1998 Document Control
Software Buyers Guide
by Dirk Dusharme and Laurel Thoennes
Before purchasing document control software,
test drive it with your documents and procedures.
In a simple world, controlling documents would be a matter of filing them away in a safe place with some sort of document warden to oversee their checking in and out. In reality, a well-designed and secure document control system must do much more. Not only should it provide a safe and secure haven for documents, but also a means for circulating only the current document revision while keeping old revisions on file. It should allow some means for creating new revisions, routing them for approval and informing users that a new revision now supersedes the document they are currently using. Cross-references from one document to another (e.g., a test procedure that references a test fixture) will require updating, as will accurate document master lists and histories. Finally, in an ISO 9000 environment, there should be some easy way to audit all this.
Fortunately, during the past decade or so, relatively low-cost software systems have been developed to take much of the pain out of document control. What once was available only to companies able to afford the steep investment costs of document control hardware and software is now available to small companies running networked desktop computers.
The guide on the following pages lists more than a dozen companies that specialize in document control software. To select the software that works best for your company, you need to have not only a thorough understanding of your documentation department's current document control procedures (start by producing a complete document control flowchart) but also a good understanding of your company's computing environment (e.g., do all document users have access to computers? How are the computers networked? How many different computing platforms -- such as UNIX, Windows, Macintosh, VMS -- require support?)
Armed with this information, contact the vendors that offer the closest match to your needs. Aside from the following guide, another possible source of vendors is available from the tMSc report, "Cutting Through the Paperwork," a review of more than 100 quality management support system software packages, including those for document control (see "Selecting Document Control Software," beginning on page 51).
Once you have identified several vendors, ask each for a functional demonstration package. The only way to know if a document control package will do what you want it to do is by exercising it with your documents and procedures. While reviewing several of the document control packages mentioned in this buyers guide, we found quirks that might pose problems for some document control departments but not for others. Test driving is time-consuming; plan on at least one week per package to load it, understand its basic operation and run some tests. With every package we tested, the marketing and customer support departments were very willing to help step us through the basic operation.
Our tests included creating a new document, releasing it as a new revision, checking the document out, creating a revision, routing the revision for approval and releasing the latest revision. Along the way, we noted how easy or difficult it was to create or revise a document, how the program handled revision routing (e-mail or via the program's own interface), how protected were the controlled documents (was it possible for the average user accidentally to access an uncontrolled document?), the program's provision for viewing documents (most programs include a viewer that will open almost any application's document for viewing only) and how easy it was to generate revision histories and other important document summaries.
The Document Control Software Buyers Guide is intended to provide our readers with helpful information for selecting document control software. Only those companies responding to our faxed questionnaires are listed. A listing in this guide does not imply that a product is endorsed by Quality Digest.
CimWorks GageTalker Corp.11415 N.E. 128th St.Kirkland, WA 98034-6332Ph.: 800-955-7100Fax: 425-820-0437E-mail: email@example.com
Improve productivity and reduce paper on the shop floor with VisualDocs suite of software products from CimWorks GageTalker. Perfect for ISO 9000 requirements, VisualDocs uses E-Folders designed from the shop floor perspective to organize groups of documents, providing quick retrieval and viewing.
CimWorks GageTalker provides flexible hardware, software and service products that enable manufacturers to monitor and control the performance of their production equipment and products during the manufacturing process. The manufacturing information systems included in the company's catalog are SPC, DNC, document management and control, machine monitoring, industrial computers and gage interface devices.
Comprehensive Computer Solutions105 Industrial DriveChristiansburg, VA 24073Ph.: 800-277-3077Fax: 540-382-1801, ext. 144E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Comprehensive Computer Solutions' QualTrax software utilizes state-of-the-art technology to create an intranet-based quality management system that includes document control, nonconformance (corrective action) reporting, internal/external audit reporting, and organizationwide training and maintenance of training records or certifications. Being intranet-based, quality system documentation can be viewed and quality management work can be accomplished via Web browsers on any platform.
Some features include: user-defined approval processes, electronic signature, automatic e-mail notification, powerful search engines, customizable reports, multimedia capabilities, on-line training/testing and much more.
Document Control Systems Inc.302 W. 5400 S., Suite 101Salt Lake City, UT 84107Ph.: 800-825-9117Fax: 801-281-8375
ISO 9000 and QS-9000 standards have made corporations poignantly aware of the challenges relating to document control. MasterControl automates four key functions: security (who can do what to a document); change management (electronic routing and approval); distribution (getting the right document, to the right place, at the right time); and closing the training notification loop (making sure that all parties are notified when change occurs). A comprehensive implementation of MasterControl guarantees success in managing the process of document change and control.
