A system of arranging o r preserving documents received and copies of letters issued in a proper way is known as filing system. Such a preservation of all the letters and documents enables the businessman to have ready reference as and when needed. Business concerned, big or small, carry correspondence wit a number of customers or clients. Such correspondence forms a permanents record of what has happened between the businessman and the customer. Reference of the previous correspondence is to be made for carrying any business activity and also forming new policies to make a business a successful one. There fore a copy of incoming and outgoing letters is to be preserved and arranged in a systematic way so that they may be easily available with out any lose of time. This whole process is known as Filling.
Essentials of A Good Filing System
For an efficient filling system it is necessary to have the following qualities:
The filling system should be quite easy and simple so that every one in the office and use it with out any technical knowledge. It would be so simple that even an inexperienced employee can use it.
The preservation of the letters is the foremost object of filling system. The letter should be kept in a lock or other device to prevent unauthorized persons to approach the correspondence
With the development of business some times it becomes necessary to alter the filling system. Therefore it is essential that filling system should be elastic
The space occupied by a filling system should be as small as possible
5.Cheapness and Economy
To avoid any financial pressure the system of filling should be cheap and economical in proportion to the size of business.
6.Rapidity of Reference
Filling of letters should be easy in order to trace the required letter with out any loss of time
Again the system of filling must suit the requirements of the business in connection with which it is used.The requirements of each business house vary according to the nature and extent of its business and the actual system of filling best suited to it varies accordingly.
8.Rapidity of Filling
The system should be such that the papers could be filled rapidly with out any loss o time
The records should be kept in a place and in a manner easily accessible to all. otherwise there is bound to be a waste of time in making references.
Various Systems of Filling Letters
1. Wire Filling
2. Pigeon Hole Filling System
3. Flat or Horizontal Filling System
4. Vertical or Upright Filling System
1. Wire Filling
In this system of filling a hard and thick steel wire is used. The wire is fixed on a small round wooden base and has a sharp point. in this thick wire all the letters are pushed and the wire is hung. it is usually used in small business houses.
2.Pigeon Hole Filling System
This system requires a wooden almirah containing 24 compartments like pigeon holes. There is usually a shutter in the front of the almirah to protect the letters. each compartment is labeled with one letter of alphabet. the last compartment bears the label of X,Y and Z. this is very old system of filling letters.
3. Flat or Horizontal Filling System
In this system in an iron almirah, the card board files are flatly, or horizontally kept in a number of holes duly alpha bated . this is a very popular and scientific system of filling letters. this system is a great advancement over pigeon hole system. It is known as flat filling system because of the fact that the letters filled under it are kept in a flat position files are specially designed for use in this system and their different makes are available in the market. The available files can be grouped into the following classes
i.The Cardboard File
It is a primitive form of filling. under this system either the cardboard covers or drawers of specially made cabinets are used, as files .the letters are put upon the cardboard and fastened with the help of a clip.
ii.The Box File
This is also not in much use. Here wooden boxes are used as files .the letters are kept flat inside the box in an alphabetic or numerical order. It is used in very small business houses .
iii.The Arch Files
This is the most popular form of flat files. A businessman generally keeps a number of flat files according to the volume of correspondence and the system and the system of classification he adopts. If the volume is small , one file may be sufficient ,but if it is large one file may be used for containing the correspondence of a single individual and there will be as many files as correspondents . the letters are arranged date wise. these files may be kept just like books or hung on the walls, or they may be kept in shape of drawers fitted in a cabinet.
iv.The Shannon Files
The Shannon file is the best known system of flat filling .this form consists of a filling cabinet containing many compartments in accordance with the requirements of the business .each drawers contains index sheets below which the letters are filled.
SPECIAL FEATURES OF A HORIZONTAL FILLING SYSTEM
Whatever the make of the flat files, they possess the following special features which should be carefully noted
1. The files keep the letters in a flat position and contain a device for fastening the letter s
2. Each file consist of alphabetical index cards which are made of loose stiff sheets .
3. The letter are placed date wise, with the latest letter date on the top.
4 All the letters contained in the file are carefully fattened together.
5 The file may be hang on the wall , or kept in the shape of the drawer in a cabinet or made to stand like a book.
6 When a file is full , the letter are removed to be transferred in binding cases.
ADVANTAGES OF HORIZONTAL FILLING SYSTEM
1 The letter filed cannot get out of order or cannot be misplaced or lost as they are fixed on the arches.
2 If at any time , the letter of a particular correspondent is to be removed , it can be done without disturbing the order of other letters.
