3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Document Management this Month
Establishing an effective document management strategy from creation to destruction — and everything in between — is essential to not only maintaining your sanity, but also fulfilling ethical and legal requirements. But sometimes, it can be difficult to know how and where to begin — especially if your office operates in a paper-intensive environment.
Your ultimate goal is to develop a document management process that reduces the amount of time and money you spend on manual processes and increases efficiency while ensuring information remains secure. If you’re struggling to find a more efficient, streamlined document management solution but don’t know where to begin, here are several steps you can take this month to get started on the road to smarter, simpler document management.
1.Take inventory of your current paperwork
The best way to begin strategizing better document management is to get organized. Take inventory of the hard copy records you currently have and determine which files are active, which are semi-active (documents you may need to reference on a monthly basis but are not needed on a daily basis), and those that are inactive and possibly ready to be destroyed. Include all records you have in file cabinets, on desks, in boxes, etc…and assign them an activity level. This will give you a framework for determining what actions you need to take next.
2.Establish a document retention schedule
Every industry has document retention requirements that define the time period a record must be kept and when it can be destroyed. By understanding how a record is used within a company, smarter decisions can be made about the retention of that record. The best method to determine a record’s retention is using the team approach. How does a document pass through the office workflow? How many people access or edit this document on a daily basis? When has a record outlived its usefulness? Discuss these questions with your team to determine a retention schedule that decreases clutter while maintaining efficiency.
3.Reevaluate how you access information
You’ve defined current activity levels for all documents and established a retention policy. So, now what? The next step is gathering all important documents and records into a central repository where they can be easily accessed without taking up valuable office space. Offsite storage is an excellent solution for confidential records that you don’t need to access on a daily basis but aren’t ready to be destroyed. For documents you have defined as “active,” a scanning solution will enable you to convert documents you frequently access into electronic records for convenient electronic retrieval. Sifting through paperwork, manually creating multiple versions, and spending hours at the scanner will be a thing of the past. By evaluating the way you access information, you can identify inefficiencies and time wasters within your internal process and streamline paperwork. What will you do with all of your free time?
No matter how you choose to get started, a comprehensive document management solution will enable you to take control of the way you manage documents and transform paper-intensive processes into turnkey, streamlined workflows that help you work smarter, not harder, while consuming less time and resources. Get started with these three steps and be on the way to total efficiency and optimization.