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“If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen” – Urban legend.

If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen

Documentation is crucial when it comes to running a business. It’s the lifeblood of a quality management system (QMS). If you lack an efficient document management strategy, you won’t be able to achieve several crucial QMS capabilities. These include maintaining up-to-date and accessible records, enforcing consistent procedures throughout the organization, and verifying the implementation of corrective actions when required.

The ideal tool for managing documents is document management software.

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The importance of document management

So, why is document management so important? First and foremost, if it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen! Documentation is an important element of guaranteeing quality in your organization and the QMS.  If you do not document your procedures, it becomes difficult to find holes in the system or identify opportunities for improvement. What you can’t measure, you can’t improve!

Document management is also essential for maintaining the quality of your business operations. It’s not just about keeping papers; it’s about making sure those documents are easily and quickly accessible when you need them. This is where the correct software comes in, keeping track of all your papers in one place and making them more accessible than before.

  1. According to a survey conducted by IDC, poor document management can cost companies up to 30% of their revenue annually.
  2. In a study by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), 25% of respondents reported that poor document management practices led to a loss of business.
  3. A report by the Aberdeen Group found that companies with poor document management practices experience a 25% longer time to market and a 20% longer sales cycle compared to those with best-in-class document management practices.
  4. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) estimated in a report that 21.3% of all productivity loss in the workplace is due to poor documentation practices.

Document management as part of the QMS framework

Document management is an important component of the QMS framework for guaranteeing quality, compliance, traceability, and efficiency. A well-organized document management software helps you to record information about your operations and guarantees that this expertise is not lost when employees leave or change jobs. ISO 9001:2015 mentions the documentation requirement again and again in multiple clauses. To know in detail, do check this PDF published by ISO.

Document management is critical in ensuring the quality of your business processes

Documentation plays a vital role in ensuring the proper execution of personnel training, retention, and development activities. It also helps teams to document and share best practices between departments and businesses, leading to greater efficiency and effectiveness.

During audits, it’s crucial to remember that if it’s not documented, it didn’t happen. Auditors require appropriate documentation relating to audit trails, actions taken, approval matrix, and specific process training. Such documentation will validate the effectiveness of your QMS, ensure regulatory compliance, and identify areas for improvement.

Managing all these requirements can be challenging with a paper-based QMS, which is why a cloud-based QMS is of high significance.

The auditors would want to see the audit trails.

If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen - document management software

A documented approval matrix is crucial.

If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen - approval matrix

A snapshot as well as deep diving capability in the training module are essential.

If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen - training activities



Invest in a robust document management system that facilitates document organization, retrieval, and version control to avoid such situations. Implement standard procedures for documenting processes, capturing vital data, and keeping records. Train your employees on the significance of documentation and provide them with the tools and resources necessary to effectively manage documents.

Remember that in the field of quality management, “If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen” is true. Embrace the power of documentation and make it the foundation of the success and credibility of your organization. You will have a solid foundation for continuous improvement, compliance, and overall excellence in your business operations if you maintain accurate documentation.

By implementing these practices and recognizing the significance of documentation, you can dispel urban legends and ensure that your organization has a well-documented, efficient, and dependable quality management system.