Is Your Virtual Filing System a Black Hole?

Most companies TRY to create standards for their virtual filing cabinets, but most also give up very quickly.  It is hard to create a standard that works for most people in most situations and it’s even harder to police it.  So, what happens?  Either the standard is ignored or everyone stumbles along, filing things the way it makes sense to them at that moment in time.  I call this the “that-file-name-made-perfect-sense-at-3:00 a.m.” syndrome (see my comment on PLM PDM Professionals Group discussion).

Who knows what’s happening in the mind of the user when they hit “save.”  Typically, “save” just plugs in the first few words of the document itself, so I think we all have files in our systems that read things like, “I want to stress…” or “The critical…” or even, “Hey John…”

At least when someone upgrades to “save as,” they have to give it some degree of thought, but it still doesn’t mean that it will make sense a week from now, or worse, a year from now.  As I mentioned above, it often doesn’t even make sense to the creator, much less to anyone else, so it ends up in the black hole of cyber-space and can only be found again through exhaustive searching or sheer luck.

So what is a person to do?  I firmly believe that companies need to have work standards.  It’s important, but there is an old adage, “never give an order that you know won’t be upheld.”  The same goes for computer file names: “never create a file naming standard that you know won’t [or can’t] be followed.”

This leads to the obvious solution: what is called a Poka Yoke [error proofing] solution for those of you familiar with the term in Lean/Six Sigma.  A genuine Poka Yoke is a “fix” that eliminates the problem at its source – in other words, take away the ability to make the mistake in the first place.  Yes, but, “how is that possible?” you ask.  The solution comes from not having to worry about it AT ALL.

At Alcove9 we’re all about “simple” and to that end, we’re creating a paradigm shift in the way you need to think about how to save, organize and name your files.  Sure, the title should make some degree of sense, but, as long as your search word or number is SOMEWHERE in the document or drawing, “we got ya’ covered!”  Search-Based Applications (SBA) give you the freedom to name documents what you want, yet it empowers you to easily find what you need, when you need it!

Janie Farner

About Janie Farner

Janie Farner started her career in Sales and Marketing at Chrysler Corporation and has been a Lean Trainer & Consult for the past 20 years, working with companies in the United States, Europe, India & Asia and guest lecturing at manufacturing and aerospace companies, hospitals and local colleges and universities. Ms. Farner has taught and implemented Lean strategies in healthcare, automotive, aerospace, warehousing, construction and service industries. She has worked as a coach and mentor from executive management to the shop floor in Fortune 500, Tier 1 & 2 automotive and aerospace companies and is the co-author of The Business Operating System (AIAG,99), a book about linking strategy to tactics.
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