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Lighting, heating, and ventilating influence greatly the character and quantity of work turned out. Experts have proved that the efficiency of an office force can be more than doubled by having the physical conditions correct.
Unnecessary and distracting noises are avoided by floor insulation of battleship linoleum, cork carpet, rubber runners, or carpeting. For sanitary reasons one of the first three named seems preferable. Where expense is an item, only the aisle spaces need be so treated.
A great many applicants for the position of traffic manager with a concern that has heretofore not maintained such a department immediately kill their prospects by suggesting that it will be necessary to purchase a formidable array of expensive office equipment. There are many of the old-school business who are not fully convinced of the soundness of investing in the traffic manager himself, to say nothing of added expense of this kind.
The traffic man if properly trained can, of course, get along without any equipment other than a desk or chair and can rely on the accuracy of the railroad quotations for his rates, his friends in railroad services for favors, and his store of knowledge in the disposition of certain issues with which he may be confronted. An Efficiency Factor
This is a "penny-wise” and “pound-foolish” view to take of the situation and where the department is going to assume considerable proportions involving the efforts of many employees, necessary provisions should be made for the purchase of adequate and convenient facilities. No factor will contribute more to the employees' ability to deliver the goods.
Tables versus Desks
Substantial tables of good quality are recommended for the clerical force rather than pedestal desks; they are more economical, more sanitary, may be moved with less effort, and prevent the accumulation of correspondence and personal belongings. The work of each employee is in the open, and the opportunity to lose sight of important matters is minimized. Unfinished business can be laid in wire trays.
For the accommodation of correspondence, any standard vertical file will prove adequate. For durability, those of steel are recommended; these may be purchased in units, three tiers or over in height, and can be added to from time to time. A file containing drawers furnished with roller bearings is preferable. They can be opened or closed with convenience, tho filled with heavy correspondence.
Owing to its elasticity, the card-index system for correspondence files is the order of the day. It affords
an opportunity for correcting errors and for crossindexing a subject under its various ramifications; it is convenient to use. Preferably a general departmental index of all correspondence files should be maintained.
Cross references are desirable. For example, the United States War Tax Law would be indexed under U—United States, under W—War, under T-Tax, and under 1.-Law.
Tariff cabinets of various kinds are designed by different manufacturers. Where the Tengwall system of filing tariffs is employed, wooden shelving to accommodate the binders can be prepared by any carpenter.
The subject of filing tariffs will be developed in detail in a later division of this work.
LIVE VERSUS DEAD ISSUES
In both correspondence and tariff files a periodical check should be made to separate “the sheep from the goats” and to leave the expensive office equipment free to accommodate current material.
In many phases of traffic work there is no further use for correspondence, once the incident is disposed of. On the other hand, correspondence on subjects continually agitated should be readily accessible to investigators, even when files have been temporarily removed. Each clerk can be represented by cards of a given color. When he removes a file, he leaves in its place one of his cards.
The reissue of certain publications and the cancel. lation of those heretofore in effect cause considerable change in the tariff file. It is desirable to transfer the dead files and superseded publications to other places for safe keeping and subsequent reference. Less expensive transfer cabinets and binders are employed for this purpose.
The numerical arrangement of the dead file corresponds with that of the live file, so that if a file or tariff is needed in a particular instance it may be readily located.
It is not wise to dispose of cancelled tariffs within less than two years, preferably five, after they have been cancelled.
The overcharge claim investigator frequently handles cases predicated on old issues and must refer to these cancelled tariffs to make proper reference on claim papers. .
THE LIBRARY OF THE TRAFFIC DEPARTMENT
Trade Publications-Atlas-Shipping Guides—Package Car
Many of the publications upon which the public must depend for information are distributed gratis by railroads or associations. The subscription price of others is moderate. Most of the absolutely necessary books of reference are not prohibitive in price. The extent of the office reference library will depend upon the industry's special needs, and upon its resources. The investment invariably results in the increased efficiency of the employees, and this more than offsets the expense involved.
A nucleus of a few volumes may be added to from time to time. The following sections describe briefly some desirable publications, and give short digests of a few selected works. Certain publications and books of reference are indispensable. Others simply make the work more convenient and more accurate.