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Document Naming & Numbering - BEST PRACTICE???

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by AdenaBurnette, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. AdenaBurnette

    AdenaBurnette Member

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    Given your experience, what is the best way to format document names and numbers? How do you determine what to use for a 'numbering scheme'? I worry that we implement a numbering scheme (to keep procedures and task lists in process flow order) and then somewhere down the road, we need a file between 034 and 035...then what do we do?
     
  2. Candi1024

    Candi1024 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know why you would need a particular number for a particular document?

    I would say anyway is a good way. Some of ours start with a part number, some start with the overriding document and then add on an extension. (overriding doc 1234, child doc 1234-1). Ours are also largely dictated by our PDM.
     
  3. hogheavenfarm

    hogheavenfarm Well-Known Member

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    It depends on your storage and retrieval systems. How would you try to find the documents if someone were to ask. Ours are grouped by process, then numbered, and revisions are made. There are none "added in the middle", just a new number from the bottom of the list. i.e. we have a SIP-034-c, (Special Item Process), then number and rev. If I need to find a document I just need to know if it is about an item (product) versus a Inspection process (General Inspection and Test)-GIT-034.
    Best practice is what works best for you.
     
  4. MarkMeer

    MarkMeer Well-Known Member

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    There is no "best practice". It's whatever works for you...

    One idea is: (ISO section)-(document level)-(document number)

    Where:
    ISO section is the ISO 9001 section.
    Document level is: (1) - top level procedure, (2) - work instruction, (3) - form
    Document number is a unique number

    So, for example:
    a purchasing system procedure might be: 74-1-1
    a receiving inspection work instruction: 74-2-1

    Just a suggestion. Like I say, whatever system works for you...
     
  5. David Bradley

    David Bradley Active Member

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    the two most common ways I see it is either clause based, as Mark listed above, or process based such as PUR-01-03 for the 3rd work instruction for the 1st procedure for Purchasing. We use strictly names, no numbers
     
  6. Chris Glover

    Chris Glover Active Member

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    Do you plan to go back and renumber all your documents when the standard changes?
     
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  7. MarkMeer

    MarkMeer Well-Known Member

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    Good point! Point in favor of the process approach. ;)

    We're on ISO 13485, the clause numbers of which didn't change in the 2016 revision (thank goodness!).
    ...but were I to start a new system from scratch, this is a good consideration against a clause-based numbering system!
     
  8. David Sheaffe

    David Sheaffe Member

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    Unfortunately it will really depend on how your documents are filed, how are users going to try and find them and the volume of documents you are talking about. My personal experience is avoid document numbers - and most definitely avoid linking them to clauses of the standard. As rightly mentioned previously when the clause numbers change you will be left with a major task on your hands.

    In my situation we have removed document numbers completely and rely solely on document names. But we have all our documents stored on our intranet so users can view the list of available procedures by department, or they can simply search for something (eg, search for 'purchasing' and they will get the Purchasing Policy as well as the Purchasing procedure).

    Good luck
     
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  9. Qualmx

    Qualmx Well-Known Member

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    the method I have seen most is this.
    Pro-pur-001
    Win-sal-001 and so on.

    Where pro means procedure,pur means purchasing process,,001 is the consecutive number.
    win means working instruction, sal means sales process,and consecutive.
    This way easily we do the tracking of the documents.
    For could he used for formats,etc

    Hope this helps.
     
  10. RoxaneB

    RoxaneB Moderator Staff Member

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    As has already been mentioned, the method for organizing and "naming" or "numbering" documents is really up to your organization. There is no requirement for the method to be applied. So, let me ask you this. WHY does it matter if there is a need for a file between 034 and 035? What's the impact to the organization? What's the risk this happens? From my perspective the answers are "none" and "none". Why? Because the numbering is not what's important. The real value is the document itself.

    I completely understand the desire to make it look logical and sequential and user/auditor-friendly. And at first, the numbering system seems ideal. As others have pointed out - and as you've realized - things change, organizations evolve and so too does the documentation. Rather than become caught up in the numbering, focus on who owns the documentation, the document control process and the method by which documents are created as new processes come into play.
     
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  11. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    Indexing documents maybe useful during the times when electronic databases are not yet prevalent. Codes/numbers facilitate manual searches. However, if you're using software databases for document registration, the value of assigning codes/numbers is becoming less substantial during searches or data filtering. Just make sure that fields for identification are provided (e.g. document name, document type, author, issue date, revision level, etc.).
     
  12. AdenaBurnette

    AdenaBurnette Member

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    Jeez. Sometimes I wonder why I can't come up with such simple solutions! There isn't a requirement to have document numbers - why am I forcing them???

    I have our folder structure set up based on our process flow. So basically our high level procedures will have their own folder and all of the respective processes and task lists will go in that folder. By using a good name for the file (enabling easy access) we would have all we need.
     
  13. AdenaBurnette

    AdenaBurnette Member

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    Roxane, thanks so much for your direction! Not even having document numbers hadn't even come into thought before now. I appreciate you pointing me to focus on the who owns the documentation, the document control process and the method that they are created....it really helped me to redirect. I was caught in one of those "that's how we've always done it" situations and I didn't even realize it! The real value is the document and the importance needs to be of it's ease of use for the persons who need it.
     
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  14. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Document numbering schemes were driven a) because historically, that's what's always been done and b) because file numbering on computers weren't intelligent. With the advent of the later, and recognizing that "because we've always done it that way" isn't a good reason, I'm with David. Do away with numbering. Use titles. It's all around us in the World that way, so why do something different for a management system?
     
  15. Qualmx

    Qualmx Well-Known Member

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    I have used numbers and letters for the numbering ,in this way e.g
    Pro-sal-001, and in my opinion is better than using only letters,one big advantage is that when used in a databases, you can do powerful searchings, and when browsing on the computers, easily the documents are located by type, process,consecutive
    , etc.
     
  16. bestj

    bestj New Member

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    Dear All,

    I am the quality lead in my organization( we are in the oil and gas sector and into operation and maintenance in an oil producing facility) Please i have a presentation on document control in my organization in a week time.

    Please i kindly need a hint and topic to use on this presentation.

    Thanks
    Bestj
     
  17. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    Good day @bestj and welcome to the site.

    Please help us help you by providing answers to the following...
    1- Is your organization currently registered to ISO 9001 ?(or planning to be?)
    2- Who is your audience?
    3- What is the purpose of your presentation?
     
  18. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    and, to John's questions, I'd add, do you HAVE a defined document control process?
     
  19. ncwalker

    ncwalker Well-Known Member

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    From an old dude - if you decide you DO want a numbering system, and you want to be able to insert documents in between:

    a) You could use the old BASIC programming trick. Don't count by ones, count by hundreds. 100, 200, 300. Then, if a document needs to go between 200 and 300, 250 is available.

    b) Look how IATF does their clauses. If you have 3.2.1 and 3.2.2, then something that goes in between is 3.2.1.1.

    c) Also - look at the Dewey Decimal System used at libraries. That works very well.
     
  20. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    If I have to prepare a presentation for document control I will have the following outline:
    1. Objectives/purpose of document control;
    2. The Standard's intent, concept, and terminologies;
    3. The Standard's requirement on control of documented information;
    4. Your organization's defined control for documented information.
     
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