve ISO 9002 registration at two of its principal job sites in 18 months rather than the estimated two years the process would have taken if manual document preparation and hard-copy document-management methods had been used. Now that registration has been achieved at two sites, the same software is being used to pursue ISO 9002 registration at the remaining sites.

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