How Diageo do document control

As one of the world's largest drink companies, Diageo must maintain the highest standards of quality and safety for its products in accordance with ISO 9001 and BRC requirements. 

Good documentation control is central to this goal, promoting accountability, information-sharing and unified processes.

Diageo has been using Qualsys's EQMS solution for 13 years to manage thousands of various documents in a consistent, controlled way. Here's how they keep on top of an international web of information.


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1. Dedicated staff

Most businesses allocate document control - if it's done at all - to an individual or small group of individuals, for whom document control is a small part of their day-to-day role.

If the business documentation is primarily paper-based, balancing manual document control with other daily activities can be almost impossible.

Diageo solved this problem by sourcing an electronic document management solution and setting dedicated personnel to manage it.

Not only does electronic document management require, on average, 66% less time than paper-based processes, specialised job roles allow Diageo to allocate the staff best suited for document control, according to their working styles and preferences.

For instance:


As an individual I try to get everything in my life under control, in the correct box and the correct area. That's how I am as a person. EQMS has allowed me to bring that approach into my work life. When I go to work, I have a start, middle and end to each process, from receiving a document to uploading it into the module. I like the uniformity of it.


                                        - Janice McMillan, BMS Coordinator, Diageo 



2. Consistency is king

Staff using outdated documents, allowing variation to seep into policies and procedures, and not managing change and version control properly are all productivity roadblocks which undermine a business's quality management system.

Diageo's emphasis on consistent, controlled documentation permeates to the highest levels of the business, from bottling line to senior leadership and governance teams. 

With Qualsys's document and change management modules, Diageo document controllers like Janice can enforce standardised templates and change control workflows for a 'right first time' approach.

Senior management set frequent review periods to ensure consistency is being maintained.


The biggest problem before we began using the system was getting colleagues to pass the correct information on in a consistent format. We use the system to store standardised forms, then when the documents are ready they go into the system too. It's become a natural location for us. 

We then run monthly reports to capture how many document reviews and approvals might be overdue and who's responsible for them, which is how we measure the impact of quality and track how well the system is supporting us. The reports are all instantly generated by the system, which is another great help.


                                     - Janice McMillan, BMS Coordinator, Diageo


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3. Make it easy

AIIM estimates up to half an hour per day per employee can be lost searching for documentation. Document chaos increases pressure, uncertainty, administration time and stress for business staff.

When sourcing an electronic document solution, Diageo ensured that usability and ease of use were top of the list.


I like the simplicity of it for the end user. It can sometimes get complex behind the scenes for me because the workload is so high, but the simplicity for the end users is fantastic. It's so user-friendly. 

I like the fact there's an owner for every document. It encourages responsibility and ensures nothing falls through the cracks.


                                   - Janice McMillan, BMS Coordinator, Diageo


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Next steps

Read the full case study interview with Janice here.

Read our five reasons to go paperless here.

Or find out how we can help your business build natural, consistent document management with a 15-minute chat:

Document Management Software

Topics: ISO 9001, Document Management, Document Control Procedures, Case Studies, BRC 7

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