3 A file drawer may be dropped accidently, but there is no fear of mixing the letters.
DISADVANTAGES OF A HORIZONTAL FILLING SYSTEM
1 Since the letters are fastened together , inconvenience is felt filling or taking out a letter.
2 The relative slowness is getting access to the letters as they have to be re-shuffled and turned forward and backward to find the required letter is inconvenient.
3 It is absolutely necessary to punch the papers , which makes the system time consuming.
4 Trouble is involved in re –organizing the cabinet to maintain an increasing volume of correspondence.
4. VERTICAL OR UPRIGHT FILLING SYSTEM
A still further advancement the art of filling letters is the vertical filling system . It is the most leading method of filling suited to a large concern having innumerable correspondence . The system is called vertical because the letters are kept in a vertical position . It requires a cabinet with deep drawers , folders and guide cards . In this system the letters remain unfastened.
WORKING OF THE VERTICAL SYSTEM
The following are the things which are needed for the proper maintenance of the vertical filling system.
This cabinet contains drawers which are made of wood or steel . The requirement of drawer depends upon the volume of correspondence and nature of the business. Cabinets with locks also provide safety.
A folder is made of strong paper and is folded in the middle so that the letters can be easily arranged in it. They are usually placed date wise. On the projection edge of the folder is written the correspondent’s name, subject etc.
3. GUIDE CARDS
Small groups are made in each drawer by sheets having in a tab. These tabs are marked alphabetically, geographically or numerically. The folder are kept behind them according to the mark on the tab.
4. ARRANGEMENT OF THE FOLDERS IN THE DRAWERS
The folders containing the correspondence are arranged in the drawers either alphabetically, geographically or numerically. The most common is the numerical arrangement , but sometimes alphabetical arrangement is also preferred thus they may be arranged in the following order:-
a. NUMERICAL ARRANGEMENT
Each folder is giving a certain number which is put down on the raised portion of its back. If a folder holds the letter of the single correspondents then all the papers will also carry the same number as that of the folder. If a folder contains documents related to more than one correspondents then the decimal system will be applied e.g if the folder carries a no. 53 then the correspondents will be numbered as 53-1, 53-2 etc. folders are bearing numbers like 10, 20, 50 and so on inserted in the proper places so that they indicate the position of the various folder of different numbers.
b. ALPHABETICAL ARRANGEMENT
In this folder contains the name of the correspondents on the raised back portion and not the number. Each guide card indicate the initial letters of the correspondents e.g. the letters to and from Mubarak Ali, Mahmud Ahmed etc will be placed together and their position will be indicate by the guide card bearing the letter ‘M’. The folders are arranged one after the another according to the first vowel occurring in the correspondents name. t he advantage of this system is that it does not need a separate index but it posses the disadvantage of causing conclusion between the customers bearing same names.
c. GEOGRAPHICAL ARRANGEMENT
This is merely a variation of either the alphabetical or numerical systems adopted geographically to meet the requirements of a particular business. One may allot each drawer for correspondence in each province, and guide cards may be put indicating each town. Traders having flourishing foreign trade and big merchants usually adopt this arrangements.
d. SUBJECT ARRANGEMENT
Where the subjects are of more importance than the name of correspondents it is useful to file all papers behind alphabetically arranged subjects guides using tabbed folders for sub- divisions of the subject or individual correspondents.
5. ABSENT OR OUT GUIDES
These are cards with ruled columns. When a folder is removed for reference the filing clerk puts an out guide in its place and enters in the ruled columns the particulars of the folder removed.
ADVANTAGES OF THE VERTICAL FILING SYSTEM
1. SPEED OF LOCATION
Speed of location is possible as the system combines admirably with the visible system of indexing. They can be traced out quickly without must effort.
2. CONVENIENCE AND CHEAPNESS
The vertical filing system has the advantages of handling a large volume of correspondence more conveniently and cheaply.
3. EASY REMOVAL OF DOCUMENTS
Access to the folders and to the documents is simple and that is why the removal of documents is easy.
This system is more adaptable in increasing the correspondence.
5. TIME SAVER
The papers need not be punched under this system, therefore it is a time in this respect.
6. NO FEAR OF MIXING
Since the correspondence of one individual is quite separate from others, therefore there is no fear of mixing up of the correspondence.
DISADVANTAGES OF VERTICAL FILING SYSTEM
1. DANGER OF LOSING
Since the letter are left lose in the vertical system therefore, there is danger of losing them.
This system has no security and in case a letter is dropped, it upsets the whole order.
3. LARGE SPACE
This system requires a large space as compared to the flat files.