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Document Coding/Numbering Scheme Ideas

document control quality management

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 03:57 PM

I was hired to help bring my current company up to speed on QMS. It seems I have a LOT of work to do. Anyway, one thing I want to propose is that we update our controlled document numbering scheme. Here's an example of what is currently being done:



8.1.1 Quality Policy 


I am not sure how this works but I think the first two digits are a clause and the last digit is a version number. There is also a:


8.1.2 Food Safety SOP


Where the first two digits are associated with a clause and the last digit is a version number, but do you see the potential issue here. What happens when the Quality Policy needs to be updated to revision 2???


Could some of you post some ideas for document identification numbering schemes where each document has a unique identifier.







    Food Safety Consultant, Production Supervisor

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 05:06 PM

I use a system of


[Two digit tier of document]-[3 digit document number]-[supporting number if applicable]


I have 3 tiers of documents

10=requires top level management signature

20=Requires management signature

30=requires QA signature only


Then I just issue numbers numerically across SOP's as they come up, 001,002,003 etc.


The "supporing number" is for things like databases, controlled forms, etc. that support an SOP. E.g. an "incident report" used for my corrective actions SOP would have number 10-007-1 while the corrective actions SOP is just 10-007.


Revision numbers are maintained on the document, and I use the date of the revision as the revision number. No one cares that you're on the Xth revision of a document, only that it's the most current one.

Austin Bouck
Owner/Consultant at Fur, Farm, and Fork.
Consulting for companies needing effective, lean food safety systems and solutions.

Subscribe to the blog at furfarmandfork.com for food safety research, insights, and analysis.


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Posted 18 July 2017 - 05:04 PM

I understand your aggravation. We have the same issue here. Some of the best advice I ever received was to not try to make your numbers mean something. Just pick a number to start and and move to the next number in sequence upon each new document, record, procedure, etc...


However, I do find it necessary to have some type of conformity. Since most item numbers in our system were already configured as five digit numbers I stayed away from using five digits numbers for any records and/or paperwork.


I then decided to make written policies/procedures to have three digit numbers. I chose 100's for HACCP, 200's for SSOP, 300's for Pre-Requisites and so forth.


Records and documents I choose a four digit system. I list all records/documents with a four digit number and tack on a code letter for departments. For example I have a Batch Record that is used in all Production Rooms that is  Form No. 5025. I then list 5025G for the Batch Report in our Grind Room and 5025C as the Batch Report in our Cutting Room. That way in our Pre-Requisites I can just list Batch Procedures to be recorded on Form No. 5025 without having to list each rooms record individually. 


When making a new revision of a procedure I don't list a revision number as part of its procedure number. I list the Revision date and a Revision letter. So if I have SQF Procedure for Document Control listed as Policy/Procedure 405 it stays that number, but every time I adjust it I give it a new Revision Level. So the first draft would have no Revision letter and at the first change I make it becomes Revision A with the date of the Revision. This method seems to work well for us and after 5 years or more of SQF audits we have had no complaints from auditors.


Good luck! 

Sigrid B

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 10:02 AM

Hi Millie,


This is the scheme we have:


First 2 letters for department or process owner responsible for the document. Example, Purchasing is PU, Quality Assurance is QA. If it's a company wide policy, we used the company's initials.


For work instructions = WI, for guidelines = GL, for forms = FM. Policies = PL. Same across all departments.


Then the numbers 0-99.


So say we created a new guideline for pathogen monitoring, and QA is the one assigned for it, then the guideline becomes: QA-GL-15 (if it's the 15th guideline in the series).


Attached File  QA-WI-15 Pathogen Monitoring.docx   23.31KB   192 downloads


Hope this helps somehow :)







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Posted 19 July 2017 - 10:38 PM

Also see this parallel and overlapping thread -



Kind Regards,




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Posted 13 March 2018 - 11:14 PM

How about for BRC? I like the tiered numbering system, do you seen any issues with it working with BRC?

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