Back when I began in business, everything was paper based. The yellow pages was a key source of information and card records were held with contact details for clients. The fax machine came along and allowed information to be more rapidly transported to where it was needed, but filing still occupied a significant amount of time in the office, and was a system as flawed as the human beings that were carrying it out.
Thankfully In today’s digital age document archive, retrieval and storage have arrived and given companies many more options about how they run their business. So why are some companies not keeping up with the times and adopting methods that will save them time and money, all of which can be re-invested in helping them to remain competitive or increase their edge?
For many companies, simply doing the day to day is enough to fully occupy their workforce. Time to stop and think and look at the strategic direction of the business is seen as a luxury they don’t have time to get around to. This is understandable and while you are busy you can fool yourself into thinking that this will always be the case, and you need take no further action. In addition old fashioned ideas may still be prevalent such as the need to have ‘official’ paper records rather than rely on a purely digital footprint.
However, businesses that fail to look above the parapet are businesses that will be surprised when suddenly their orders drop off and those of their competitors increase.
The nuts and bolts of a business, those mechanisms that actually help to fulfil customer orders, are often overlooked in favour of marketing, or the generation of on-line business and sales, however it is those very areas where hidden costs and lack off efficiencies lurk, which can have a cumulative and often disastrously damaging effect.
A business built on paper is not designed to weather the storms of the modern age. Storage costs alone can be significant and can have the double effect of decreasing available workspace and also affecting revenues in that way. Slow, cumbersome and prone to loss or damage there is no doubt that some records need to be retained for legal or financial reasons. But often this does not necessitate that hard copies should be kept.
Companies that specialise in document storage, archive and retrieval offer businesses the chance to be nimble, find the information they need rapidly and safely store that which needs to be kept for prosperity.
Instead of an army of filing cabinets and shelves filled with folders, space can be created to house new equipment or even workers, as businesses bite the digital bullet and ‘take off’ unburdened by paper. In other cases, smaller premises can be sought that can reduce cost or even those which occupy a more favourable, customer friendly spot.
The cost, time and hassle involved in ‘switching’ can be enough of a barrier in its own right. But with a now mature and competitive market with state of the art tools, costs are relatively low and a solution generally pays for itself in a very short space of time.
Whilst many business may also benefit from a technical upgrade at the same time, often all that is required is a decent internet connection so that documents (once archived) can be retrieved digitally.
Finally, the environmental impact of reducing so much wasted paper should not be ignored. It is even possible that green initiatives may reward companies that reduce their carbon footprint by becoming paperless, or as paperless as possible.
Digital document storage, archiving and retrieval is mature technology which has been proven to reduce time, cost and allow businesses to focus on generating revenues.
If you haven’t already, act now before your business is buried.
Nichola Wilson works for Clear Data Group, one of the UK's leading document storage and management companies. Visit their website for information on their services.