The world has developed a love for retro, with products from furniture to home telephones available in the vintage designs of yesteryear. But not every sector is so susceptible to nostalgia. Traditional document filing systems are infamously painstaking, making the benefits of document scanning too great for it ever to regain preference.
Metal filing cabinets were once crucial pieces of office furniture. Although they are still used, the arrival of digital documents and cloud storage has relegated them to a minor presence on modern office floors. Meanwhile, the significance of professional document scanning services (such as our own services at Kefron) has grown steadily. This is largely due to the archival responsibilities that companies have, and their requirements to keep documents for business, regulatory and accountability purposes.
The particular document retention period can differ depending on the legal jurisdiction a business operation is in and document type involved. For example, in the UK, the statutory retention period for medical records is 40 years from the last entry, while the retention period for financial documents stands at 6 years for public limited companies. Some digital documents are expected to be retained indefinitely. These regulations apply to the full range of data, from files to reports to images, which is why digitally capturing and storing all data has become so important.
But other than reducing office clutter, what are the advantages to document scanning as an information storage option? We have put together a list of just 6, though there are others.
An important page is missing from a file, leaving information incomplete and hampering preparation for a crucial strategy meeting. You eventually find it, but weeks later lying alone at the bottom of a filing cabinet. It’s a familiar story. In fact, according to a Pricewaterhouse Coopers study, some 7% of paper documents are misfiled every year and 3.5% of all hardcopy documents are lost. Digital documents are located in one easy-to-access location and don’t slip to the bottom of a cabinet.
It’s not unusual to see printouts and files on office desks, but each time this happens is a security breach. Anyone can glance down and read them, even for just a few seconds, which can be a big problem if seen by the wrong people. Document scanning services ensure information from employee and client records, financial reports, and pricing projections can be kept safely away from prying eyes.
If you can find a document electronically, it’s going to save you more time and money than you might think. For example, an employee who earns an annual income of €40,000 costs a company about €23 per hour in wages. If this person takes an hour to find a particular hardcopy document, it actually costs you €46. How? Well, 1 hour finding the document, and 1 hour away from normal work tasks. Because digital documents can be located in minutes, the distraction is minimal, making document scanning a real money saver.
Sometimes you’re not too sure which document you need to find, but you do know the topic that it covers. When it comes to looking for a hardcopy documents, this can create a lengthy delay – 1.8 hours searching daily, according to a McKinsey Survey. But document scanning allows you to store each file with keywords, so you skip all that tunneling through the archives while the most relevant documents pop up immediately.
When a document needs to be shared between team members or departments, most people use email. It seems logical, but in fact email is not an efficient document distribution system. Because document scanning sees files stored digitally in one location, it allows departments to gain direct access to the most up-to-date information, helping to make collaboration run faster and smoother.
All companies look to achieve a cost-efficient office, and are willing to invest in new technologies to make that happen. A printer that saves half a cent per page is a help, but hardly comes close to the costs savings associated with the paperless office (as Yale University reported). Because digital documents can be shared via devices, fewer copies need to be printed resulting in far greater savings. Add to that the drastic reduction in paper waste, and the environmental value of such a change becomes even more attractive.