DPI Services Inc.210 N. Fourth St., 3rd FloorSan Jose, CA 95112Ph.: 800-374-2140 or 408-574-3700Fax: 800-374-2067 or 408-574-3758
DPI Services' QMX software automates your critical business processes such as document control, corrective action and audit tracking. It was designed by a team of quality and software professionals to assist organizations in achieving and maintaining compliance to ISO 9000 and 14000 standards.
QMX utilizes advanced work flow and powerful tools, which help companies manage day-to-day activities such as meetings, reporting and overdue events. In addition, DPI's extensive experience in developing Lotus Notes and Domino-based software solutions will assist in the installation, customization and support of QMX.
EtQ Inc.399 Conklin St., Suite 208Farmingdale, NY 11735Ph.: 800-354-4476 or 516-293-0949Fax: 516-293-0784E-mail: email@example.com
EtQ Inc. is a full-service management consulting and software firm dedicated to providing state-of-the-art services and products with a personal touch. We have integrated years of experience in quality system design and implementation into our array of services and products.
EtQ Solutions document control module is LAN/Web software that manages the creation, approval, distribution, revision and archiving of all your documents with ease. With EtQ Solutions, you can control documents created in any word processor; any scanned documents, flowcharts, spreadsheets, presentations and CAD drawings; and audio and video files. EtQ Solutions also provides templates for quality manuals, procedures, work instructions, forms, job descriptions, product and inspection specifications, test methods and more.
Insite Technology Group Inc.7055 Engle Road, Building 5Cleveland, OH 44130-8403Ph.: 800-446-8665 or 440-826-1351Fax: 440-826-3431www.insite-inc.com
Insite Technology Group's ISOlution document control software allows you to create and/or import existing documents and maintain revision histories, approval lists, distribution lists, audits and a master index list meeting your quality requirements. Make approved documents available to all employees with our online document review capabilities. This enables instant access to the latest procedures, work instructions, etc., to help support a paperless environment.
ISOlution also maintains control over training records and scheduling, calibration master files, input readings, R&R studies, customer and supplier issues, vendor reviews, nonconformance reports, preventive and corrective actions, inspection and testing, quality planning and much more.
Integral Solutions Inc.222 E. Fourth St.Royal Oak, MI 48067Ph.: 248-543-6040Fax: 248-543-2882E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ISI Software Suite
Manufacturing, design and auditing software for quality control and document consistency. Supports ISO 9000, QS-9000 and APQP. Meets many document control needs, including design FMEA, process FMEA, control plans, process flows, work instructions, problem solving, PPAP, checksheets, procedure and department audits, corrective action tracking and more.
Integral Solutions is a leader in relational database software for quality and document control. Information entered is automatically transferred to all applicable places giving total document consistency and control. For a free information package of MPACT, DPACT and APACT software, call Integral Solutions Inc. or visit their Web site.
JK Technologies Inc.3114 W. Buena Vista DriveMargate, FL 33063Ph.: 800-792-4693 or 954-984-9311Fax: 954-968-3153E-mail: email@example.com
JK Technologies Inc. is a leading-edge technology company delivering standard and custom software for the ISO, quality and manufacturing markets. Features of JKT's document control software include:
* Tracks current revisions of all documents and prints master lists
* Tracks/prints approval lists, allows online approval of new documents or revisions with password protection
* Maintains/prints distribution lists
* Tracks/prints revision histories
* Tracks pending changes -- changes required for a document's next revision
* Tracks cross-references of related documents
* Allows online access to actual documents for read-only viewing (Word, Excel, Lotus, WordPerfect -- any Windows application)
* Documents are sortable by departments and by document type (SOP, work instruction, etc.)
Pilgrim SoftwareP.O. Box 340250Tampa, FL 33694Ph.: 813-915-1663Fax: 813-915-1948www.pilgrimusa.com
Pilgrim's Document Control software module is one of the industry's leading document management systems. Designed specifically to facilitate business process management and compliance with international quality standards (ISO 9000, QS-9000, etc.), Document Control's innovative features include secured document approval and distribution, electronic check-in/check-out of documents and a sophisticated reporting and security system.
Document Control is part of Pilgrim's Quality & Manufacturing Integrated System. This comprehensive and totally integrated suite of ISO 9000/QS-9000-compliant quality management and business automation software modules helps companies address every aspect of modern quality management in manufacturing and service environments.
