Records management systems are typically developed in one of two ways. First, there’s the approach most companies take. They start with a very basic filing system that serves the purpose of managing a small collection of records. Often, an entry level staff member with no records management background is tasked with creating the filing system in an attempt to reduce the labor costs associated with the project.
These individuals will use a combination of whatever methods and tools they are most familiar with (top tab folders, alphabetical filing, handwritten labels, basic color coding, etc). As the records continue to accumulate, the filing system becomes more unwieldy and error prone. Things get lost or misfiled, records that should have been discarded long ago keep clogging up the system, and finding a file quickly becomes difficult.
The other approach is to carefully design a filing system that accounts for how files and other information will be managed throughout their lifecycle, regardless of how extensive the records become. Fortunately, it’s never too late to switch from an outdated and inefficient filing system to an information management solution that really meets your company’s needs.
From security to retention, federal and state regulatory agencies have very strict rules for how businesses manage their information and records. Missing documents, incomplete records, or unsecured files are a big liability. Implementing a records management program with properly designed records management software establishes and enforces internal business guidelines that meet government standards. For example, you can set up record retention and disposition schedules to eliminate records that are past their retention date. These practices increase your level of compliance and reduce your risk of government fines and penalties in the event of an audit.
Various forms of records management technologies will support best practices for managing the lifecycle of records. Technologies like file labeling software, barcode scanning and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tagging allows you to track and manage a large number of records quickly and accurately. Paired with the right software solution, you can create a seamless records management system that enhances your ability to create, label, review, inventory, transfer, and dispose of records efficiently. Records management software cuts down on the time you spend looking for (or recreating) missing records. Records management software has advanced security features allowing you to set and restrict access to appropriate personnel. Since a comprehensive audit trail is built in to the technology, you have a complete history showing when each record was create and accessed throughout its lifecycle.
Assessing Your Records and Information Management System
Need help assessing your records and information management system? Southwest Solutions Group provides a free 30 minute phone assessment of your filing system. Call today at 1-800-803-1083 for your free assessment or contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have the knowledge, expertise, and products to improve your records management process, no matter what stage it is in!