ECONS supports process improvement activities based on the foundations of a strong Quality Management System (QMS), applicable to the private and public sectors. A healthy QMS requires standard and streamlined processes and controls that allow better-trained personnel to rely heavily on a robust documentation system. This was our experience as part of an improved instructional document design and control process project.
ECONS resources participated in a document system improvement project for a government agency. The main symptoms; documents without revisions for over 10 years, more than one active document ruling the same process, questionable change controls, non-standardized operations due to inconsistent documentation, no notion of the approval process performance neither visibility of the major roadblocks impacting approval speed, etc.
Our consultants conducted an initial assessment and identified several drivers of inefficiency,
- use of poor document change controls that promoted inadequate documentation and training practices,
- inconsistent document format/structure/nomenclature,
- lack of support structure roles and responsibilities that could warrant best practices sustainability.
- a dysfunctional review and approval that made virtually impossible to implement timely
Documentation of improvement project activities to resolve issues was broken down into two main workstreams:
- The redesign of an improved instructional document generation and control process. The design included the development of a document hierarchy framework that establishes the purpose, content expectation, relationships, and reference requirements. It required to define a new guideline of contents and templates as well as guidelines on document writing and instruction redaction based on industry best practices. In due course, it was established a new process flow with revised roles, responsibilities, and expectations of each participant of the cycle to improve revision and approval cycles, identification of gaps in knowledge of current personnel, and increase compliance.
- The digitalization of the document control process workflow using Microsoft 365 tools. ECONS programmers created a platform for multi-functional assessment of new administrative orders and regulations, developed an automated workflow to manage revisions, approvals, and implementation of new or existing instructional documents. The Microsoft Power Suite (Power Apps, SharePoint, and Power BI) was used for system design.
After 3.5 months of focused project management and process improvement initiatives, a holistic solution to manage, control, and monitor instructional document changes was implemented in a low cost/high efficiency/easy to use MS365 platform environment. A successful product pilot was executed with representatives of impacted committees and departments proving that the solution works. A Power Bi visualization dashboard was delivered containing measures of document revision aging, approval cycle times, and other system health metrics, opening the eyes of the solution owners to many ways to improve their process and providing the precise tool to do it the right way.
ECONS bound the Power of Process Improvement and Automation to improve the customer documentation and Quality Management System!
Ing. Javier Pina
Econs Group – Process Improvement Consultant