Tracking a purchase order, managing inventory or maintaining a list of lender rates isn’t terribly hard to do when it's approached in an organized fashion and kept up with. But what happens when that purchase order, SKU number or lender rate is only part of a larger, more complicated business-critical document? It would be a labor-intensive effort to track these documents using the same minimal methods.
Luckily, technology has made it extremely easy to make quick work out of managing, processing and tracking even the largest of documents – relieving labor costs, increasing accuracy and providing for a multitude of other ways to boost business profitability. If you don’t already have a process for managing your large-scale documents, here are six ways you can get your business (and documents) in step:
1. Create an assembly line style workflow.
The use of the assembly line concept to reverse engineer a product down to its most basic parts can apply to any element of a broader business process, including large scale documents. Before creating an assembly line style workflow, you’ll need to itemize the following:
- Which individual documents are part of the large-scale document?
- What data within the document is static vs. dynamic?
- Where is the data being pulled from?
- What people, processes and approvals are involved at the individual document level?
- Is there any overlap and can it be avoided?
2. Add procedural checks and balances.
Though the individual documents may already be prepared with a set of checks and balances (who approves the information, who gates the process, what kinds of signatures are required, etc.), you’ll want to define the entire document itself.
3. Add parallel processes.
Though each workflow can exist as a “production line” of sorts, in a large-scale document it is key to ensure that parallel processes are put in place as much as they make sense to increase efficiency. When a certain bit of info is added to a document (i.e. name, disclosure line or financial figures), can it be added to related documents as well? When an internal signature is needed to approve a part of “document A,” does it make sense to get the same person’s approval on a related part within “document B?”
4. Tie everything into technology.
Unless you can get everyone working on the same large-scale document in the same room, technology is key to creating a global process that works. Begin by ensuring each document and data point is available digitally. Data management solutions that can be programmed to imitate your workflow or that have preset workflows in place can then instantly push and pull data between one document or another, flag figures that need to be cross-checked and electronically gate when one part of the workflow is “approved” to move on to the next.
5. Choose a platform that can scale.
There are many workflow and document management solutions available. Some are more generalized in nature, and others have been dialed in to best support a certain industry or vertical market. Technology is often a large investment, and securing the funds to get the platform you need should be approached with an eye towards the future. Be sure you choose a platform that best fits your needs not only today, but as tomorrow demands.
6. Integrate internal and external resources.
It’s likely that all the data and processes within your large-scale document aren’t simply coming from in-house. Data from other branches, other businesses and even regulatory agencies are being used to successfully execute large-scale document management, processing and tracking. More and more, technology platforms are being made available that can integrate information systems between financial agencies, government entities and other document-dependent sources—enabling real-time information, 24/7 process flow and near 100% digitized processes to revolutionize large-scale document creation and management.
The addition of industry regulation, the existence of interdependent data and even the complexity of a business itself can make large-scale documents a must for many organizations. Are these large-scale documents business-critical? Yes. Does managing, processing and tracking them have to be hard? Absolutely not.