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Change within business processes can seem like a lot of work and money upfront and sometimes it is. However, when it comes to changing up your document management process, the time spent changing it is well worth the investment in the end, especially if you are still using paper-based processes. Even with technology such as document management systems, some businesses are still ignoring the signs that it is time to step up your document management process.
“This is how we have always done it” is no longer an excuse. In order for your business to be as profitable and productive as possible, you will need to update and/or change your processes at some point. When it comes to document management processes you might be thinking, “How do I know when it is time?” Throughout this blog we will break down the top five signs that your document management process is in need of improvement.
1. Trouble Finding Documents
If you and your colleagues are still taking more than five minutes to find a document, you need a new document management process. It may not seem like an important issue at first glance but think about how much time that could add up to, time that could be better spent somewhere else. Even worse is you spend a lot of time looking for a document and still never find it. What if you were to get audited? You would need to find those documents fast and efficiently, you don’t have the luxury of time when it comes to auditors or lawyers and certainly can’t afford not to locate the needed documents at all. By updating your document management process with technology like a digital document management system, you will be able to find documents in seconds thanks to indexing technology, making them easier to locate. Not to mention you wouldn’t have to deal with those flimsy papers anymore.
Say you do have a document management system already in place, does that mean your processes are good to go? Not exactly. We have come across many businesses that have a document management system but it’s either outdated or is not being used properly. If you have a current document management system and you aren’t utilizing the features, finding documents can still be a time-wasting issue.
2. Storage Issues
Part of a document management process is at some point the document needs to be stored somewhere, whether that be a filing cabinet or an off site storage facility. If your business finds itself struggling to find space for your documents, it’s time to update. You can’t store paper documents in filing cabinets forever, plus they can clutter your office space extremely quickly. Not to mention the risk of floods, tornadoes, etc. that could destroy your documents. If they do, you have no way to easily retrieve them unless you back-up all your paper documents by copying them, which would still take a lot of unnecessary time and double your needed storage space. Not only that, according to a Gartner study, each four-drawer file cabinet holds an average of 10-12,000 documents, takes up 9 square feet of floor space and each one costs $1,500 per year.
3. Routing Your Documents
The movement of documents is key within a document management process. You want to make sure the document gets to the correct location and people on time. Relying on others to ensure that documents are on time and in the correct area can be tricky. People sometimes forget or hand the document off to the wrong person. By manually having colleagues walk documents from department to department you aren’t only adding time to their day, you are also at risk of human error. Issues with paper routing can also add to the already tough issue of locating documents, especially if there is no “check-out” system for files. “That won’t happen at my business” is a saying we hear all the time and unfortunately at some point, it will. If you see these warning signs of human error and overall iniffency, quickly begin updating your processes or your business could suffer.
4. Collaboration Difficulties
Depending on the document, many employees may need to approve or edit it before it moves on through the rest of its process. Sometimes multiple employees at the same time need to edit the document and if you are still using paper documents, that can be a time consuming process. Think about it, if an entire department needs to make edits on a document, you would either need to make copies of the document and hand them out to each person in the department and then merge each person’s changes back into one master document, or have one document that they all pass around one by one, delaying the process tremendously. Either way, both of those options add unnecessary time and they aren’t really able to collaborate together.
5. Overall Efficiency
Processes are put in place to help overall efficiency for your business. If you start to see that your business is actually less efficient with your processes in place, then it is time for a change. Your business document management process might look great on paper but when projects don’t meet their deadline due to people having to search for documents or have issues with moving documents through departments, that is where the real issue is. This can put a hold on projects and in order to stay on top of efficiency within your document management process, optimizations are necessary. Especially with the evolution of technology and the changes being made everyday. You want to stay ahead of the game, not play catch up.
Many businesses veer away from change, it scares them and usually means they need to spend more time and money. However, when it comes to document management processes, the efficiency of digitizing your processes can make a huge difference to your business overall, making the time and money worth it in the long run. A document management system can help you organize, streamline, and optimize all your document management processes and needs.
So what now? If you don’t already have a document management system (DMS) in place, that is your first step. Don’t know where to start looking? Contact us and we will help you understand exactly what to look for in a DMS, or check out our blog “How to Choose the Right Document Management System.” If you already have a DMS and are still seeing these signs it might be time for an update or new system in general. Here at Optix we provide you with the support, tools, and robust technology you need to utilize your document management system to its fullest potential. Questions on the process? Contact us today and we’d be happy to discuss what changes need to be made in order to get your document management process to where you want it.
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