The primary components of a filing system include:
- File folders
- Folder indexing / labeling / color-coding
- Organization of documents within folders
- Shelving / high density shelving
- Computerized file registry and file Tacking
File folders often hold many documents and are being used by staff frequently. Folders should be sturdy and durable, so that folders are stable when being used and so that folders last for a long time without tearing or other damage. File folders can be of various colors, and can include printing on the folder front, such as customer logo, customer name and confidentiality statement. Folders should include an end tab (if being stored on open-shelves) or top tab (if being stored in drawers). Side and/or top tabs on a folder enable best-practices filing systems / schemas.
Folder indexing is critical to records management operations, productivity and the costs associated with manage records. If folders are indexed on the folder’s front, then staff have to pull records off-of-shelves or out-of-drawers over and over and over each time a document needs to be interfiled, a folder is pulled or a folder is re-filed into the system. Folders should be labeled on the side of folders, so that folders can be easily identified visually without having to move folders in and out to read the folder front indexing. File folder indexing should include color-coding of the digits of a file # or letters of a file name/description (a file’s primary/unique index).
Effective file folder indexing enables quick identification of file folders when stored in filing systems, and ‘eliminates’ misfile problems. Another labor intensive function of file folders is “how quickly can a person access needed documents or information from within a file folder”. There are a number of fastener clips that can be utilized to secure documents within folders. Folders are available with partitions, and, color-coded index dividers are available, both effective in organizations by document-type / folder sections.
It is important for file registry to have at ready access as many years of active files as possible. Drawer style file cabinets require excessive floor space, since the cabinets cannot be more than 5 shelves due to staff having to ‘look down’ to see files, and, because space has to be allocated for opening of the drawers. Open shelf files can be up to 8 shelves and do not require space for pulling out drawers, meaning that open shelf (library style shelving stores approximately double the number of files as drawer style cabinets within available floor space. Open shelves are also available mounted within and/or on various types of rolling and rotating systems to further maximize the # of files that can be stored within a file registry / filing system.
File tracking, RFID file tracking and RFID for finding files is discussed extensively throughout this website, for additional details. Files should be labeled, tracked when leaving the file registry or returning to the file registry and when in circulation. It is critical to office worker productivity to be able to rapidly access needed files. Optimized file registries and file tracking will improve file room efficiency by approximately 50%, and, office workers will recover on average approximately four (4) weeks of added productivity annually.