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cards. This results in your having the current day's inspection cards in front, and all others arranged in their proper sequence behind, each group with its proper “ Day-of-the-week” division card.
Regarding the monthly inspection cards, as each inspection is completed and logged, the card is transferred to the next month's division card. For example: Inspection card No. 48 requires inspection of chain cables. As soon as inspection is completed and logged, card is removed from the March group and slipped into the place behind March and in front of April division card. Card requires no attention till April, when it will reappear in the front row.
The handling of quarterly, semi-annual, and annual inspection cards is the same. As each inspection is completed and logged, its card is removed from the current month's group and slipped into the monthly division, three months, six months, or twelve months hence. No further attention is necessary till the cards reappear in the current month's place.
In starting the tickler system, all cards are crowded together in the current month's file. After the first quarter the cards will naturally scatter, owing to the separation of dates on which inspections are made. For instance, some quarterly inspections will be made during the first month, others during the second, and the remainder during the third month. As each card is advanced three months from date of inspection, the quarterly cards are scattered over the three months of next quarter. The same applies to semi-annual and annual cards.
By exercising a little forethought in starting the system, cards and therefore inspections can be spread over the required periods; so that at no time will there be either a feast or a famine. The system once started becomes automatic and saves you the necessity of keeping track of inspections. At the proper times, cards appear in front notifying you to make the required inspections.
Besides this AID TO THOROUGHNESS the monthly and weekly tickler can be used in other ways. For instance, I keep a supply of ordinary scratch paper cut to size of regular cards (3 inches by 5 inches). Anything to be done at some future date is scribbled on one of these memo. slips and placed in its proper month or day division. When the time arrives, the memo. slip automatically appears in front and I comply with it. If it is an order
directing the collection of data requiring considerable time, the memo. is placed sufficiently far in advance of the required date to collect the data and submit the report on time.
If directions necessitate repeated reporting at regular intervals, the requirements are recorded on a regular card, properly labelled and filed in its proper group.
If the requirement necessitates action only in the event of certain other occurrences, a permanent card is prepared and filed under a special group called when occurring. If the occurrence repeats itself, a reference to the when occurring group will furnish data regarding necessary action to be taken.
Each card carries at its bottom the article of the Navy Regulations or Fleet Regulations requiring the inspection. Th
The more complete the synopsis on the card is, the greater help the card will be in future work. For instance, if the file number of correspondence pertaining to the subject is noted, all information on hand is immediately available to assist you in the case under investigation, saving much time.
If this system is intelligently supervised, it is practically impossible for you to forget anything, or to be late in complying with the numerous requirements of existing orders.
Everyone knows how difficult it is to locate information in the Regulation Book occasionally. Having located the desired information once, why repeat the search six months or a year later? Why not make a brief synopsis on a card and file it in your tickler. The next time you need the information you will have it immediately. Do not try to remember such details; if your brain is choked with details, you may lose sight of more important matters. Let your tickler keep you posted about all routine matters.
THIS SYSTEM ADDS A BIG PERCENTAGE TO THE AVAILABLE TIME OF THE WORKING DAY, as it releases your mind from all monotonous details and makes time available for other matters. It is astonishing how little time is required to supervise the routine work after the system is understood and is running. In addition, you have the certainty that nothing is being overlooked.
THE FILING SYSTEM The filing system consists of the usual modern vertical filing system and the day book. Letters and reports are filed in stiff
folders to which they are secured by clips. Folders represent subject exclusively. I recently saw an attempt made to file letters by titles of bureaus, offices, names, etc. It was hopeless, inadequate, restricted, and confused. All naval officers have a certain familiarity with filing systems, and to permit the installation of such an inadequate system proves my claim: THAT THE ROOT OF MUCH EVIL IS LACK OF PROPER SUPERVISION.
One advantage of the system which is advocated in this paper is its flexibility. It grows as your requirements increase, and does not necessitate any very elaborate mapping prior to its establishment. The ideal method of indexing is to use index cards with JUST ENOUGH cross-indexing to cover normal requirements, but not to make a picture puzzle. KEEP A BRIGHT LOOKOUT FOR overorganisation. Nearly all clerks and yeomen inherit this trait, and if not carefully supervised, will build a system requiring unnecessary labor. Remember that Work makes work" and so on the tail is wagging the dog.
