Good Electronic Document Management
Many of facility managers’ document management challenges can be solved with good electronic document management. As younger generations become facility managers, they are looking to have all of their information at their fingertips on the computer. They do not want to look at old, dusty, dirty drawings in the plan room. They prefer the efficiency of searching for a document in a web browser than in a damp basement.
No Physical Space Restrictions
Document retention becomes less of an issue once the information has been digitized. It is becoming less expensive to store information electronically. Vast amounts of information can be stored on servers or in the cloud for very little money. The physical size of the documents does not matter. Also, the condition of the documents does not deteriorate; plus, they take up no physical space; and they do not get lost if named properly.
Access to Information from Anywhere
Another huge advantage of electronic files is the ability of many people accessing the information from their desktops, phones, or tablets. Information travels with you instead of you going to where the documents are stored. This permits staff to find information while on the job site. Additionally, staff can be made aware of past changes and make current changes immediately. There are many applications which control different versions of the same document such as added notes, red lines, or other kinds of mark-ups.
Finally, digital documents are easily shared allowing greater collaboration. Facility managers can share documents with architects, contractors, or other vendors. They can also share important safety documents with other departments and emergency services such as the police and fire departments.
A Single Digital Library with Standardized Filing and Naming Conventions
Documents must be filed and named logically and simply in order to be useful, because poor electronic document management can lead to even greater problems or challenges. Today, facility managers usually have half of their documents in a paper format while the remaining documents are in an electronic format but poorly organized. They have documents in numerous locations such as on servers, hard drives, CDs, or in the cloud. They need help reviewing and sorting the electronic information and putting it all in once place, with the end result being a digital library with a standardized filing and naming convention. This is where an Electronic Document Management System is very useful.