One of the most common questions in record management is storing records in multiple locations or in a single central file space.
Centralizing records has many advantages. However, whether this is the right step depends on your organization and the specific requirements of your team. When you've explored the pros and cons and are ready to push centralization forward, our three-part blog post provides tips and techniques to help you make your centralization project a success.
In three blog posts we will deal with key aspects of centralization:
Consolidation: Bringing Everything Together
Consistency is a must if a consolidated collection is to work well.
Before you establish the common system, you must first understand what works today. This means that the storage methods currently used in the entire department are checked:
There are so many possible variations when viewing file folders:
When inventorying existing formats, consider which features best meet the needs of the team in a centralized system. The folder format you choose should take your priorities into account. Do you have little space? Do you need more security?
File label definitions
File labels are a key factor for efficient and reliable information retrieval. Files must be identified according to a standardized descriptor such as name, number or a consistent combination of identifiers. If subsets of files in a collection are labeled with different identifiers or combinations, users need to review multiple sections, which slows retrieval. It is even possible that some files may be completely overlooked when users who are less familiar with the partial label system try to retrieve files. If you find many different identification schemes, you should consider converting all files to a new standard that meets all requirements.
Internal File Arrays
There is more file arrangement to do than just how they are ordered on the shelf. The internal file arrangement is equally important. Are the individual documents arranged chronologically? Reverse chronologically with the latest articles at the top? Are there special tabs or are documents arranged according to business process or document type? When planning the central file space, you must ensure that you do not disrupt operations by unnecessarily changing these existing systems. If you change the status quo, the new system must be clearly communicated to users so that locating documents in files is still efficient and reliable.
By exploring the above factors, you can choose a suitable filing standard for the central collection. In the blog entry next week, we will examine the factors that need to be considered when planning storage space and storage in a central filing system.