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Two easy steps to begin to take control of your red tape

Red tape creates a flood of paperwork and it just keeps on knocking you down because these documents keep on expiring and need to be kept up to date.

This article gives you the first two steps to get your head above water. The next article gives you 4 easy steps to keep your head above water.

Divide and conquer

Step 1 – Split everything into Internal and External

The first step is to separate every compliance related document into two piles.

  • Internal Compliance: All the documents relating to your company; your staff; your property, plant and equipment (PP&E); your products and maybe even your major projects.
  • External Compliance: Similar to the above but all these documents refer to your suppliers’ documents; their products; their staff; their properties; their company policies, procedures, insurance, certifications, etc.

Our clients simply do this by stacking up all the hard copies into two separate piles or, if everything is in soft copy, separating it all into two electronic folders; Internal Compliance and External Compliance.

Step 2 – Split into classes of compliance documents

The second step is to take each pile and separate them into 5 smaller piles starting with the easiest one, Internal Compliance. Simply split the pile according to the rules below, and if you have a compliance document that doesn’t fit into one of these classifications, we would love to hear from you.

  • Staff compliance documents – Any document that has the name of one of your employees on it. By the way, contractors should be in the external compliance pile.
  • Property documents – Any document that relates to a building or facility your company owns or rents. Also, keep all PP&E documents for a particular location together.
  • Assets (Plant and Equipment)– Any document that relates to a piece of plant or equipment your company owns, from laptops and mobile phones to boilers and trucks. Also, keep all PP&E documents for a particular location together.
  • Product documents – Any compliance document that relates to a specific product or service that you make or provide. Keep all the documents for each product together as well.
  • Company documents – most of what’s left should relate to your company as a whole, i.e insurance certificates, policies and procedures, business registrations, business licences, etc. Any site-specific documents should be in the PP&E pile.
  • Project documents – to date, the only ones we have come across that fit into this category are special project related insurances.

Having done that for all their internal documents, our clients simply repeat the exercise for all the external documents. If you keep all the documents for each supplier together, you should end up with something sorted like this.

What’s next?

Hopefully, you now feel a bit more in control as the flood has been broken down into a number of small wavelets. The next article will give you a framework to help you set up your compliance rules. It will help you work out the lists of Mandatory Required Documents you need from each supplier as well as all the internal documents you need to manage.

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