Paper Problems

Paper-based Filing Systems vs. Document Imaging Systems

Documents are very important to your organization. They contain information that is critical to the smooth operation of your organization. There are many types of documents. Invoices, purchase orders, reports, loan application forms, contracts and employee records are just a few examples of documents. Organizations use documents to keep records, convey information and run day-to-day business processes.

Estimates show that 80-90% of organizational information resides on paper while the rest is stored in electronic format. Without a good system, documents are hard to find, hard to share and easily lost. Some lost documents are impossible to reproduce. Actually they are costing you a lot more in money, time and man-power than you think.

Problems of a paper-based filing system
High cost:
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."

Security issue:
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 personnel.

Storage problem:
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 5,332,000 documents.

Slow access:
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 customer’s 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 recognition technologies.

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
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 and 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 management software such as Microfile XE offers many advantages over paper-based filing systems and can help businesses save money and increase efficiency.