Acquisitions and divestitures are an important part of business, especially in the energy sector, but merging different file collections can be a huge challenge for records managers.
When one leading energy company found itself making up to 100 acquisitions a year, the task of merging thousands of new files from different organizations was enormous, and the company’s system for well and lease files was being pushed to its limits.
The land records manager wanted not only a more efficient way to absorb those new files, but a way to track existing files as well. The solution TAB devised gave the company one consistent method for managing records throughout their life cycle, and a robust tool to do it with. Here, step-by-step, is what TAB did for them.
1. Analyzing their needs
TAB consultants met with the company’s land records manager and file room staff, analyzing the current state of the file room, the company’s immediate needs and plans for future growth.
In talking together, they realized that both the intake and tracking problems would be solved by implementing a consistent records management methodology across the enterprise. TAB recommended that the best way to achieve consistency would be to:
- convert all existing files
- standardize on a color-coded system with custom file labels
- use file tracking software
As new files came in, they would easily be incorporated using this new system.
2. Applying file tracking software
File tracking software is the lynchpin of the system, ensuring accuracy as well as consistency. It has other benefits, too, because it gives organizations the ability to:
- quickly track every file at all times
- speed retrieval times
- improve overall access to information
- maximize efficiency of RM resources
3. Creating the label
Getting the label design right is a critical step in creating an efficient records management process. It has to match your business process and include all relevant information.
TAB’s professional services division designed a label template that matched the company’s dynamics, using information such as the well number, well name, county and state to identify the file. When the template was approved, TAB personnel deployed and the conversion began.
4. Making the conversion
The TAB team used a series of audits designed to ensure that the file conversion was accurate. They began with a data test, using printouts of this existing electronic database, and physically matching it to every file on the shelves, then as protection against error in the data test, all the information was pulled from every label in the room. This information was then compiled and cross referenced. With this completed, the professional services division began producing labels and converting files, uploading each one into the software as it was created.
All of this was done on site, eliminating downtime and insuring that every file remained accessible without loosing a single one.
5. Training on the right records management software
With the conversion complete, the TAB professional services team trained the land records staff at their facility on how to manage TAB’s RM software, including checking files in and out with the program, installation, and training their own staff later, so that everyone in the file room could access it.
During this process, the TAB team installed a day-forward process for integrating incoming acquisition files and incorporating them into their new records management program. When inputting a new file, a bar code and color label would be generated immediately, ensuring consistency across the board.