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Optimizing Your Physical Files Part 1

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Learn how to make it easier to organize, access, store and share your physical files. Part one of our 2-part series introduces classification, file centralization and file tracking software as ways to optimize your physical records collection.

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Optimizing Your Physical Files Part 1

  1. 1. Optimizing Your Physical Records Make it easier to organize, access, store and share them | Part One
  2. 2. Your physical records are still the biggest and most important part of your records collection.
  3. 3. Why?
  4. 4. Physical file collections have remarkable potential to add value to your organization! When used efficiently and managed cost effectively, physical records provide informational support for daily business activities and potential legal evidence to defend those activities.
  5. 5. Let’s look at three steps you can take to make it easier to organize, access, store and share your files:
  6. 6. Let’s look at three steps you can take to make it easier to organize, access, store and share your files: 1. Classificaton 2. Centralizatio n of Collection 3. File Tracking Software
  7. 7. The Right Classification System
  8. 8. Functional Classification is important because implementing any kind of comprehensive records and information management program needs a common way of naming things. The classification system that provides the basis for: •compliance •risk management •retention periods •security safeguards
  9. 9. But more importantly, when it comes to your physical files, this system is going to drastically reduce retrieval and filing times because everything is organized in a clear, logical way that makes your information easy to find and difficult to lose.
  10. 10. Here is how it works at a high level. First, look at your business activities and the records that support them. Then, talk to the people who use the records. Based on this, you can develop a classification scheme to better organize your organization’s information. This system is then applied to every piece of information you create across the organization so every records is classified according to one framework. The example on the right shows the typical structure of a classification scheme based on business activities.
  11. 11. Centralizing File Collections
  12. 12. Bringing small pockets of files together into one large collection optimizes your physical records by improving: • user efficiency • space utilization • security • legislative compliance
  13. 13. If you have all of your physical files in one location, it is easier to manage and control them, and that has obvious benefits when it comes to optimizing your physical records.
  14. 14. However, centralization can be a tough sell in some organizations. Looking at some of the more popular arguments against it is a great way to highlight the arguments for. Typically you’ll hear employees who are used to keeping their own files in their office or close by, arguing that they don’t have time to go down the hall every time they need a file. They also don’t want to share files because they worry about people making changes to it, making the information unreliable when it comes down to making business decisions.
  15. 15. But the truth is, real world application has shown that central filing can improve both efficiency and reliability. Any employee opposed to walking down the hall should consider how much time he or she has spent over the past year phoning, emailing or visiting colleagues to track down documents needed to complement their own file content. Additional time may be spent photocopying and compiling documents for inclusion in their own desk files. Yes, it will take several minutes to walk down the hall and sign out a file from central storage. But over time, that small time investment may be returned tenfold.
  16. 16. It is also true that centralized filing can make file content more reliable. At the document level, any one record can take on a very different context when combined with other records. By consolidating all records related to a given activity, transaction or process into one central file, every user of that file is provided with a complete picture on which to base business decisions and perform their own transactions.
  17. 17. File Tracking Systems
  18. 18. For many of us, managing physical records is becoming an increasing challenge. Staffing changes, storage issues, accountability practices or simply an increased volume of records are making it more difficult to keep the information you need at your fingertips.
  19. 19. File tracking software is the quickest, simplest and most efficient way to improve your access to information and shorten
  20. 20. When selecting a software solution, you should be looking for something that offers automated tracking for environments that need to track physical records (files). Standard functionality should include: • bar code tracking • intuitive query & filter functions • scripting for workflow, audit, requesting • signature pad integration • code labeling
  21. 21. The benefits to getting the right tracking solution are huge, including: Lost files no more! • Instantly locating and determine the status of folders, groups of folders and storage boxes • Automatically managing user requests by letting them know if a file is currently in use, or has been requested by another user • Elimination of lost files
  22. 22. In Part 2 of Optimizing Your Physical Files, we will cover: • Standardizing supplies • Space optimization • Getting ready to convert to digital
  23. 23. For more tips on optimizing your physical file collection, take a look at our Efficient Paper Filing Toolkit: http://www.tab.com/Resource/Toolkits/PaperFiling/ Thank you!

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