In any line of professional work, documentation is important; however, it is even more so in research and development. Disorganized and undocumented work can not only lead to lost progress and inaccurate results, it can also lead to lost certifications and accreditations.
In a study conducted in 2013 on the development of a document management system for clinical laboratory documents, the vast majority of participating institutes considered document standardization and organization to be very important for the reasons above and more.
A document management system specifically built for R&D labs significantly improves organization, provides centralized access to the information, allows for automatic data backup, and is paperless and environmentally friendly.
Proper Classification & Organization
A document management system allows for proper classification and organization. Proper classification and organization of information leads to improved performance and collaboration. Time and energy isn’t wasted trying to find information. A standardized system easily allows for new colleagues or those not in your lab on a regular basis to easily find information.
Furthermore, when information needs to be presented for review and approval, a proper document management system significantly reduces the amount of time and resources needed. The appropriate information can be easily located and retrieved.
Document management provides a centralized location for all recorded information. This greatly reduces the risk of information being lost in the back of a filing cabinet, on someone’s desk or on in an electronic format that wasn’t saved to the network.
Furthermore, it provides the tools to create a formal knowledge base that can be shared within your organization. Other users have immediate access to the information. This reduces the amount of unnecessary communication with other teams within the organization.
Automatic Data Backup
By using a cloud-based document management system, all files are safe from catastrophic hardware or infrastructure failure. In the vast majority of research and development labs, a major data loss would cause a significant interruption, costing a tremendous amount of time and money.
If backups are insufficient, it may very well be impossible to fully restore the lost information. A cloud-based document management system eliminates that risk.
Paperless & Environmentally Friendly
A document management system allows for a completely paperless process. Not only is this more efficient and cost effective, it is good for the environment as well.
Studies have found that paperless processes are as much as 6 times more efficient. Dealing with information in a paper format creates information bottlenecks that stifle the ability to work efficiently. A document management system eliminates these bottlenecks making information immediately available to everyone.
Every R&D laboratory needs to have a document management system in place to ensure information is organized and easily available to all stakeholders within the organization, ensuring that information bottlenecks are removed and all information can be used as efficiently as possible.