ISO 9001: Documented Information

In this series of blog posts, I will be taking a look at the main sections of ISO 9001, what they are, why they are important ...

This 101 is looking at Section 7.5 Documented Information. Why is this important to my business? It doesnít matter whether your company is all digital or paper-based, we all have documents to deal with.

"ISO9001 expects you to maintain and retain
documented information!"

What this means is making sure you know what are the latest procedures, forms, templates available to use and making sure you donít accidentally use old versions. Customer and other important records (such as financial) should be prevented from deteriorating or having unauthorised changes made too.

We all have legal requirements that mean we have to keep financial records for at least seven years, we may also have other requirements which mean we have to keep other documents such as HR ones for many decades!

It is important to understand what your document requirements are and make sure you have steps in place to maintain and retain it in a suitable manner. It also helps with communication and awareness if everyone working for you is using the same template or procedure. It saves time and makes things more efficient if everyone can actually find documents they need quickly.

How do I manage this? Well, this will vary depending on your business. A one-man band with limited documentation may choose to keep it all on one computer and choose to back up the data manually every week.

All key documents may be printed out and kept in a filing cabinet securely away from dangers of flooding etc. For a larger business, an external company who provides an archiving solution may be in place if there is lots of paperwork required, whilst a digital-based company may have cloud back-up and access to all documents online with automatic revisioning. It really is up to you how you maintain and retain your documents.

The standard does not dictate how you do it. Here are some common things you need to think about when considering document control:

Many of the companies I have worked with have found it useful to have an independent person to work with them to help understand the requirements and how to implement them.

If you would like to know more about anything I've mentioned in this blog post, do give me a call on 01858 414226 or leave a comment below and let's see how I can help you.