Document numbering is a method used in document control to assign a unique identifier to a document, making it easy to identify, track and retrieve it when needed. Each document is set to a specific number or code, which can be alphanumeric, sequential, or a combination. The document number is typically on the document and the title page. More importantly, document numbering is also used in the document repository or database.

Benefits of Document Numbering

In document control, document numbering creates a unique identity for each document, making it easy to identify, track and retrieve. Moreover, it provides a consistent and organized approach to document management, ensuring the document version is accurate and on track. Therefore, document numbering is essential in many industries with complex projects, such as Energy, Construction, Transportation, and Mining. These industries involve many technical activities requiring various documents, such as technical drawings, safety information, or operational reports.

What to consider when implementing/standardizing a document numbering in your organization?

  1. Document types: Consider the different types of documents in the organization and how their numbering can differentiate them.
  2. Document usage: Consider the documents’ purposes and who is involved. For example, an engineer’s document may require a different numbering system from a document used by the contractors.
  3. Numbering format: Decide on the numbering format, whether it will be alphanumeric or numerical, and the number of digits or characters.
  4. Length of the numbering system: Decide on the length of the numbering system and whether it will allow for future expansion.

Moreover, the unique identifiers should be meaningful. A meaningful numbering system ensures that the document number contains information that users can easily interpret, making locating the document they need easier.

Meaningful document numbering can include elements such as the document type and project names. For example, a document number for a procedure document might be “PROC-001,” where “PROC” indicates that it is a procedure document, and “001” is the unique identifier for that specific document.

The numbering system should be logical and consistent and meet the organization’s needs. A well-designed document numbering system can improve the efficiency of the document control process and make it easier for users to locate and use the documents they need.

Document Numbering Automation

Numbering automation is a common feature in document management systems. Many electronic document management systems have built-in tools that can automate document numbering, making creating, managing, and tracking documents easier and more efficient. The users can assign document numbers based on pre-set rules and criteria, such as projects, document types, departments, and other metadata. The automation ensures that documents are consistent and that the numbering system is logical and easy to use. However, the function depends on each software and how extensive the level of detail is. 

Assai’s Intelligent numbering structures 

At Assai, our software designed to optimize complex projects and operations. We have developed our software with the best practice and standards of complex engineering industries. That’s why we offer Intelligent numbering structures as one of our core features in document control. The feature lets you set up your organization’s numbering structures with guaranteed unique document numbers.  

With Assai Admin, Assai supports a flexible way to compose these reference numbers. They are composed of several elements, the so-called composition elements. The user can enter specific values validated according to these elements’ predefined list of values. For example, a document reference number can contain a project code, company code, discipline code, document type code, and a sequence number, separated by a dash (‘-‘).  

Assai employs a unique approach to document numbering where each element corresponds to a specific composition field and has a designated list of acceptable values. Once all elements are specified, Assai generates a sequence number, thereby creating a complete document number. The choice of composition elements and their respective values is at the client’s discretion. Users can select from pre-set numbering elements or manually input them when creating new documents. However, our intelligent numbering system only allows users to input pre-defined numbers to ensure consistent document numbering and avoid errors. 

In this blog post, we have explored how important document numbering is. Organizations can maintain accurate and reliable records by assigning unique and consistent numbers to each document, which helps facilitate collaboration and streamline workflows. Proper document numbering also enables easy retrieval and reduces the risk of errors and confusion. Therefore, it is crucial to establish clear guidelines for document numbering and ensure they are consistently applied across all documents and departments. By doing so, organizations can improve their document management practices and maximize operational efficiency.

More resources

We’ve attached some related blog posts and downloadable resources below. They will guide you through document management planning, vendor selections, and best practice.

Want to explore more about Document Management and Document Control? Download our latest whitepaper and guide via the buttons below!

Assai’s document management system

At Assai, we take pride in offering the best document control and document management system for complex projects and operations in the market. Assai’s cloud-based document management system stores all your items in a central repository equipped with easy and comprehensive search options on metadata and content for documents, drawings, correspondence, emails, and more. The system enables organizations to integrate with tools that fit their requirements, such as Power BI. Also, version control and redlining are a breeze with Assai.

We offer a system that meets different industries’ needs, including Oil & GasRenewable EnergyConstruction & EngineeringTransportationMining, and Utilities. Our user-friendly, secure, and scalable solutions come with expert support and training. Check it out on our site, and feel free to book a demo!

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