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Troublesome Threesome I July 7, 2009

Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Others.
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First and foremost, I owe an apology to the limited few who have followed this blog. Various silly excuses ranging from fatigue to lethargy to procrastination to writer’s block has contributed to this much delayed post.

I did consider putting up a list on How-to-Archive or yet another one on Points-to-consider-to-Archive. But, there is plenty of much better and more mature information out there. Hence, after a long hard thought, I decided to showcase three different archiving disaster cases I encountered in my experience.

(Some of my esteemed readers are former colleagues who have encountered these cases and hence, may seem redundant to them. I invite you to contribute/correct.)

Here goes…

  1. Down the Drain… (almost)

What seemed like a normal outsourced archiving exercise for the Drainage Department for a local municipality became a nightmare. The job was simple. Scan the wide-format drawings, index them based on certain information available on the Title Block and archive them into their Document Management System.

It started well; we were given a sample drawing with the required meta-data clearly marked on the Title Block too. Little were we to know that this simple, straightforward exercise was soon to go almost j0439299down the drain.

The first signs of discrepancy arose when one of our indexing staff identified that the Title Block for one of the drawings was different from the sample on which they were trained. Being non-engineering clerical staff, they are not competent enough to differentiate any naming convention changes across similar drawings.

As would be the case, we immediately addressed this to the client. The differences were identified and work once again resumed as normal. Our clerks had hardly warmed their seats, when the next one popped up followed by the next followed by the next. Until, as a final straw, we came across a drawing which merely had the Municipality name and nothing else.

A fully outsourced project now required hands-on participation from their Document Controllers and through a slow and tedious training process, the indexing responsibility was handed over to them to complete the indexing.

For Clients: It may seem obvious that all your drawings have a similar structure and information set. Do keep in mind that different contractors use different templates for different projects. Hence, it is critical to ensure you know your drawings per project and per contractor.  Even better would be to have a standard template that all contractors should comply with. Unless, you want to depend on your Document Controller’s memory.

For Vendors: Similar to the clients, it would be recommended that you too review the drawings per project per contractor to ensure that you would have identified any discrepancy. It may not be possible that you could have done a review prior to being awarded the project. Hence, having a clause built into your contract will ensure that you are not liable for any discrepancies from the client.

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Comments»

1. Pradeep - July 8, 2009

We all can learn something from this, as your experience now becomes ours as well ! Especially liked your message/advice to the clients and vendors at the end.

Waiting for more.

2. Michael Jahn - July 8, 2009

it is never that simple !

sanoojk - July 8, 2009

I do agree that it never is. Every archiving project has its own set of challenges that are unique to the organisation, its culture and its processes and its infrastructure. Above all, budget too.
This was only showcasing a particular case I encountered…
Thanks for your observation, though. Do continue to contribute your comments.


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