Don't Forget to Consider the Soft Costs of Your Current Filing Systems

Posted by Kevin D'Arcy on Nov 19, 2013 5:29:48 AM

paper filing system helpAre you questioning whether or not you can justify the transition from a paper based filing system to electronic document management solution? The real question should be “can you afford not to?” There are a lot of very expensive and unproductive soft costs associated with a paper filing system; so we ask you, is this really the best use of your staff’s time?

Employee Time Searching for Documents
A recent survey shows that employees spend 25% of their time just looking for information they need to do their job. On top of that, every week 42% of people use the wrong information to make decisions, requiring rework (read = more time, more money). An electronic filing system puts documents at the fingertips of every employee and manages version control, ensuring your staff are always working from the most current information.

Recreating Lost Documents
I have yet to meet an organization that hasn’t lost a file; in fact most of them have lost multiple files. A lost file consumes a lot of time and productivity. When documents are lost or misplaced, we dread the amount of time it will take to recreate them so we usually round up 2-3 co-workers and spend hours searching for the file. When they still can’t be found, we have to recreate them anyhow. This is a problem inherent to a paper filing system where the only copy of the record can be physically moved by anyone with access to the filing system. In an electronic filing system staff can access, share, and collaborate on a document without it ever leaving the system. It’s always there, always accessible, never lost.

Organizing and Sorting
Just for fun, I took a break from writing this article to do a little time study. I wanted to see how long it would take me to create and file a 20 page document in a paper filing systems vs. an electronic filing system. To file the documents in paper format I need to collect all 20 pages, retrieve a file folder from the stock room, create a folder label and place it in the cabinet. To file the documents in an electronic filing system I need to scan the paper, save it to the document management software and apply my index fields. Based on the numbers below, can you really afford to maintain a paper filing systems?

Paper Filing System - 6 Minutes 11 Seconds
Electronic Filing System - 1 Minutes 41 Seconds

Not Generating Revenue for the Company
One thing that all the above items have in common is that they distract your staff from what you want them to be doing: generating revenue, increasing profits and/or providing an excellent customer experience. When you bog down employees with a paper filing system, they don’t have as much time to focus on what’s really important. At the end of the day that can hurt your business more than anything else.

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Document Scanning Services
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