April 19, 2023

Good documentation helps

Good documentation is a critical approach to maintaining clear, consistent records. For complex equipment, such as coating and finishing equipment it’s not just a recommended idea. Some industries and companies require documentation to ensure reliability, integrity, safety, accountability, and accuracy. More than that, if you’re ISO compliant, you need “good documentation.”

Also known as “Good Documentation Practices” or “GDocP,” this is a specific process for preparing, reviewing, approving, recording, and storing documents. The ultimate goal behind GDocP is the design and manufacture of high-quality, safe, effective processes and quality products.  

Why have good documentation? 

GDocP standards reduce misinterpretations and miscommunications, ensuring better practices and consistent quality control. They can also protect intellectual property while keeping your organization in complete legal compliance.  

Good documentation can provide several benefits for both companies and employees, including:

Consistency and quality

With well-documented procedures and training, employees can perform tasks, including coating and finishing, consistently and reliably. This can ensure that products meet quality standards and customer expectations. The results? Higher quality final products.


Proper documentation and training can help employees work more efficiently, reducing the time and resources required to complete activities. Instead of asking around, employees can look up the process or procedure. The result eliminates redundancy, reduces time, saves money, and increases productivity. In other words, having the right documentation can improve your bottom line.


Some tasks can be dangerous. Just in manufacturing alone, hazardous materials and equipment can be involved. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) provide that information, especially for hazardous materials. Technical Data Sheets (TDS) can provide additional information about usage. Proper training and documentation can help to avoid accidents or injuries while creating a safer work environment for employees. That, of course, reduces worker’s compensation claims.

It also helps you meet OSHA standards. OSHA has safety standards you’re required to meet. Not following those standards can result in fines.


Many industries have specific regulations and standards that must be followed, especially to continue meeting certification standards, such as ISO (International Organization for Standardization). Some industries have laws that apply to them, such as the medical device industry or healthcare companies. Using accurate and updated documentation ensures you’re compliant, reducing fines and lawsuits.

GDocP standards

GDocP uses a standard, consistent set of requirements for quality control during documentation. ISO requires documents to be created, updated, and retained in a manner that is traceable and easy to access. This is critical for review, both internally by employees and externally by organizations (such as auditors).

Numerous documents must comply with GDocP standards, including: 

  • Methods of product analysis
  • Processes
  • Procedures
  • Records of calibration
  • Certificates of analysis
  • Checklists
  • Logs
  • Policies
  • Reports on technology transfers
  • Test methods
  • Safety data sheets and material safety data sheets
  • Operating instructions

This is a small sample of the numerous documents that must meet GDocP standards. Basically, it should include any piece of information telling you what steps to take (and who can take them) and authorizations of products or services completed.

While complex, the GDocP standards are easier to achieve when using the “ALCOA” principles.

What are the ALCOA principles? 

ALCOA stands for “Attributable,” “Legible,” “Contemporaneous,” “Original,” and “Accurate.” 

  • Attributable. This section covers aspects of how to write documents, when to write them, and who’s authorized to take various steps. It includes standards for how it was written (permanent ink, for example). And it should include signatures required to sign off, too on quality completion.
  • Legible. This concerns space between lines, clarity, and other issues that ensure the content is legible and understandable. For your business, that may include translations to languages your employees speak and read.
  • Contemporaneous. There should be no pre-filled items and documents must include exactly what is observed or should be completed. 
  • Original. Includes a standard practice for electronic capture of data, validation, and original data entry. Some industries require versioning, for example. Even storage is important. Can employees access this information easily? Intranets could be a great method to provide documentation.  
  • Accurate. This section ensures that documents are free of errors and recorded exactly as observed, with specifications for calculated or actual data. 

Elevated helps with GDocP

Good documentation is essential. That’s why Elevated, when implementing everything from compressed air systems to coating and finishing equipment, provides documentation and training to your staff. We spend time so they understand how to use equipment and leave behind materials. In some cases, we help store information, too. Whatever storage method you prefer, our team can assist you.

Ask about our work with one pallet company and the materials and training we provide! It’s how we stand out as a true partner, helping companies and their workforce keep safe, compliant, efficient, and effective.

Christopher Richmann
Author: Christopher Richmann
Kif Richmann is a professional writer and editor who has been creating content since 2011. With degrees in communication and journalism from The University of Iowa, Kif has been a full-time self-employed freelancer since 2014. Throughout his career, he has served numerous industries including manufacturing, real estate, technology, finance, healthcare, transportation, and education.
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