The big box project – saving money with an inactive records strategy

inactive records audit

 

Inactive records may not be the first place companies look for cost savings, but the right records strategy can deliver a significant impact on the bottom line.

Ten years ago, an international energy company went through a period of rapid growth, acquiring assets and records from over ten other companies. With several different records collections coming together, the situation would normally require the execution of a strategic plan to integrate all the newly acquired records. However, the company did not prioritize dealing with the inactive records collections and shipped over 35,000 boxes of inactive files to a storage provider with the intention of “dealing with the information at a later date”. The company never took a complete inventory of the boxes and 10,000 boxes were not even opened before being sent to storage.

In 2015, the company was looking to cut expenses and the high price of inactive records storage came up for discussion. With cost-savings in mind, it was finally time for the company to deal with the thousands of boxes that had been sitting dormant for years.

What Was In the Boxes?

The company spent nine months internally reviewing spreadsheets and information to determine what was in as many inactive boxes as possible. Staff created an index of boxes and found that many were ready for destruction. However, there were still 2,300 boxes left with unknown contents.

If Only We Had Done This Sooner…

Permanently moving all boxes to TAB’s record centre in Calgary (TRC) provided the company a secure environment to audit the boxes. The goal was to reduce the number of boxes in storage and save on future storage costs.

Working side-by-side with TAB’s subject matter experts, the company audited the 2,300 boxes and learned it could have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in regulatory fines and equipment purchases if they had indexed the documents sooner. Well files, contracts, AFEs, closing books, drawings, data books and other important documents were discovered which would have been key documents during important business transactions and decisions.

A Million Dollar Lesson

The company estimates it might have saved approximately $1M if files were properly indexed and organized when the information was originally acquired.

Today, staff can easily locate files, physical storage costs are lower and the company will avoid the hefty fines associated with lost or missing files. The company has learned that bringing in an experienced partner is a smart move – especially when it means dealing with records before they become a liability.

Next Steps

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box audit
inactive records
inactive records collections
records center
records centre
records storage

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