The construction and service industry is rapidly switching to digitalization as businesses are moving to the cloud and paperless offices. This ongoing trend has now driven businesses to have effective document management systems in order to fulfill their business needs and bring integration between core business facts, including job costing, service, accounting, etc.
What is a Document Management System (DMS)?
In simplest terms, it is an electronic system that manages and organizes business documents. There is a lot of documentation included in the construction and service industry, such as purchase orders, work orders, change orders, human resource documents, AP invoices, etc.
Why Does Your Construction and Service Business Need DMS?
For starters, a document management system is a paperless tool that ultimately saves you a lot of physical storage space and other costs. Moreover, it is not just a centralized repository to maintain your business record. Rather, advanced DMS automates your workflow and approval processes. In a nutshell, DMS brings efficiency and better internal control in your business. However, before selecting a suitable document management system for your service, you need to focus on a few key features.
Six Must-Have Features in a Good Document Management System
Selecting the right document management system for business can be a challenging task for many employers. Well, we have made a list of those features which are mandatory for a good DMS.
- Convenient Retrieval
- Full Integration
- Business Compliance
- Version Control
- Document Security
- Cost Reduction
The most frustrating thing about the paper documentation system includes keeping "tonnes” of files and documents in your office. Of course, it covers a lot of physical space as well. But a document management system can simply replace it with digitalized records maintained effectively.
Moreover, your employees won't have to come to the office every single time they need any document for business purposes. Rather, they can easily access it from anywhere, and this is even more helpful for "work from home" businesses.
Searchability is another very time-saving feature of the document management system. That said, if you or your employees need a specific record, they may have to go through a lot of files to retrieve it. However, a DMS allows you to find the file instantly with its optimized searchability. Searchability simply means that you can easily find a document with the help of any file feature. That said, you can find a file by its name, type, content, category, or by searching the name of the employee who created or uploaded the file.
Full Automation and Integration with Your Construction Software
A good DMS must be able to integrate with the construction software of a business completely. This allows improved visibility and better coordination among owners, project managers, field foreman, service technicians, other employees, and even suppliers or customers.
Lesser transparency is another major drawback of paper documentation. For instance, it is possible that your manager may become aware of several purchases or invoices at the time of signing the payment checks. Moreover, paper documents can be easily lost during the interdepartmental transits even if there is a proper manual system.
However, a document integration system can automate these processes. For instance, an invoice will not be posted until it is approved. This saves your employees from fixing the allocation after or crediting the invoices.
Moreover, a DMS allows you to improve the workflow, remove the double entry for information, and boost approval processes. A DMS software automates your documents' movement through different parts of your business's construction management software.
A DMS allows employers to automate processes. Therefore, it is highly recommended for employers to add a rules-and-guidelines checklist for business and government compliance to ensure that your business follows all protocols set by the government before submitting or approving the documents.
There are many internal and external time-consuming transactions that occur in the construction business, such as payroll management, completion of paperwork for a construction project or a service job, etc. However, businesses can save valuable time if they implement these protocols earlier. This will eliminate the need for revisiting or resubmitting the documents.
Retrieving and identifying the latest version of any document is essential. It makes sure that any incorrect information does not cause improper work or miscommunication. Version control becomes more important in construction work for changing the orders or viewing the invoices.
A good document management system keeps a record of old and updated versions of all files. It also maintains a record of all changes (i.e., time, reason, and the person who made these changes). This gives a complete picture of everything related to any specific file.
Moreover, a DMS allows you to track your documents accurately if you use it as a single source of document storage and retrieval. Also, a DMS gives you the freedom from handling different versions of paperwork or the administrative mistakes that may occur due to working from multiple systems. It also "liberates" you from completing or editing hand-written paperwork.
The security of your business data and your employees are definitely the most important thing for you. Therefore, a construction document management must have security features such as authorization patterns for particular employees and departments. This allows a business to keep confidential data, such as employees' information or specific job data, safe or improperly shared.
Furthermore, it will be easier for you or your IT staff to retrieve the data easily from the cloud or other backup systems if things go wrong due to a natural disaster or physical disaster such as floods, fire, storms, etc. But paper documentation does not offer this luxury.
Paperwork/documentation needs a lot of office space or filing rooms. That's why businesses that switched to a document management system had more office space and better business opportunities. If you don't need extra space for paper documentation, it means you don't have to pay an extra amount on your lease. And of course, you can reduce stationary costs such as ink cartridges and papers.
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