8 Steps to Effective Document Management in 2018
The primary focus of any business is to increase its revenue and accomplish its goals. But the key to achieving ultimate business goals is the way you handle your day-to-day tasks, files, and documents. Handling your business documents and files efficiently can create a great impact on your business. You do it right, and you will be able to increase your probabilities of success. Improper handling of documents can lead to losing of vital information, which can be critical to your customers.
Most of the companies find it difficult to maintain an efficient document management process. The reasons can be lack of proper storage space, time constraints, or more.
However, the reality is that managing your files and documents is essential and can help you avoid forming a huge mountain of paperwork around you. Some of the prominent benefits of a document management system are:
- Convenient access to documents
- Better utilization of available office space
- Enhanced efficiency in files and document handling
- Reduced costs of day-to-day operations
- Lesser customer complaints
- Keeping important confidential information intact
- Prevention of lawful breaches
The best part is effective document management is much simpler.
Here we share with you an eight-step guide to create a document management system that is effective and easy to maintain.
So, here check some simple steps to develop an effective document management system with ease!
Step 1 – Entitle a Document Management Team
Just like other aspects of a business, document management systems need precise and clear planning. The best way to start this is to entitle a team to be responsible for supervising and overseeing the process from start to end.
Creating a ‘team’ does not imply that you have to gather 10-15 members dedicatedly assigned to overseeing document management and nothing else. Rather a team here means an assistant or a lead that oversees everything that follows and ensures that the process runs smoothly.
You can always include other members of your team to deal with huge amounts of electronic files or paperwork, as and when it is necessary. But the key here is to have somebody that knows exactly how and what is going on, what has to be done next, and where everything is stored.
Step 2 – Define Your Document Management System Procedures
With a team ready to handle the system, the next step is to establish the precise processes and parameters the team will adhere to in terms of document management system.
Most of the official bodies define very specific guidelines for businesses to follow when it comes to data management, including for how long certain documents must be kept for and which documents must be kept in the first place. Make sure you define your document management procedures governed by the rules of Data Protection Act 1998. This law governs how you will use and store personal data related to clients, customers, and employees.
You must read through the applicable guidelines and use them to create a full document management process. Be clear what you must keep, how long it must be kept for, and where it must be stored.
Once the procedure is defined, you must maintain a hard and an electronic copy in case of computer malfunctions or any other potential obstacles.
Step 3 – Create a Plan and Schedule
With a team and document management procedures identified, the next step is to carry further preparations.
A plan is vital for document management to make referencing any specific document or file easier. It is an integral organizational tool. Your plan must be a checklist, including exactly what is contained within a folder, file, archiving box, or anything else you have stored as important.
You can create a catalog of document plan, which allows for easier reference.
Your document plan must be simple and must allow you to lay your hands on any piece of data with minimal efforts. With an up-to-date and detailed plan in hand, you can solve issues quickly and respond to customers without wasting time.
Additionally, you must include a destruction date on your plan as this will make it simpler to keep track of files you need to dispose of and when. When a disposal date is in place, you can dispose of the documents listed. Do it wisely so that you don’t destroy a file that you still need.
Step 4 – Organize Current Files
Unless you are doing it for the first time, it is likely that must be having enough existing files and documents, both in the hard and electronic copy. To get the best of your document management system, it is essential first to organize the existing documents.
Also, you must implement your plan to each document or file and maintain a record of the same in your catalog. This offers an excellent opportunity to organize and audit your documents, which can help you recognize if you are missing out anything important, or there are still documents stored that you no longer need.
Step 5 – Eliminate Existing Files for Unnecessary Content
Keeping your existing documents organized will offer you a great opportunity to dispose of the unwanted content.
If there are archaic folders filled with unnecessary content, it is worth disposing of it. Anything that is no longer needed must be prepared for disposal and kept on one side.
But don’t consider a document obsolete just because of its date. It is because there are certain documents that you need to keep for over the years, or even for a lifetime.
Step 6 – Check Disposal and Arrange Storage
With the existing documents and files organized and documents no longer required identifies, it is time to take into consideration disposal and storage.
While planning for storage, you need to decide between offsite and onsite archiving. The decision depends on the quantity of material you have for storing. Small organizations find it easy to store records onsite, in cupboards of filing cabinets. Bigger organizations may entitle and office space to archiving or look to outsource their document storage needs.
In both the cases, it is vital to keep files and documents you use onsite. This will avoid delays in accessing the information.
Electronic files can be considered storing on an offsite server. But then it is still vital to maintain a backup for them.
Step 7 – Test Everything
Once you have created a system and it is implemented, you need to test it thoroughly. Use your export formats and complete the invoice volume you expect to manage it. Additionally, test invoices that meet a distinct set of rules to ensure your workflow are working properly. This will provide you with a realistic look at the performance of your system.
Step 8 – Keep a Check on Ongoing Maintenance
All your hard efforts will quickly unravel if you are unable to maintain your document management system.
Decide a specific time on a daily basis, which you must spend on your document management system. Also, you can train your employees for ongoing maintenance of your document management system. The more people understand the system, the more they will adhere to its procedures and policies.
With these 8 steps, you can help stand your company in good stead in context to document management system. It is vital to tweak each step to make things better for your company.
If all this sounds slightly hard to you, or time-intensive, then you might consider hiring the services one of the leading companies like Chrome Infosoft for a document management system.