When running a business, having great document management is a must to keep the operation running smoothly. As a business grows, and more papers begin to mount, file organization can quickly go out the window if you don’t have a robust system. That’s where a document management system comes in handy. A document management system uses automated software to securely store, organize and track electronic documents, such as project records, invoices, contracts, receipts, deliverables, etc. Having a solid system for your business ensures you’ll stay on top of the many files floating around, saving you a lot of paper, time, and money.
1. Form a Team
Creating a document management system takes a team effort, so you’ll need to choose team members who can oversee the entire process from beginning to end. The members you choose should be able to recognize what documents need to be saved or discarded and how to manage said documents.
2. Examine Current Processes
Partly, what makes a document management system so effective is that you can set the system up to suit your unique needs. Because of this, one size system won’t fit all, so you’ll need to determine the right solutions for your business. You can look at your current system and decide what you like or don’t like about your file management process, which will help you understand how your existing business processes function across the board. Examine how your documents are:
Before moving to the next step, determine whether your project team will continue developing and implementing the strategy or if an external unit will handle the process, like a document management company.
3. Establish Goals
Creating a document management system will be easier if you have a clear vision of how you want your system to function. You want your system to be as efficient as possible, and that efficiency will look different for every business. After examining your current operations, determine what elements of the current setup you want to keep or change. As your establishing your goals, envision what you want your end results to look like so you can plan the steps to reach them.
4. Categorize Documents
Here’s where file management begins to take shape. Your team should take inventory and categorize the files your key departments regularly work with to help optimize your new system. You want to get a good grasp of the files you work with daily, focusing on their purpose and where they get stored. These files typically include personal papers, records, pay stubs, employee forms, client information, reference materials, etc.
While taking inventory of your documents, the goal is to understand which files need to be readily available to you and which aren’t as important for daily use. The more organized you make your system now, the easier the process will be going forward.
5. Formulate Strategy
After organizing your documents, you now have a firm grasp on the hierarchy of your documents. Now is the time to begin outlining how to manage these files in the future. Are there any hiccups in your current system? Which workflows could be streamlined or automated? At this stage, you should be designing a document system standard for:
For larger businesses, you’ll also need to decide whether to implement this system across the entire organization or if each department will require a unique system.
6. Implement the Strategy
Once you’ve taken care of your inventory and strategized a plan for storing files, your project team can act on that plan and begin moving your digital documents over to your new digital document management system. However, if your business currently uses a physical system and you want to update to digital management, you’ll need to scan your physical files over to the new digital system.
When your document management system is in place, each of your employees will need to be aware of the new processes to stick to the plan your project team has put in place. The last thing you want is to spend the time optimizing this procedure only for it to fall apart soon after. As long as your employees are on the same page, the new system will run smoothly for years to come.
Document management is crucial to sustaining a seamless process of tracking and sharing files in any business, especially if you regularly handle a high volume of files. There’s no need to stress over file organization when you can implement robust software that takes the pressures off your back by handling all of your filing needs.
If you need a better solution to your filing system, talk with our experts to hear exactly how our document management software makes managing documents more effortless.