There are many business owners who still rely on manual processes to manage their documents. The reality is that with the right tools, organizations can automate most of these processes, minimizing human error and making it easier to stay organized.
Too much time and money are lost due to poor document management. Just how much? More than you think.
It affects productivity more than factors like workplace environment, inadequate tools, and even noisy co-workers. Don’t believe us? Just check out how much time is wasted every week due to a lack of file management:
- 2 hours is wasted recreating/retyping lost documents
- 2.3 hours are wasted searching for lost documents
- 3.5 hours is wasted on arranging paper documents
- 3.5 hours is wasted pulling information from different files
That amounts to more than 11 hours every week spent on searching for, dealing with, and recreating documents. You can’t let that happen.
It’s a system for managing your organization’s files, both paper and digital. Whether you’re a small business owner or an IT expert, document management can help you keep up with all the necessary information for your business.
You have to remember that documents are not just used as references or research material anymore – they represent your company, its culture, and even your customers. Keeping them protected and organized is critical to the success of your business.
Why? Because if not handled properly, it might end up costing your company a lot. In fact, according to research, time spent handling documents can end up costing you more than $20,000 per employee, per year. Does that sound like a valid enough reason?
It isn’t just about getting rid of clutter, saving a few dollars, and creating a neat digital filing system. There are a lot more benefits to document management. Here are some benefits you get from implementing a sound document management strategy:
Customers are your top priority, so you should keep them in mind when managing your documents. Not only will better document management ensure that their information is always with them when they need it, but they’ll also be impressed by the fact you didn’t lose track of their personal information.
How much does a single lost document cost your business? Even if you end up losing a single important document, it can result in a loss of between $120 and $220 for your company. Now imagine if the same happened to every other document that passed through your hands. You could be losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars because one employee didn’t remove the old copies from the tray.
With document management, you can store and categorize your files, whether they’re scanned documents, emails, physical folders, and more just by using a single tool. That’s not to mention that these tools don’t cost much and can be implemented easily to automate processes and tasks related to document management.
Now that you know the benefits of document management, it’s time to learn how to create an effective system. To get started, you have to map out your processes and procedures for handling documents.
Plan Document Creation and Retention
You have to know what documents are being created for your business, which ones are used more frequently, and how they are distributed across the organization. You also need to decide on the document’s retention period – that is, how long you should keep each document before it’s disposed of properly.
Create a Plan for Physical Documents
Physical documents should be stored in folders, with separate items for each type of record. Physical records can include contracts, employee files, HR and payroll data, financial records, and so on. You also have to consider how you’ll organize them: by location or by topic?
Select the Right Tools
Once you know what your document management system is going to be, you have to select the right tools for it. There are a lot of tools available today that can help even if your company specializes in a different industry from others. You can select tools based on the type of documents you need to manage, how much storage you’ll need, and who should be able to access it.
Set Up Storage
You have to select one primary location for document storage. This site will contain the master copy of all documents, and all employees must upload their files here for safekeeping and easy retrieval. You can also set up separate sites devoted to separate departments within your company.
Don’t Ignore Maintenance
Once you have a document management system in place, there are some important maintenance tasks that you must do to keep it running smoothly. This includes checking for spam and viruses, virus removal (if any), file encryption (if necessary), and overall updating with the latest security patches.
You have a lot of options when it comes to document management tools. In fact, there are so many that you can feel overwhelmed by the number of choices available. To make things easier for you, here’s a shortlist of some of the most popular and widely-used tools in the industry:
- Microsoft OneDrive: This is a file hosting and storage solution that is widely used by businesses, schools, and even individuals. It has a lot of features to help you organize your documents in the cloud.
- Draftable: A tool that allows you to compare two files side-by-side, and make easy changes in minutes. You can easily compare and update PDF, Word, as well as Excel files with confidence using Draftable.
- eFileCabinet: The tool was built specifically for centralizing document management. It allows the user to migrate files, archive them, and look them up with just a few clicks from a streamlined interface.
Migrating document and file management online for your small business is not only an important step to take, it also has essential best practices to follow.
Yes, the process can seem intimidating at first glance, but you just need to know where to start. Look into some of these tools, compare their pros and cons. They’re all good in their own ways, and you can choose the one that best suits your unique needs.
With a bit of research and planning, you’ll be able to create an effective document management system that works for your small business.