During my labor history, I have always been pleased to be given the responsibility of activities of high importance for the company. Such was the case of the Implementation of a Quality Management System. First, in our laboratories and then, in the tequila production and packaging processes.
We will specifically talk about Documents Control on this post, a simple task to achieve at first sight, since Casa Sauza already had enough documented information after having worked with under the criteria of the "National Quality Award" back in 1992 yet, with many implications to it.
Documented Information at its Points of Use.
It is usually made up by a set of documents ordered in a specific way. An index which shows in a list of the documents contained in the manual, precedes the documents themselves.
For our first Quality Management System certification audit in 1998, we assigned an Operations Manual to each stage of the process as well as to the support areas, in order to make sure that the documents which the staff was required to know were available to them, in their up-to-date version. The Operation Manual was a three-rings binder which contained printed documents.
The use of the typewriter was replaced by computers, which made possible to have the original electronic drafts done and thus, easily update them. Still, the task of replacing the obsolete Operations Manual documents with the up-to-date ones, was huge. It was an even a greater task to achieve when it came to common documents such as the Quality Policy, which included in all of our manuals.
Other documents had to be replaced because of their unintentional deterioration. The Operations Manual got frequently wet or soiled due to either neglect, everyday use or conditions of the work environment. Soon the need to work in order to reduce paper consumption and the time spent replacing obsolete documents, was seen.
Practices for Consulting Documented Information
A station where all documented information could be controlled and gathered, imitating a little library. It would have two or three samples of each document... An opportunity to take other organizations as a reference finally knocked on my door.
The most eye-catching project that I observed in the industry (for my purposes) was carried out in a company that makes shock absorbers: they installed a "Kiosk" at one end of the production lines, attended by a person during operation hours. Whoever wanted to consult a document in the kiosk could do so. He only had to ask for the document and a voucher under his name was kept until he returned it. The voucher was given to him once he had returned the document he had borrowed.
At the beginning of each day's operations, the kiosk also provided registration forms to the company's operators for them to fill in as an evidence of the results that they had achieved at each stage of their daily activities. At the end of the day, these operators returned their records to the kiosk, so it also worked as a records storage area.
Continuous Improvement in Documents Control
At Casa Sauza, we started buying paper that would have been made with recycled fiber -at least in some percentage- and to use it on both sides.
An analysis of the information revealed that not all the of documents held in the operations manuals were useful to the operator. The manuals the became thinner when we removed these useless documents and not replaced them back again.
The option of the kiosk seemed interesting and Casa Sauza decided to make its own version of it since the nature of our facilities, our distribution and our activities are unique in the industry. The kiosk ended up being in Casa Sauza, an electronic station for the consultation of documents of the Administration System. In addition, a single document was created for each process stage, according to their specific needs. It included all the information that an operator might need to consult in order to carry out his activities in the most efficient possible way, for his own stage.
If you are interested in knowing more about our modernization processes, click on the links below.
Making Progress in Industrial Automation
Managing Change in Tequila Production
The Importance of Having Automated Administration Processes
Casa Sauza, a Sustainable Company with a Sense of Belonging.
You can also come to Casa Sauza and know our facilities on-site. We'd be happy to share our work experiences with you!