Today's article is the last part of our three-part series on centralizing physical records and creating a "paperlite" environment. In the last two articles we dealt with file consolidation, conversion and spatial planning. This week we focus on archiving controls that are critical to the success of a centralized archiving system.
Based on our experience with many centralization projects, we have identified four helpful strategies and tools for archiving controls in the newly centralized system. Collection:
- Document all filing procedures and provide step-by-step instructions daily creating, arranging, locating, retrieving and relocating files. Documentation like this has never existed in many organizations, but it is essential to create a consistent approach to the central storage area.
- Provide dedicated administrative staff with The exclusive responsibility for the correct compilation and arrangement of the files. For optimal control over collections, some organizations allow only certain employees to organize, retrieve, or re-archive data, reducing the risk of human error associated with a broad base of users who access file storage directly. Other organizations have employees who are responsible for delivering files to users through scheduled file runs or as needed.
Implement out-cards and other physical tools to identify when a file was removed from memory and signed and released to a specific user. This visually reminds you that a file is unavailable and needs to be returned.
- Use a software tool to index and track files, content, current location, and logout status. Ideally, the tool has barcode scanning capabilities that can be used to track every file as it is retrieved and re-filed. Depending on the size and complexity of your business processes and file collections, this tool can range from simple file tracking software to a sophisticated physical and electronic file management system.
- As you can see, centralization requires more thought. and careful application of filing controls. Otherwise, a small file fair can become a big one!