Nice, that advanced software for document creation. There are plenty of possibilities and your document will be ready within five minutes. Wonderfully fast and, above all, time-saving. But how consciously do you deal with what you create? In 'no time' you have plenty of documents and accompanying templates. But doesn't that overshoot the mark a little?
We believe it does. Because even though the software for document creation is extremely handy for creating large numbers of personalized documents, a little caution is required. Before you know it, you'll have a separate template for each company document. Can this be solved? Definitely ;).
A cleverly constructed template is the solution!
It's all in the way you build a template. Anyone who builds templates intelligently will ultimately reduce the number of templates within the organization. Fewer templates = simpler management. And let's be honest... That's what we all want, isn't it?
One document, several versions
It often happens that one document has several variants. An example of this is permits. Take a parking permit. You have the regular permit (for which you use template A) and the permit for disabled people (for which you use template B). The reason for two separate templates is the content in the document: the content in template A differs slightly from that in template B. Are there other types of parking permits? Then you soon have to deal with even more types of templates. But whether your document has 10 or 100 variants, all those different templates are actually not needed at all.
Knowledge, insight and smart templates
No matter how many documents of the same kind you have, you could create them from a single template. All you need is knowledge of the software, a good understanding of the different variants of the document and a smart template. One smart template captures all document variants in one template. But how do you build such a smart template, and what makes it so smart? Let us explain! That's how we are ;).
How to build a smart template?
What exactly is a smart template? What characterizes it? We take an example from it!
Take an employment contract. It contains various variables. Is it a temporary or a permanent contract? Will the employee get a lease car or not? What are the job-related conditions? For just these options you could create four different templates. Something many companies do. On average, organizations even create about ten types of templates for their employment contracts. A shame!
Get started with a smart template! You create a base with the content that applies to each type of contract. All variable elements can be added as an option, with accompanying text. Now, when creating a new contract, you can tick what does or doesn't apply. The type of contract and the specific terms and conditions. After ticking all the specifics, the basis is completed with the necessary information. Are your employment contracts made in different languages? This can also be set up in a single template. With one press of a button, the entire document can be adapted to another language from start to finish.
The flip side of the technology
Technology stands for nothing! And yet a 'but' follows. Of course, it's nice to have all those options for a template, but you can also go too far. Keep in mind that the template also needs to be easy to maintain. Take a critical look at which elements fit together and go well together in one template. If in doubt, don't do it. Even though you can add endless options to a template, sometimes separating templates is the best option. Think mainly of the end user, he or she has to work with the template! As a template maker, always work well together with the end users.
SmartDocuments in practice
When you've mastered the creation of smart templates, you can gradually reduce the number of templates within your organization. There are always documents that have different versions. Examples include employment contracts, collaboration agreements, sales contracts, application forms, purchase orders and legal documents. You can make templates as variable as you like, allowing you to support many variants of a document with a single template.
Smarter use of templates has nothing but advantages. Managing templates becomes less time-consuming. Because the number of templates is considerably reduced, the whole thing is a lot clearer. The management, which takes place in one place, therefore becomes a lot simpler and much less prone to errors. But above all, you save yourself the trouble of building a new template for each document variant. In the time you save, you can probably do plenty of other things (or extend your coffee break ;)).
Want to know what smart templates can mean for your organization? Let us know!