There are many ways of improving efficiencies and productivity – just step away from the day to activities (or get someone to do it for you) and see how things are actually being done and think – “could this be done differently? ”

One area which detracts from both efficiency and productivity is shuffling papers around or looking for paperwork that was filed somewhere safely!

Implementing a document management system can improve efficiencies in the working practice and provide a better working environment.

1. Get rid of the Filing Cabinets – Scan and Store Electronically

Creating paper based files can lead eventually to storage issues – off site facilities may be required. It can also be very time consuming to locate documents and even the files themselves. It is quick and easy to scan documents, index them for fast retrieval and store them digitally. The paper can then be shredded. No costly files, filing cabinets or storage space required.

2. Don’t Create Paper Documents in the First Place

If someone has a printed document there is an inbuilt requirement to file it away safely. A change of mindset is required to save the electronic version without committing it to paper.

When multiple versions of the same paper document are being circulated how do you know or decide which is the latest version? Good electronic document management systems allow different versions of the same electronic document to be maintained so that the most current is always visible first.

3. Systemise the Electronic Filing and the Workflows

Ensure everyone in the business knows what is required and how, when and where to save electronic files. Everyone should also work the same way e.g. filing emails should be in their native format and not printed to PDF and saved in that format.

The use of drop down boxes to attach electronic tags is much better than relying on specific text which can be mistyped.

Workflow is an essential element of any document management system. There is little point filing a document received and no one knowing that it is in the system or that someone needs to act upon it and deal with it. Sending an email to let someone know a document needs their attention is not a workflow!

4. Locate Documents Quickly and Easily

Key to any document management system is the ability to get information out quickly. In a paper based system it is likely that a telephone call would need to be returned as it would have been necessary to locate the physical file somewhere in the building. With a document management system it should be possible to call up the relevant document whilst the client is on the phone. When appropriate tags have been applied, it is possible inside a document management system to filter the search by a tag making it far quicker to retrieve specific documents – something it is not easy to do in a paper based file.

5. Save Files of all Formats

The document management system will enable filing, not just of scanned documents, but of all types in their native format. So, be it Word, Excel, Outlook emails, PDF files …… all can be saved for easy retrieval. Not only that, a combined file of all types can be created (as a zip file) so that all documents relating to an assignment can be kept together in one neat electronic file if necessary.

Document management systems can and will benefit all sizes and type of business that generate documents of any description – and that is probably every single one!!