Improving Records Management
The basics of file organization include things like sorting, inventorying, categorizing, labeling, and color coding. But there’s also a deeper level of organization. These improvements have to do with your actual filing processes and with modern information technology for records management.
For a mid to large sized organization, filing is used extensively in many departments. Having a single, standardized shelf based filing system means you will save on equipment costs and floor space. But the true cost of filing is not in the cost of equipment, supplies, or floor space. The true cost of filing is in personnel time spent searching for information that is not where it is suppose to be when you need it. Poorly designed filing systems, misfiled information, and lost files can drive you crazy and drive up the cost of doing business, not to mention hamper customer service. Establishing a well designed filing system and ensuring that everyone follows the same policies and procedures across your organization means anyone who accesses the files will be able to find what they need and re-file it properly when they’re done.
#2 Creating a Records Management Manual
Each department may need some customized features in its filing process (such as color coding or lockable filing units). Remember that uniformity is only the foundation. Best practices for each department will dictate specific requirements. This is why you need a Records Management manual. This handbook should describe the procedures for filing in each department along with an FAQ section. The benefits of this manual are threefold. First, you don’t have to pass on knowledge about your filing system through one-on-one training. Second, you ensure that nothing is left out when new employees learn the system. Third, the actual process of compiling the manual may uncover problems with your current filing system processes so they can be corrected.
#3 Records Management Labeling Software
Software such as an On-Demand File Labeling System can be used to standardize and control new filing labeling procedures while streamlining the file labeling process. On demand file labeling prints a 7″ one-piece label complete with color coding, file name information, and bar codes. On demand file labeling allow record managers to establish one or more file designs to ensure uniformity of file labeling. One-piece file labels with bar codes aid in the process of establishing an inventory database of files. Bar-coding files with a complete file inventory database will help you audit files, manage retention schedules, and make converting to imaging easier.
Every 6-12 months, put together a management report, detailing cost savings and accomplishments of your filing system. This can include the dollar amount saved on supplies/equipment, the square footage of space reclaimed through more efficient file storage, reduction in labor hours from errors such as misplaced files. An accurate records management report highlighting the value of improving your filing system makes it easier to get the budget you need for future upgrades.
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