No matter what business you’re in – law offices, accounting, healthcare, education, public safety, government, etc. – it’s important that you have an effective strategy for managing information. As you can see from the infographic at the right, we spend a lot of time and money on our information. And surprisingly, most of that information exists on paper.
With all the available options out there, it’s hard to choose the right one for your business. As part of our recognition of Records and Information Management (RIM) Month, we’ve compiled a list of four of our most popular services and products to help you familiarize yourself with some information management strategies.
1. Scan Your Documents to Eliminate the Need for Paper
Our most requested service is document scanning, which is basically taking paper copies and turning them into digital documents or images. But there is so much more to it than just picking some documents and scanning them into your computer. Document scanning is only part of a much larger information management strategy.
Here’s some valuable insight on document scanning from our IMS Director, Anna Stratton:
Migrating to the electronic document world can involve a lot of steps, but as someone once told me, I can guarantee you will never score if you don’t shoot! We don’t need enterprise wide spends to get started. The key is identifying a core document type or file set that brings you the best return and allows you to ease your way into the change.
Putting paper through a scanner is not rocket science. The key to success is understanding how those documents are being used, why those documents should (or in some cases, shouldn’t be) scanned, and making sure that whatever you do today will work as you progress into new technology applications and platforms. I’ll say it again – there is no one size fits all solution – but there are many document scanning solutions and the right one needs to be the one that works best for you.
2. Find the Right Document Management Software
If you’ve already got digital versions of documents (ex. files, forms, reports, communication, etc.) the next strategy is to choose document management software. There are many, many different types of document management software, and you’ll need to choose one that’s designed for your industry and particular workplace needs. But at the basic level here is a good explanation of what you can expect from document management software:
Document management software searches, manages and stores electronic documents. It works just like a file cabinet containing files, documents, and notes, except documents are easy to locate, retrieve, and can be viewed by multiple people at once.
Documents can be approved, modified, stamped, and edited by each person throughout the workflow process, providing an audit trail along the way. More importantly, workflow can be automated routing documents and notifying people without the need for human interaction.
And finally, once a document fulfills its lifecycle retention schedule, documents can be scheduled for destruction.
3. Implement RFID File Tracking
Here is something to think about:
- 15% of all paper documents are misfiled or misplaced.
- 40% of a worker’s time is spent searching for misfiled, misplaced, or lost documents.
- Companies in the United States spend $120 of labor cost to find a misfiled document.
A solution for eliminating misplaced files should definitely be a high priority. Our answer is to implement radio frequency identification (RFID) file tracking. This system attaches tags to items (typically folders) and uses readers to identify where the tagged items are located.
The non-contact, non-line-of sight nature of an RFID file tracking system is one of its main advantages because tags can be read quickly and through numerous visually and environmentally problematic surroundings. Additionally, with RFID tags, tracking of physical files and documents becomes fully automated. This includes rules-based authorizing access, recording check-in and check-outs, and providing inventory scans. (Click here to watch a video showing how RFID file tracking works).
4. Create a Record Retention Schedule
Knowing when to destroy a document is just as important as knowing how long you need to keep it. And you keep track of the dates with a record retention schedule. Why is this schedule so important? Well, record retention schedules,
- provide legal authority over both keeping and destroying documents
- address document creation control by limiting the generation of documents that are not required for business operations
- provide document destruction guidelines to stabilize the growth of records in all formats
Not having this system in place can hamper the ability of your records management system to function properly for employees, customers, and regulatory institutions. If your business is holding onto unnecessary records, it creates a problem for employees that have to search for and retrieve active records that are needed for reference or legal reasons.
For customers, if you are unable to locate a record then it could cause anything from bad relations to litigation. Finally, not being able to provide records or show that records have been properly destroyed can put you out of compliance with many regulatory institutions.
Document scanning, document management software, RFID file tracking, and record retention schedules are just a few of the many types of information management strategies that you can adapt for your particular business.
To get more in-depth information on any of these services or products, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message. Our information management experts are here to help you decide on the best strategies for your business.