How does your company file projects once complete?

Tattoued

Member
Not sure if this is the right forum, but I'm just curious how other print shops file their projects once complete. I feel like the system we are using is so antiquated and time wasting. It's actually improved lately with generating job tickets via fillable form on Acrobat. We had a few boxes of these clear plastic job bags (9x12) that we're now using in the same fashion as previously (see below). We just started filing them now that we have quite a few jobs complete, but I'm thinking it's counterproductive to file the job INCLUDING the plastic job bag! I mean, we're going to run out of them at some point!! THEN what?? I'm thinking if they insist on continuing with the strictly numerical system, we'll have to use manila folders or something to file them so that the samples etc. are contained with the associated job ticket.

We USED to photocopy the previous job ticket (for repeat orders or similar orders just for reference), Then HAND WRITE a new job ticket printed on a 9x12 envelope. Basically COPYING everything on that previous ticket to a new ticket. Every shred of communication is printed and added to the job ticket (the envelope), including previous samples for color reference and stock reference, and once the job is complete, it gets filed in NUMERICAL job ticket order. We have literally 14 4 drawer filing cabinets FILLED with these envelopes and their contents, as well as a few more years back of job tickets in envelope boxes. I'd estimate that count at about 30-50 boxes. It's INSANE if you ask me. My art files are alpha by company, then job ticket numbered folders in that folder, then all the art files and components in sub folders. The entire filing system of job tickets is strictly numerical. God forbid if someone mis files something. You'll NEVER find it. Oh yeah, it's happened... Anyway, just curious how you all file your jobs once complete. Maybe I can make a new suggestion that'll fly.

What I did at a place I worked before was a vertical filing system like doctors offices use, and get the lettered color coded labels and use the first 3 letters of the company name for that file, then use a manila folder to contain any pertinent info that we'd need to know for future orders, as well as a sample of the job. It was all ALPHA and worked SO well. If there was a repeat order, then just generate a job ticket by cloning the previous one with appropriate adjustments for date, etc, and then pull a sample from the previous job for color matching and such. I suggested that and it was shot down immediately and was told not to bring it up again. LOL
 
then pull a sample from the previous job for color matching and such.
I don't see any reason why an old sample is necessary for the old order. Just make it look good or match colors as specified. I've never once had a customer reject a job.

Just make it look good. Physical samples are for showing to new clients, not for a filing system.
 
We’ve actually had customers kick back jobs saying “the blue doesn’t look the same as it did last time”. We make notes if there are any specifics as far as color settings on our Versant, but sometimes it depends on humidity, new or older drums, paper stock changes etc. that can cause a color shift. My main complaint is the numerical filing and saving every shred of communication on any particular project. It’s INSANE! We actually blew through a CASE of 8.5x11 copy paper in less than 3 weeks printing out emails, quotes, previous invoices, etc. and most all of them get filed. There just has to be an easier way, especially in this digital age! The answer I get is “that’s the way we’ve always done it”.
 
Our production job ticket comes from our own quote/job system.
It is printed and stapled in a C4 envelope -these were printed for a job years ago that got cancelled at the last minute.

Samples are put in there after the job is done and they are filed in job number order in filing cabinets.
Often we refer back to the samples for colour just to make sure we're close.
Pretty easy for us to manage and sets us apart from competitors.
 
Sounds pretty much the same without all the extra printouts of email communications with the client. The owner is the only one with access to our quote system and he won’t take the time to generate job slips.

This is the third print shop I’ve worked for that files strictly numerically by job number (PO). If someone misfiles a job, it’s pretty much gone forever. What do you do when you have an exact repeat? To me, it’s just redundant to have the same exact paperwork all over again, taking up space in the filing cabinets (and e get a LOT of repeats). We keep jobs for about 5 years.
 
We also file by job number. My software automatically adds a folder to my server with JobNo - ClientCode - JobName so we can sort by latest jobs.

For reprints we do the exact same. Didn't seem worth having a seperate process. For very regular jobs/clients we'll make a colour guide which we keep near the printer and make sure we work towards that for matching. Samples in the job bag are only a couple so don't make them very fat.
 
11" x 17" boxes filled front-to-rear with job tickets sorted by an incrementing job number from our pricing software. Each job has the job ticket, any production notes scribbled in, the client email approval, at least one sample, and any other paperwork that would cover our butts in a worst case scenario.

We always pull samples to color match to previous orders and to give our team a refresher on an order's buildout if it's been a few months/years since the previous request. Our key customers bounce jobs in a heartbeat if the color/paper/binding deviates too far from their previous order.
 
