Keeping records straight is not just good business practice – it is critical to maintaining a productive, functioning company. Having a proper record management system is the foundation which supports business intelligence and the ability to make data-driven decisions which alter the bottom line. However, businesses are seeing more and more data, such as paper-based documents and digital records, flowing through their core. In other words, keeping track of all of these documents has become a full-time job.
Fortunately, a robust document management strategy provides the exact tools businesses need to keep record management streamlined and in control. Here are five ways to make an organization’s document management processes more effective to drive long-term productivity and success.
5 Ways to Make a Document Management System More Efficient
Document management solutions rely heavily on workflows to deliver the correct data to the right places. Due to the various ways this can be done, organizations should consider making their records management processes more effective by analyzing it in the context of a document’s lifecycle. Here are five ways to make that happen.
1. Leverage Automation to Identify Important Information
Not all documents are records. Depending on the business, documents such as rough drafts and duplicates do not require the same storage and information management. Likewise, it’s time-consuming and impractical to read through every document for necessary information. It’s essential to leverage automation such as keyword scanners or auto-detection, to identify critical documents and clearly define what document information is important and what constitutes as a record.
2. Integrate Devices to Assist with Document Capture
There are many different methods of collecting document information and records because there are various document sources (scanners, mobile devices, multifunction printers/copiers, etc). Many offices today rely on ultra-efficient multifunction printers which are capable of performing numerous actions on the same device. Likewise, these devices typically come with software which integrates the printer with the rest of the office workflows.
These devices enable powerful abilities such as the automatic transmission of a scanned file to electronic storage, or the creation of a fax from an email. Captured documents can quickly be sent from one part of the office to another, which is much easier for the right person to access at the right moments. Electronic storage will help safeguard your paper documents against environmental disaster and facilitate efficient retrieval of documents, unlike documents stored in numerous filing cabinets.
3. Apply Standardization and Archival Strategies for Easy Retrieval
Finding documents that lack a records management system is similar to “finding a needle in a haystack.” However, having electronic document storage does not guarantee that users will be able to find critical information quickly. With electronic document storage processes in place, it makes sharing document information between multiple users, collaborating on documents, and tracking change history possible. To get the most out of archival and document storage, implement the following strategies:
- Introduce a standardized system for naming files. It will make it easier to understand the general contents of a file based on its name, and standardized file names assist with other forms of business process automation.
- Apply a categorization system across the board. Keep everyone on the same page with where files should go, how, and in what order.
- Clearly define processes and archival access policies to enhance security. The more hands touching the archives, the more likely they will fall into disarray. Define processes and key points through which documents must pass (to be placed into or removed from) the archives. Files can be digitized and password protected to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to them.
4. Implement Tools Which Foster Collaboration
Document circulation processes typically require inputs, reviews, updates, comments, approvals, or other forms of acknowledgment from different parties or people. When this happens manually, it becomes easier for a jumble of document versions and lines of communication to confuse and frustrate users.
Conversely, a digitized collaboration platform which integrates with other document processes helps keep everyone in one place. Tools such as the cloud-based Google Docs, allow for simultaneous editing of digital records by multiple parties without the creation of extra copies. This ensures that the document stays firmly inside the extensive office workflow to keep everything efficient.
5. Ensure the Safe Disposal of Unneeded Documents
Stray documents cause digital and paper-based clutter while introducing security risks. However, with more documents existing in this digital world, it is not as easy as merely shredding unnecessary pieces of paper. Likewise, destroying records does not always mean destroying or deleting them entirely if the wrong procedure is used. Strategically archiving documents is key to controlling costs, maintaining efficiency, and enhancing security. Maximize your IT resources by determining which documents need to be safely destroyed, verses those which need to be archived. This plan will ensure employees do not need to dig through files to find the correct piece of information.
Efficient Record Management Boosts Productivity
Efficient record management is one of the best ways to increase the productivity of an office. When the document life cycle is streamlined and efficient, employees spend less time searching and managing documents and more time on high-value activities which drive long-term business.
Looking to learn more on how efficient document management software can help your business? Contact an RJ Young document process expert today to start a conversation.