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Changing a document numbering system

Discussion in 'Documentation Control, Procedures, Templates,...' started by mn0322, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. mn0322

    mn0322 New Member

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    Hi,

    What are your thoughts - pros and cons to changing a document numbering system?

    (we have thousands of files, not managed via qms software but through a simple document spreadsheet)
    The numbering system has been changed several times before I started and I think it adds to the mess to keep changing it, however the current is creating some issues and as I'm here for the long run I'd like it to be set up in a way that makes sense.

    So what are the downsides to doing this and what are things I should think about?

    Appreciate your input!
     
  2. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    Before renumbering documents, I am wondering how many you would need to keep as controlled documents; not everything needs formal control. It might be a good time to "clean house." (thousands? that scares me)

    Secondly, if only the number is being changed I would consider circumventing bureaucratic document approval cycles in favor of an "administrative change," even if doing so requires a formal change to the document control procedure in order to give yourself permission (if you don't already do so).

    Thirdly, be sure you make it easy for users to continue to find their documents once this cleanup has been done. I would not support going back in time and renumbering archived documents, but to instead keep a note (perhaps in the document control procedure) describing how to locate the old documents.
     
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  3. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    I hate document numbering with a passion! It's usually clear what a document is from the title, so there's no need - especially since Windows now (finally) allows document naming more than a few digits etc. I've never felt it necessary, either, to relate (in the numbering scheme) to a clause of "ISO" or define a layer of documentation (policy, procedure, instruction, form etc) as in some cases, the document doesn't "fit" this hierarchy.

    If you have the opportunity, ditch the numbering...
     
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  4. Nikki

    Nikki Well-Known Member

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    Yes, "thousands" sounds scary. We have a total of 100 controlled documents - and I would say that at least 25 or so should be tossed. Clean house for sure!
     
  5. mn0322

    mn0322 New Member

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    Thanks for your suggestions!
    It's a fairly large operation with a lot of different types of documents that do need to be controlled, however I am certain a large portion could be archived, they just need going through. Like I said, it's all just a big mess atm! :(
    Which might also be aided by a new numbering system as it marks documents that have been evaluated to ones that still needs to be worked through.

    As for your second suggestion could you please elaborate?
    Thanks
     
  6. mn0322

    mn0322 New Member

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    I've given that some thought but I'm not entirely sure how it would work for us. We have a shared drive where everything gets stored, that everyone (200+ people) uses, so it contains both uncontrolled and controlled documents, anything from spreadsheets, training logs, contracts, presentations, procedures, guidelines, weekly reports, minutes, etc etc (I could go on forever). Random stuff people are working on. So to store controlled documentation with a unique reference number in addition to the document title, as opposed to just a title, differentiates controlled docs from everything else. So if someone looks for a controlled document, like a risk assessment, they don't need to look through 20 different documents with a similar title before finding the "actual" one. That's my logic anyway, not sure if it makes sense.
     
  7. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    It seems that "document control" isn't working effectively, I'd suggest. There should be no need to trawl through lots of documents, to find the "controlled" one...
     
  8. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    In an administrative change, an authorized person could enter "Admin change: XYZ" in revision history, identify himself/herself, and record the date. If the change does not alter the document's purpose or use, why make it difficult?
     
  9. mn0322

    mn0322 New Member

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    It's not working no, I'm in the process of setting it up. But there's a certain way that it has been done (or not been done, rather). If nothing else, the document number makes the distinction for me, and makes it easier for me to work through documents.
     

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