How to reduce lost files and speed up document retrieval

Posted by TAB on

Does your company or department frequently receive “URGENT!” emails to all staff asking where a certain file is located?

Have important files or documents gone missing in the last year?

These are the classic signs of an inefficient file storage and retrieval system. And if these challenges didn’t provide enough incentive to improve your filing system, a little math will probably provide the final word. Simply add up the average amount of time spent per employee looking for files in a given month, and multiply that by the number of staff. That’s a lot of lost productivity! What would happen to productivity if you could give back 25% or 50% of that time to your staff?

Tips for better file tracking and retrieval

Here are just a few of the ways you can reduce document retrieval times and reduce the number of lost files in the workplace.

  • Have a clearly defined policy identifying who has responsibility for certain files or categories of files throughout their lifecycle. Conveying “ownership” helps improve accountability.
  • Implement and enforce policies governing who can check in and check out files. Provide guidelines for when and how files are to be returned.
  • Where possible, centralize file collections to allow for better file security, supervision and oversight.
  • Tracking files is much easier with the help of technology. Barcode scanners, combined with file tracking software help you see exactly who has checked out a file, and when. No more panicked emails to all!

Before planning a specific solution to your filing issues, we always recommend conducting an audit of your existing filing system. This helps you see how your current system is meeting user needs and where the gaps are. From there, you can best plan out the specific policies, processes and technologies to improve the situation.

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