Actually, it’s way more important than you might think!
Having the correct documentation for a component delivered with a product is many times overlooked or forgotten due to the many technical challenges that already come with delivering complex products. Nevertheless, if you want a successful product delivery and an efficient aftermarket business you should make sure that you provide your clients the correct documentation. But, how can you keep track of everything you may ask? Here we explain in more detail why correct documentation is so important and how to manage it.
An important, but in some cases forgotten, part of a component delivery is the related documentation that comes with it. The typical documentation for a component consists of material certificates, maintenance/operations and goods handling instructions. Control over these different types of documents is critical to a current project to meet regulations and ensure efficient aftermarket support. If you are missing these certificates it often means that the goods cannot be formally received. And in the case, you are missing the operations and maintenance documentation, this will have a negative impact on your ability to deliver and support the product. While if you are not keeping track of the certificates it will in many cases violate your contractor’s certificate and block the complete product delivery.
Approval of document delivery is in many cases related to releasing the payment to you, the supplier. This means that the documentation needs to be marked as received in the same way as the component. Back in the day, documentation used to be delivered physically on paper meaning that the goods receptionist would most likely just see the product and mark it as received. However, this would not necessarily imply that they would check if the contents were correct, just that they had arrived. These days, the common way is that you are delivering the documentation electronically via email or by uploading it to a specific area in some agreed format (like PDF). The problem with this is the issue if the documentation has been delivered and received successfully and if it has been added to the normal goods receival process.
What are the current challenges?
As we mentioned above, the current way of delivering documentation has the following potential challenges:
- Goods receival – How to connect the document delivery to the purchase order position so that the payment is released?
- Document IDs – Documents delivered will have IDs from the supplier (filenames). How to manage internally?
- Review and approval of documents – Delivered documents need to be checked from several aspects like format compliance, correct metadata, correct content etc.
- In bulk load – The documentation is in many cases delivered in one package (zip file) meaning that the review and approval process cannot start until all documents have been delivered.
- Relating documents to structures – The delivered documents need to be related to one or several parts and functions in the delivery.
- Security – eMail is not a safe way of document transfer.
How to overcome the challenges?
To address these issues and get an efficient and well-functioning management of supplier documentation we at Eurostep suggest using the following key principles:
- Using a collaboration area that provides the security and access control needed.
- Defining and supporting the metadata formats required for relating documentation in the correct way.
- Defining and implementing an approval process for documentation to ensure that the quality is correct and that the receipt of the goods gets created.
Based on these principles, we have come up with the following receive and approve process in ShareAspace:
- The document and related properties are uploaded as agreed.
- A check is done to verify that the format and properties are correct. This can be done automatically. Any deviations are communicated back to the supplier for correction.
- The content of the document is then reviewed by the contractor. Any issues are communicated to the supplier for correction.
- The document is then checked to verify that any references to components and/or functions are correct. Any issues are communicated back to the supplier for correction.
- The document is then approved, this could trigger things like the release of payment, and import of documentation to internal systems.
Using ShareAspace allows you to efficiently and securely manage your supplier documentation which is paramount for hassle-free delivery and easier aftermarket support of complex products. ShareAspace is a secure hub solution supporting document approval, providing the most efficient way to support the management of document deliveries.