Could you be using your storage space more effectively? Are you spending too much on storage? Is storage enhancing your workflow? Is it designed to enhance retrieval time and speed information access?
With paper filing systems taking up 20 percent of office space on average, and the cost of real estate square footage rising almost everywhere, these are questions records and facilities managers need to be asking themselves.
This two-part post is designed to help organizations enhance and expand their current filing storage system. By considering this information, you’ll be better able to answer the questions above. In part one we focus on determining the current needs of your organization, while ensuring future expansions are taken into consideration.
1. Assessing current and future needs
This is a critical part of the assessment process, and capturing accurate information will help you build a solid storage plan.
What type of media do you need to store?
- file folders
- CDs / DVDs
- a combination of these or other items
How much filing capacity do you need now and in the future?
To ensure your plan can accommodate current and anticipated filing needs, you’ll need to calculate your capacity based on existing files and predicted inflow. Your records management consultant should be able to help you with this.
What is the nature of your workflows?
Analyzing which people in your organization are creating and using the files, where these users are located, and how often they are accessing the files, will help determine the most appropriate location and design of your filing system.
What type of safety and security measures do you need?
There are a number of security and safety considerations critical to any storage plan, including identifying:
- those parts of your collection which need to be secured and accessed only by authorized users.
- relevant regulations and compliance issues that need to be met.
- existing safety issues (i.e., uneven flooring, ergonomic handles, etc.), which need to be addressed.
If your files are in a highly visible area such as reception, where you want to make an impression on clients or partners, you should ensure your storage equipment blends with and complements the existing design. A wide range of paint and color options are available for reputable storage products.
Is there a move in your future?
If relocation is in your company or department’s future, you may want to consider investing in filing products that will withstand the move. TAB recommends products made with thick gauge steel and coated through a powder paint process; these are scratch resistant and strong enough to withstand the rigors of a move. Look for:
- products that have no nuts and bolts — they make disassembly much easier
- welded cabinets, since they can be moved even when fully loaded, eliminating the need to pack and unpack files
- filing systems with removable, interchangeable trim parts can be easily adapted to the design and color scheme of your new location
In part two of this post, we will look at your organization’s existing resources, and evaluate variables to keep in mind when determining what to spend on any storage improvements.