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Document Management - Manual vs QSToolbox

Running a manual document management system is tedious and frequently problematic. Here's how it looks, and how it compares in QSToolbox.


Document management is a necessary part of doing business and a core requirement of all the ISO management standards, so you have to do it one way or another.

Many small organisations can get by with a manual system on the fileserver (or an online equivalent), but you often need a designated 'controller' person to keep it in shape. A manual system becomes more and more difficult to maintain as the organisation grows, and it doesn't take long for the system to collapse if you lose your document controller.

Here's a comparison between a manual system and QSToolbox software for each of the main tasks required for document control to help you work out whether the time savings could make it worth the switch.

1 - Create new documents

Toolbox vs manual system - even

This part of the process doesn't have to change. QSToolbox can control your documents as files created in whatever application you prefer to work with.

upload file to control existing documents

Alternatively you can create documents in QSToolbox directly and view them like you do a webpage - on your computer, tablet, phone. You can still save a pdf or print a hardcopy if you need to. (This option helps with #9 below.)

2 - Chase up approval

Toolbox - <2 minutes. Your system: _______

To get a written record of an approval in a manual system, you have to put a hardcopy on someone's desk, or send it by email, and then keep following up until it's done. Collect the approval, and keep a record of that somewhere (in a place where you can find it again if needed).

In Toolbox, you assign the Approver and a Due Date and let the software handle the follow up. To approve the document, the approver logs in and clicks the 'Approve for Release' button. All done.

approve document for release

The document is approved, with a record of who and when, and the document is already released to the system (so skip the next step entirely).

3 - Release the new version (& do something with the old one)

Toolbox - 0 minutes. Your system: _______

On the fileserver, you have to upload the new version to the right place and mark it somehow to show that it's the new one. This is not so effective:

final final
final 2020
final August

It's best to get rid of the old ones. Some people move the old one to an 'old' or 'archive' folder.

In QSToolbox this already happened at the 'approval' step.

old release to superseded

As soon as you approve and release a new version, the previous release automatically goes to 'superseded'.

4 - Tell everyone about document updates

Toolbox - 0 minutes. Your system: _______

After you release a new version manually, you need to tell everyone there is a new version (and maybe send it to them). Memo? Group Emails? Company wide email blast?

In QSToolbox this already happened at the 'approval' step, only to people who needed to know about, when all the 'followers' received a notification from QSToolbox.

follow a document for notifications

5 - Replace hardcopies with a new version

Toolbox vs manual system - even.
(If digital access instead, then Toolbox - 0 minutes). Your system: _______

Software can't help you too much with that job, unless you actually don't need hard copies anymore because people can use their phones / tablets etc to access the documents directly in QSToolbox. Then zero time with QST for this one.

If you really do need hardcopies, you can make it a little bit easier to replace them by tracking where they are - along with the master copy controlled QSToolbox.

6 - Accessing Documents

Toolbox - <15 seconds/per document. Your system: _______

While this might not seem like a lot of time, there are multiple people in your organisation doing this same thing multiple times a day. It adds up!

Try our ROI calculator to see how much time is spent across an organisation, just searching for documents.

7 - Recreating lost documents

Toolbox - 0 minutes. Your system: _______

Lose track of an important document and you'll have to re-create it from scratch when you can't find the document at all, or recreate an editable version from the pdf copy or printed copy because that is the only thing you can find. 30 minutes or 3 hours? How often this year?

In QSToolbox, your documents are safely controlled, including the old versions, and including an 'undelete' option in case that rescue is needed. Nothing lost.

recover deleted document

8 - Issues from using the wrong document

Toolbox - $0. Your system: _______

One company lost $40K from one error like this (before they used QST!).

doc revision note price increase

Version control isn't just for the auditor. QSToolbox eliminates any confusion about which information is current.

(don't know your answer? Perhaps have a look at tracking issues in QSToolbox)

9 - Change company logo on documentation.

Toolbox - 1 minute. Your system: _______

It doesn't happen very often, but yes it's very painful. 100 documents with a logo, means 100 edits, approvals, releases, memos, hardcopies, etc.

If you create your documents directly in QSToolbox, they all get their logo from the one place. One logo change, everything updated at once!


Remember that this is just for one module in QSToolbox. There's also Issues, Incidents, Assets, Risk, Contacts, Training, and records in Registers.

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