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ISO says that documents affecting quality must be controlled. The
implementation guidelines give some suggestions but do not dictate how
this must be done. The standards do say that there must be a control
system, and that system itself must meet certain criteria and must
itself be documented so that people who need to use it have clear
instructions. The standards provide a framework for doing this.
Previous discussions on this list have warned _strongly_ against trying
to make document identification numbers somehow "meaningful". Use a
prefix to indicate the type of document for the convenience of the
document control manager/clerk, perhaps, but otherwise just make sure
the identification number is unique. Try not to have duplicate numbers
across types (for instance, instruction IN0003 and form F0003 -- you and
I know that those are two unique numbers but Joe Dollar out on the
factory floor is going to infer a relationship between those two
documents and once he gets that idea he will be like a dog with a bone
A Google search on "Document Naming Conventions" brought up a lot of
interesting material. Some of it might even be useful. A quick review
of the top hits reinforced my instinct that use of a specific naming
convention is not as important as establishing a convention and
explaining it in writing in such a way that it is easily understood by
We make sure that every controlled document has a standardized header
Unique document ID number
Title with some naming conventions of its own:
"Associated Brands" means it applies to all work areas
"Work Area: How to XXXXXX" (instruction)
"Work Area: Startup Checklist" (form)
"Work Area: Startup Flowchart" (illustration)
Manager who reviewed (usually a supervisor)
Manager who approved (Director/Plant Manager)
Page X of Y
A simple database query for all documents including "Associated Brands"
and a specific work area (production line) brings up a complete list of
all documents that apply to that area. We're gearing toward a totally
electronic control system with print-on-demand capability now.
If a document does not have the header and footer and is not listed in
the database, it is not controlled. It might still be a legitimate
document but usually as we find these we end up bringing them into the
The most important advice I ever received (or gave) about naming
"Make the document names meaningful and unique."
Dori "Goddess of the Documents" Green
Associated Brands, Inc.
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