Instead of using index cards, some yeomen prepare two pamphlet lists on official size paper; one an alphabetical and the other a numerical list. This scheme has some advantages from the yeoman's point of view, although I do not consider it as good. as the index card system.
One of the most important parts of any filing system is its day book or chronological record of all outgoing and incoming correspondence. The following instructions which are pasted in the front cover of the day book are self-explanatory. It was found necessary to make them a part of the book in order to prevent yeomen from forgetting, in the beginning only, the routine, or making unauthorized changes adversely affecting the completeness or simplicity of the scheme.
THE DAY BOOK “ This book is a chronological record of all outgoing and incoming correspondence. To be of value, it must be absolutely complete in all details. If complete, it will save much time in locating correspondence.” “ The book is divided into two parts:
Pages 1 to 100: Letters and reports sent.
“ Letters and Reports Sent. This part records in tabular form to whom each letter is sent, the subject of the letter, where filed, and any remarks. Each day's record is complete and follows the previous day's record, from which it is separated by two or three blank lines, on one of which the current day's date is stamped. This scheme results in each day's record forming a complete group under its own date, the separated groups adding clearness and greater facility in searching for correspondence."
Endorsements are recorded in this section as letters sent, and under the remarks column a note is made indicating it is an endorsement."
“Letters Received.---This form is similar to the first section, except that it requires a double page for complete entry instead of a single page. It contains columns for recording the following data: From whom the letter is received. His file number. The date of his letter. Our file number. The subject of the letter and a column for remarks. The last two items, requiring most space, are given the entire right-hand page of each pair. The other items and one small blank column for indicating to whom the correspondence is thrown, occupy the left-hand page."
“Each day's record is separated from the previous day's group by the same scheme as in the first part of book.”
Procedure.-Immediately upon receipt of mail, the date of receipt is stamped on each letter in the middle of the bottom margin. This scheme facilitates locating dates, as they can be seen by merely turning over the bottoms of the letters like turning over the pages of a book.
After stamping dates, all letters are logged in sequence in day book, first having started the day's record by stamping date in the middle of the page two lines below the last entry of the previous day.
All letters are then delivered to the captain. After glancing through them to acquaint himself with their requirements, he indicates by the key numbers to whom letters are to be referred for action.
The yeoman records in pencil in the black column on left-hand page of “ Letters received ” the key numbers of officers, and then delivers letters. When letters are returned to captain's desk the key numbers are checked, and letters are filed or otherwise disposed of.
If answer is required, data is given in pencil memo. when letter is returned to captain's yeoman; or, answer may be prepared for captain's signature.
After a reasonable time, all officers against whom letters are charged will be notified as a check against their overlooking them.
Officers to whom letters are referred will initial same alongside their key numbers.
The operation of the system is much simplified where a general office is possible; but it will work equally well in an old ship, except that the captain's office takes much of the work.
The one thing to keep in mind is DO NOT OVERORGANIZE. Before you make any change-a one-time mistaken navy synonym for improvement-calculate the cost, and see if you can show a saving of 6 per cent on the investment. If you can, go ahead; it is good business. If you cannot, do not touch it. This applies equally well both to labor and energy as well as to dollars and cents. Captain F. R. Clark, U. S. Navy, gave me that advice when I went to Indian Head. It was his only advice, but it covered every case fully, and I advise all hands to try it in their work afloat as well as ashore.
A glance at this model of the numerical index (page 576) shows that sub-heads can be increased indefinitely without disturbing any others. This renders the system very elastic, capable of fitting the most detailed or the most general correspondence. All file numbers are entered on correspondence in pencil. If at any future date the subdivision of any folder appears desirable, a new folder can be started, a new sub-number assigned, the new number marked on the faces of the letters to be shifted, and noted in the file column of the day book.
All letters sent and received regarding the same subject carry the same file number ONLY. No attempt is made to give them special numbers in their folders, they are filed chronologically with the most recent date on top.
All ships having separate offices will require copies of the alphabetical and the numerical indexes in each office, so that each can prepare its letters as far as possible for the 'captain's signature, thereby relieving his office of much routine work. Do not conclude from this that the captain is a rubber stamp. Before any letter is drafted, the captain and all the officers interested