When the high-tech office became a reality 20 years ago, pundits predicted an end to paper documents. How wrong they were! Paper consumption has actually grown a staggering 126% in the past two decades, according to The Paperless Project. All those documents have to be stored somewhere, and if you’re among the foresighted business owners and managers who have installed a high density storage system in your office (see below), you’re ahead of the game. But the right storage system is just the first step in truly efficient and cost-effective document management.
Business author Susan Ward recommends asking yourself these four questions before implementing a document management plan:
1. What are the rules for creating documents? Decide on an in-house style guide and templates; sort out a review and sharing policy.
2. How will files be organized, archived, and disposed of? Follow good file management practices, including timely archiving, to streamline your efficiency; weed out old files that are no longer needed.
3. How can files be retrieved simply and easily? Ward suggests posting a File Locations list adjacent to file cabinets, to remind users of where to find various file categories.
4. How do we keep documents secure? File cabinets should always be lockable; advanced electronic locks allow managers to track user access, and RFID tags can pinpoint a document’s location within the office.
Ward reminds readers that a document management plan is just that: a plan. To be effective, it has to be executed consistently over the long term. But the results – efficiency, cost savings, and peace of mind – are well worth the effort.
Just one example of a space-saving high density storage system
Photo © Rostislav Sedlacek – Fotolia