Sounds like the filing systems are the same across the board! I’ve just always thought it was a very inefficient way to file - strictly by job ticket number. To me, it still really is. The one place I worked for that used an alpha system with vertical files like a doctors office was awesome. Just not sure why all other print shops use the strictly numerical method. I guess because “that’s just always how it was always done”.
 
I've worked at small Mom & Pop shops for the last 20 something years now, they all use unique numerical filing for jobs. We file completed work in 10X12 envelopes typically containing the work order, press sheets, finished pieces email approval or pertinent communications on pricing and production. Losing these completed job envelopes has not been a big problem but it has happened. So much of our work is repeat business if an envelope is lost there is likely another with comparable samples and info, so it hasn't been a major problem. Redundancy to the rescue.

What's missing from the filing systems we use is notes for production people. I made an intranet site that can be used in-house. I am developing a prepress area to write pre-press notes on technical issues pertaining to jobs. Tips and tricks for working with customer files as they often need fixing of one kind or another. There is no designated place in our work flow to retain and retrieve some of this valuable info. In my experience management and non technical people seldom realize the value of this type of info to improving quality and efficiency. I figured making a searchable internal website would do the trick.
 
I've worked at small Mom & Pop shops for the last 20 something years now, they all use unique numerical filing for jobs. We file completed work in 10X12 envelopes typically containing the work order, press sheets, finished pieces email approval or pertinent communications on pricing and production. Losing these completed job envelopes has not been a big problem but it has happened. So much of our work is repeat business if an envelope is lost there is likely another with comparable samples and info, so it hasn't been a major problem. Redundancy to the rescue.

What's missing from the filing systems we use is notes for production people. I made an intranet site that can be used in-house. I am developing a prepress area to write pre-press notes on technical issues pertaining to jobs. Tips and tricks for working with customer files as they often need fixing of one kind or another. There is no designated place in our work flow to retain and retrieve some of this valuable info. In my experience management and non technical people seldom realize the value of this type of info to improving quality and efficiency. I figured making a searchable internal website would do the trick.
Great idea on the internal prepress guide!

Yeah I’ve been in print for over 35 years and mostly in mom and pop shops myself. Only ONE shop used the vertical alpha filing and it worked wonderfully. Everything and every job that had to do with a particular company was your fingertips instead of having to go back and search for previous job tickets in a line of filing cabinets or boxes. Where I work now, we used to use 9x12 envelopes. The job ticket was printed and numbered right on the envelope, and all info was hand written, even if it was an exact repeat. Just crazy and time consuming if you ask me. The only offense now is that we have 9x12 clear plastic envelopes and type the job ticket using a fillable pdf. We still have the job ticket reference list, and the numbers must always match the job tickets of course. Keeps everything on track. We make sure to include any notes on the job ticket about color adjustments or details to watch for on any particular repeat job since it would be noted on the previous job ticket. It’s just beyond me why more print shops don’t use an alpha filing system instead of of the numeric system.
 
It wouldn’t be one folder. It would be a vertical file like they use in doctors offices. Works the same way as a horizontal file where you slide the adjuster over to make more room. We kept forms in one folder, stationery in another, etc. Mostly what you get from regular customers is repeat orders, and you only need to keep one or two samples. When it’s alpha, there was no need to generate a whole new job ticket or folder. Just print out the job ticket, put it in your clear job bag or envelope, let it go through the process and take out what you need to save to file it in the existing Manila folders in that company file.
 
Alpha by customer wouldn't your folder on big accounts get huge?
We have entire file cabinets for single accounts, that's after purging orders after 5 years with no activity. I can't imaging not file by company name, we would go crazy finding reorders. Right now we have 22 cabinets for customers files.
 
With the vertical wall cabinets, you could potentially use an entire shelf or two for those huge clients. We are a small print shop, so even the regularly ordering customers would have plenty of space to file in alpha. Just use a divider to sub section everything into forms, stationery, promo products, envelopes, etc. File everything in THOSE areas chronologically. Reorders don’t need a separate file or folder, just a sample or two and the job ticket. I’ve done it this way and it really works wonderfully! Never had an issue finding anything and it really cuts down on the massive amounts of filing and paper.
 

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We file in alphabetical order with company name folders and we put their work orders inside the files once invoiced. It's worked here for over 20 years and we purge every year or so on orders past 7 years, but we do have like 7 filing cabinets full. We find it pretty easy to find repeats, unless it gets accidentally misfiled, then it's pretty much lost.
 
We put all relevant info in the MIS system so anyone looking up a past job will see issues off the bat on the last job, also have an area to carry forward job "gotchas" for that customer. Then we file by the date the job was dropped at the PO or customer picked up, usually all the job info is stapled together, you find the date in the MIS. Works well for us.
 

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