Right at every organization’s core exists a collection of hundreds (or thousands) of documents. Those are files accumulated over a span of years, some still useful, others unknowingly irrelevant to current business dealings.
Without a proper system, all those files pile up, taking up even more room than you could accommodate in your file cabinets.
It’s time to change that dire situation. All those documents here and there are efficiency eaters in an organization. Today’s modern-day office recognizes that there isn’t a need to print every transaction or correspondence when keeping soft copies of the same proves more efficient.
Moreover, office equipment today is often more technologically equipped than before, working alongside software that contributes to better file management systems.
If you’re struggling to come up with a better, more efficient, and more effective document management process, this read is for you.
Table of Contents
1. Use High-Powered Scanners
Scanners are must-haves in offices today, but surprisingly, there could still be many that don’t have one. This is usually the case for offices still loyal to physical documents.
Today’s modern office should, however, have high-powered scanners to make converting physical documents to soft-copy ones saved on a computer or the cloud more doable.
Online document management systems are now replacing big and bulky file cabinets of the past, so yours has to keep up if you want to elevate your document management processes.
These make for more efficient and accurate handling of documents now that there are no passing physical ones from one team member to the next.
To start, bulk document scanning is your best bet. A good scanner can do that. You’ll soon be able to reduce dependence on hard copy documents, one batch of files at a time.
2. Take Inventory Of Your Current Paperwork
Alongside the first tip above on using high-powered scanners, take time to inventory your current paperwork. Ideally, files that are older than five years can be disposed of.
Begin with that, so you can shred and let go of files that aren’t in use anymore and are taking up so much space.
Once you have files that are still younger than five years, do a further inventory by identifying what can be scanned and converted into soft-copy files.
You can include them in your file management system as you switch your office to a more digitally equipped one.
3. Automate Whenever Possible
As briefly touched upon in the introduction, gone are the days when every single message or transaction had to be printed out on physical paper.
The new rule of thumb to apply is to automate whenever possible. If it doesn’t have to be printed, keep only a soft copy and save it on a single, cohesive, and centralized depository: the file management software.
It’s easier to manage, send, control, and keep track of files on an app or centralized software. Team members don’t have to be in the office to access specific files they need as long as they have access to the software through given passwords. These are hallmarks of better office collaboration.
Moreover, automation reduces the risk of losing files, as there’s no need now to pass on a document from one department to the next for something as simple as to get the message across. Most importantly, the likelihood of leaking classified or confidential information is significantly reduced.
4. Create A Nested Folder System
Creating a nested folder system is akin to having a hierarchy of files. This means every document has a place to ‘go home to.’ It refers to folders (also called subfolders) within folders categorized by the type of files they contain.
After creating that nested folder system, ensure everyone in your organization is also on the same page. It’s easier to retrieve files when you know precisely where to look for them. You can instantly find what you’re looking for with just a few clicks.
There are so many ways to go about labelling and naming each folder, a choice to be made according to your organization’s preference.
Some work best with files sorted by date or age, while others could benefit more when organized by type or family name (as in the case of hospital records). Find what works for you.
With the tips above, downtime in business dealings and transactions is finally a thing of the past. Sure, you’ve been in that situation too, where you had to wait longer than you should’ve just cause the person you’re transacting with had to search for and pull out the needed records or files.
It’s frustrating both from the organization’s perspective and the client’s. Fortunately, technology paved the way for positive changes to be in place, all of which can elevate your current document process. Take it one change at a time, and see what works for your organization.