September 28, 2011

12 Steps to Near-Paperless Bliss: Part II

Going (nearly) paperless in your office is not as daunting a task as it may seem.

In "12 Steps to near paperless Bliss: Part I," I addressed questions like “Should you go completely paperless?” and “What is the best equipment?” in my previous blog; to read Part I, click here. Part II focuses on the final steps in making this plan a reality.

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Personnel in Place

First decision: Can existing team members pull this off? For us, the answer was an emphatic “no!” We tasked two veterans who know our files and systems to manage the project.

But the remaining team members have jobs that need to be done. So we hired some part-time people just for this project. Kids of team members appeared. Work is good when you can get it. There is no shortage of part-time help.

Process Documented

The key documentation is how to name files. It’s a whole lot easier to thumb through a file cabinet to locate a misfiled document than it is to locate it among thousands of electronic documents.

So you have to get this part right.

In researching the issue, I found an excellent resource for you. I’ve posted it to the “Paperless Resource Page” on my other blog.

Decide on your own process. Document it, especially how you are going to name files.

Staff Trained

Once you’ve got your documentation and your people, this is not a big deal. Based on your tests (Step #3), you pretty much know what you will encounter. Your team-leader sits with your people doing file prep, scanning and file naming. Work with them until they are flawless.

File Preparation

This is the big one. To keep those scanners running  eight hours a day, your scanning team should have to make as few decisions as possible. There may only be these three.

1.      Which folder do I scan to?

2.      Are there any loose papers that will cause a jam?

3.      Single sided or duplex?

All the loose paper, duplicate documents, documents that may have been mis-filed are removed.

That’s the role of file prep.

Scanning

Keep the scanners going as close to non-stop as you can.

File Naming

Ideally, this is done by a separate person. The Fujitsu scanner we recommend will suggest a file name. But this requires thinking. Someone with knowledge of your clients and files should be responsible for file naming.

Secure Disposal

Get one of these truck shredders to come around.

Secure Access

Think it through. Who really needs access to the files? You might need to get your I.T. person to come in and give some people read-only access while the FA and a trusted assistant have read/write access.

Redundant Backup

Obviously, you have an online backup. But if you think for a second that this is enough, you dream. What happens if the company goes out of business tomorrow? Don’t take chances.

Now Do It!

Going (nearly) paperless in your office is not as daunting a task as it may seem. Like most things, a good plan and a good team will make all the difference.  Add that to good advice from Bill Good and you should have everything you need to succeed.

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This is the second in a series of articles, which are archived on a “Paperless Resource Page” on my website.

Here’s the link to my author page for Research magazine. Bookmark it. Check here often for other wisdom. 


12 Steps to Near-Paperless Bliss: Part I

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