We are evolving; and progressively the contractors leave behind the paper to use the digital space in a definitive way. Obviously, the change is not drastic and a point of inflection is formed where the paper method and the virtual system mix inevitably. Although it seems tedious and uncontrolled, do not be scared as all change, necessarily, contributes to some uncertainty until the methods and the new concepts are settled. With a good control system and some fixed guidelines, the risks are minimized and you will realize that the benefits arise exponentially.
1. Centralize the information
The information can only be in one place and that place will be the same for everyone involved. It is the so-called Common Data Environment. No more saving contractual documentation in the local directory. All the team must have access in real time to the most recent information; only this way the members will find what they need and execute a project in a fluid and efficient manner.
There are several ways to centralize information depending on the type and scope of the project. You could use integrated software with collaborative platforms, an information system in the cloud or a common server.
2. Total accessibility to the documentation
Any member of the team must be able to access the source of information, therefore, easy accessibility to the documentation must be guaranteed. The storage and management of information through the cloud allows the team at work access either through a computer, a tablet or from any smartphone. These types of terminals are one more useful tool of work.
3. The last update is sacred
There cannot be the least doubt of which is the last approved version of each model, drawing or document. For this, it is vital to have in place a rigorous process of checking and approval and a clear organization for all the folders that exist on the platform. It is advisable to deposit the obsolete versions in a directory completely different from the current documentation, so that when accessing the folder we always find the most up to date file.
4. Decide for ONE method
You have to choose a modus operandi and stick to it. For example, if you decide to use the platform as a way to access / send information, then documents should not be sent by email nor in paper by postal mail, for example. This idea can be applied to any other area of the work. The purpose is to reduce confusion and make life easier.
5. Use a Nomenclature
Assigning a nomenclature to documents gives enormous advantages – Instantly identifies what is, who has done it, what disciplines is, what phase, among others. The naming system is defined by the specific guidelines relevant to each project. At European level, for example, the most relevant one is the new ISO 19650, a topic that will be dedicated to a blog post.
6. Notify the changes
When changes are made to a document, there must be a system that notifies all parties. The ideal is to use a software that sends an automatic notification to the tablets, computers and smartphones of all the relevant individuals. Until that does not happen, it is enough to establish a manual communication procedure and strictly comply with it.
7. Seek support from directors and senior members
Many times it is hard to implement a new system of work, and some colleagues may feel uneasy about it. That is why this method has to be supported and promoted by senior officials and directors so that they appease any indifference or resistance.