The Pister Group Inc.550 Eglinton Ave. W.Toronto, ON M6N 3A8CanadaPh.: 905-886-9470Fax: 905-764-6405
Some of the key elements of DC-PRO software include recording release information, maintaining change history, linking directly to different applications containing documents and generating a master document list. Virtually any kind of document can be controlled and linked to, including drawings, CAD information, word processor files, etc. In addition to the general fields associated with a document record, company-specific, user-defined custom fields can be established. At the discretion of the user, password-protected access is available.
PowerWay Inc.6919 Hillsdale CourtIndianapolis, IN 46250Ph.: 800-964-9004Fax: 317-598-1740www.powerway.com
Document Manager 3.0
PowerWay provides a wide assortment of unique software and training products designed to reduce the time to perform compliance tasks by 50 percent or more. Attacking the nonvalue-added costs of implementing and maintaining compliance to industry standards and regulations helps companies achieve significant savings.
Document Manager 3.0 automates many of the aspects of document control necessary to comply with ISO 9000 Section 4.5, Document and Data Control. It offers secure document and data control, complete document revision history, convenient document access for viewing and editing, and provides a distinct audit trail for each document -- all to help reduce time to compliance.
PQ Systems Inc.10468 Miamisburg-Springboro RoadMiamisburg, OH 45342Ph.: 800-777-3020Fax: 937-885-2252www.pqsystems.com
PQ Systems, a leading provider of quality-related software and training for more than 15 years, offers Quality Workbench. This powerful software helps organizations keep day-to-day control over their quality systems in order to comply with ISO 9000 and QS-9000 requirements. Its document control feature stores documents in a secure database.
Quality Workbench produces reports on document status and history so that you are always ready for an audit. It works with the software you already own, such as word processors, spreadsheets, drawing programs and e-mail systems. Quality Workbench is an essential tool that makes the implementation of any quality system simple.
QA Software Pty. Ltd.Box 9 Collinsvale, Tasmania 7012Australia Ph.: 61-14-805-386Fax: 61-03-6239-0436E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org/~qasoft/
QDMS Drawing Management System
QA Software is an Australian developer of engineering and construction software, specializing in document control and information management solutions.
The QDMS Drawing Management System is a Windows-based document control system designed for project management, engineering and construction industry use. Full working copies can be downloaded from their Web site.
QDMS is designed to manage the distribution, via transmittal, of controlled documents such as drawings, specifications and procedures to both internal recipients and external companies.
QDMS ensures that all recipients are kept up-to-date with the latest version of documents while providing a complete audit trail of incoming and outgoing documents.
QIS & Associates of Canada30 Brown St.Barrie, ON L4N 7V4CanadaPh.: 705-733-2044Fax: 705-733-0367E-mail: email@example.com
Canadian Distributors for Quality Workbench
Established in 1994, QIS & Associates of Canada provides software tools, training programs and consulting services to companies pursuing ISO 9000 and QS-9000 certification.
Quality Workbench provides a foundation for gathering and maintaining objective evidence with computerized systems for: document control, customer complaints, nonconformances, corrective and preventive actions, and internal auditing. It informs key personnel of system events through e-mail messages, allowing access for all personnel connected to your network system.
For a free demo disk or telephone consultation, contact Catherine Crigger at QIS & Associates of Canada.
Quality Systems IntegratorsP.O. Box 91Eagle, PA 19480Ph.: 800-458-0539Fax: 610-458-7555
Quality Systems Integrators has more than 12 years' experience developing software applications that support the quality area. The TMS application combines both training and document management in one easy-to-use product. Word processing documents, drawings, flowcharts and other file types stay in their exact format and location. The indexing system easily locates and launches documents. Distribution lists, job requirements and historical information are stored in an access database.
Notification of document changes, electronic signatures and automatic updating of training records improve communications and maximize resources. Revision routing, activity tabs and built-in e-mail make this product fun and easy for plant personnel to use. The system provides a full audit trail and security for addressing auditor concerns. Standalone and enterprise versions are available.
Quality Systems International3 Baldwin Green CommonWoburn, MA 01801Ph.: 781-938-9001Fax: 781-938-9002E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Quality Systems International develops compliance management solutions for ISO 9000, QS-9000 and ISO 14000. The completely integrated systems minimize the effort to achieve and maintain registration.
One of QSI's paperless systems, Document Control, reduces costs and controls documents. The software ensures that requests for changes and approvals are handled quickly, and only the latest versions of officially reviewed and approved documents are used.
Automated archiving, automated versioning, status tracking and built-in work flow guides you through the review and approval process effortlessly.