Problems of a paper-based filing system
The following calculation gives you an idea of the labor cost associated
with a paper-based filing system. It is assumed that your organization
creates or receives 100 important new paper documents that are filed
daily and that there is an efficient paper-based filing system in place.
If on an average it takes 6 minutes to retrieve and file a document,
total time taken to handle 100 documents equals 6 x 100 minutes = 10
hours per day
If the hourly rate is $14 including social security and benefits, total
labor cost per year equals ($14 x 10) x (226 work days) = $31, 640.
The above analysis does not include overhead cost for retrieving and
filing old documents. If included, the cost of retrieving and filing
paper documents will be a lot more than you realize.
Lost and Missing Documents
According to a study by Cooper and Lybrand, "7.5% of all documents get
lost and 3% of the remainder is misfiled." This suggests that out of
every one hundred documents, ten documents are sitting on the wrong
desk, being removed from the office, etc. Some documents cannot be
reproduced if lost. This dramatically increases the risks and costs
associated with paper filing systems.
Hard to share
Paper-based filing systems allow paper documents to reside in only one
place at a time. To share documents, office workers generally make their
own copies. According to Cooper and Lybrand, "The average document gets
copied 19 times, and of course, many of these copies also get filed."
It is hard to keep track of who has used or copied which paper
documents. Paper documents are often maintained with very low security
control. Your company risks leaking critical information to unauthorized
There is also a cost associated with storing documents both on and
off-site. A document imaging system allows you to store 23,333 documents
on a $0.5 CD or 5,332,000 documents on a 160 GB external hard drive
costing approximately $100. You may tell the difference by comparing the
one time charge a $100 external hard drive to the annual rent and
overhead cost of maintaining a huge number of file cabinets for storing
Finding and retrieving a document using a paper-based system is slow. In
situations where information contained in a document is required
immediately to response to a customerís request, the delay may cause
customer dissatisfaction. In addition, re-filing paper documents wastes
time and may result in misplacement of the files.
Document imaging is the solution
Document Imaging refers to the process of capturing the image of a paper
document and turning it into digital form. A document scanner is usually
used for capturing the document image, although other imaging methods
are also available.
Once scanned or imported, documents are indexed using one or more
parameters or keywords (e.g. invoice number) and stored in an electronic archive
such as a hard drive. The indexes will be used later to find the desired
document images. Images stored in the electronic archive can be
retrieved, viewed, printed and emailed.
There is software that can automatically capture the index data from the
documents utilizing barcode recognition, OCR or other intelligent
With a document imaging system, personnel can retrieve documents
directly from their desktop PC within seconds. There is no re-filing
necessary after using the document.
Document Management refers to the systematic organizing, tracking,
storing and retrieving of documents and files. A computerized document
management system can manage not only document image files but also many
kinds of digital files.
Why do you need document imaging & management
With the glut of various information and records nowadays, it is getting
more and more difficult to find the information or documents you want. A
lot of time and resources are wasted because the needed information or
documents gets lost somewhere or takes a long time to find.
Increasing competition puts a lot of pressure on the profitability and
survival ability of a business. Only the efficient and productive
companies can enjoy continuous growth.
Document imaging offers many advantages over paper-based filing systems.
Document management is information management and can help businesses
save money and increase efficiency.