Going Paperless in 2013 – It’s Easier Than You Think

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average office worker still uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year.  Multiply this number times the number of administrative staff in your company and it could represent a mountain of paper that your organization goes through each year.  Not only is this costly and bad for the environment, but it can also lead to major disorganization and loss of productivity.  Just think of all the times you’ve had to search for lost or misplaced documents over the years.  In fact, U.S. managers spend an average of 4 weeks a year searching for or waiting on misfiled, mislabeled, and untracked files.

Breaking your dependence on paper

Like most, you’ve probably been dependent on paper for so long that it seems inconceivable to think of a life without it.  As the old adage says, “Bad habits are like a comfortable bed; easy to get into, but hard to get out of.”  Yet the advent of technology and digital resources has made it easier than ever to decrease your dependence on paper.  Going paperless can result in the following benefits for your business:

  • reduced filing and storage costs
  • decreased exposure of information to fire, flooding and theft
  • improved collaboration and sharing
  • enhanced search-ability

Still, even with the all of these advantages, it’s important to design a plan before you move forward.

Understanding your file retrieval needs

Purchasing a desktop scanner and subscribing to a cloud storage service isn’t going to transform your office to paperless overnight.  Nor will it necessarily help your business to cut costs and run more smoothly.  Too many businesses purchase expensive equipment and allocate valuable internal resources to digital paper conversion projects which often lead to even more wasted productivity and additional misplaced files.

First, it’s important to decide which types of business files are integral to your everyday business processes.  Files that are rarely accessed do not necessarily need to be scanned to a digital format.  While these files may need to be stored and maintained for several years according to legal and regulatory requirements, if they are hardly ever retrieved then it is best to send them to a secure offsite location for storage during the required retention period.  There’s even a high likelihood that you have files that no longer need to be retained and can be purged before being sent offsite.

Converting your active records

Next, you need to figure out the most expedient way to convert your “active” files in a manner that does not interrupt your current business operations.  A scanning and imaging company can provide you with a professional resource for achieving a paperless office in the least amount of time.  The right provider will implement a thorough, detailed oriented, multi-step process that ensures accuracy, security and efficiency.  This process may incorporate the following procedures:

  • document preparation
  • file indexing and categorization
  • time and date stamping
  • optical character recognition (OCR)
  • database merging of digital data

Making the right professional scanning choice

The last step in reducing your business’s dependence on paper is selecting the right company to help you achieve your goals.  It’s important to look for a provider with a proven track record of successful past performance.  Past client references should be readily available to you.  Additionally, the company you’re interviewing should be member in good standing of the following organizations:

  • your local Chamber of Commerce
  • Professional Records and Information Services International (PRISM)
  • Association of Records Managers and Administrators International (ARMA)

Archives Management Centers provides scanning and imaging services for businesses throughout Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee County.  For more information, please contact us by phone or fill in the form on the page.