How good is your documentation? Why it’s essential for your company’s compliance, IP protection and productivity optimisation

It’s usually not until your organisation encounters an emergency or predicament that you realise exactly how much of your operational information is not written down and available. Sadly, a crisis point is not the time for engaging in the task of laboriously detailing your company’s policies and procedures.Thorough documentation of your organisation needs to happen long before this point.

Organisations that rely only on the knowledge of long term employees to operate, maintain and configure  specialist machinery or perform specialist tasks are at high risk of having their productivity interrupted if that employee is suddenly detained from their work for any reason – illness, accident. Having maintenance, operational and procedural manuals on hand is an insurance policy that guarantees should that employee be absent for any reason, and for any period of time, production will continue

If your documentation is insufficient or non-existent, your organisation will be at risk of loss of productivity or periods of interruptions which will prove costly.

Properly documenting your procedures can actually also lead to achieving maximum production  to ensure a positive outcome for succession plans. The exercise itself of studying procedures closely enough to document them, can lead directly to the identification of areas of improvements to be made in your operation.

The requirements of organisations today to enhance productivity, comply with legislation, as well as protect Intellectual Property, has driven a surge in demand for our services. As Australia’s premier technical writing firm, we have been engaged by some of Australia’s largest organisations  in food processing, building supplies and even breweries to capture, document and protect everything from operation maintenance and procedural manuals to policy and training documentation.

You’d be surprised by the critical information required by organisations which is not captured or accessible by those who truly need it.  Documentation like standard operating procedures, maintenance and training manuals for major manufacturing plants, are often absent, incomplete or out of date. We send in one of our writers to work almost as part of that company.

They’ll ask all the questions, including the silly ones, that are all too often taken for granted within an organisation, and write up the information to a grade 9 English level, so it’s easily understood by any audience, and captures everything the company’s staff need to know to do their jobs safety and efficiently.

Not documenting your information correctly means that your company is potentially vulnerable to productivity disruptions, additional expenditure and all kinds of possibly disastrous situations. You also need to ask yourself, ‘if I don’t have our information captured somewhere, then how can I own it?’

Something we feel very strongly about here is that when we finish documenting a client’s information, they own their IP, not us. If you are employing technical writers to document your systems, you need to make sure that this is the case. If you look at the fine print, you’ll find many technical writing firms own your IP once they’ve completed your documentation.

Legal compliance and protection, particularly surrounding WH&S issues is another compelling driver for you to document your information. With WH&S and employment legislation becoming an even greater focus for organisations today, ensuring your employees have access to effective training, policy, procedure and operational references is vital to ensure the safety of both your employees and your business.

Having documented policies, procedures and operational requirements, is vital to ensure your organisation can make the managerial decisions required to maintain WH&S compliance, and secure productivity levels.

Company documents, like training, procedural and maintenance manuals, are no longer viewed as ‘icing on the cake’, or something to get around to sometime in the future. They safeguard your  company’s information, offer legal protection, assist to achieve and sustain maximum productivity, and ensure the customer’s deliverables match the quality of your product.

Comprehensive documentation is now a necessity for businesses in order for you to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive marketplace.