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Exposing the hidden costs of archiving

Exposing the hidden costs of archiving

Storing reams of documents in your office or archive rooms is rapidly becoming outdated. The waste of valuable space is just one aspect of the drain on resources, but the true cost is often hidden. One of our clients recently took a cost analysis to look at the true cost of generating and storing their documents on-site and the results were surprising. The final calculations were that each lever arch file costs around £16.00 in raw materials (folder,, paper, printing etc.) and it attracted 2.5 hours of staff labour to compile, handle and access in the first 12 months of its life. Storage costs were estimated as 1 lever arch file costing £5.36 per year to hold in their office in central Birmingham. After 12 months the lever arch files were boxed up, an inventory list created and the boxes disappear off to the archive rooms, incurring most cost in wasted space and staff time. 

2022 saw this organisation looking to move premises as they have run out of room. Following our site survey, we pointed out that 21% of their current office footprint is taken up with storing paper documents, and many of their processes can be dramatically improved. The result is that they have shelved the plan to move for 12 months to see what impact our combination of off-site document storage, document scanning and cloud-based document management can deliver.

For many businesses document scanning may not be the right approach for all of the paperwork - after all if the likelihood is you'll never need to look at the document again, why scan it? Physical document storage still has a part to play in our modern business world, but only if used in conjunction with a wider document management strategy. The out of sight, out of mind, paper dumping grounds of the past need to be avoided at all costs.

So, what would the benefits be of holding your paperwork away from the office? 

Increase office space - Instantly get back your office space. It is always at a premium with every business. With your archive in storage, it frees up your valuable office space and makes your organisation more agile. With the increase in hybrid working and hot-desking, there may be an opportunity to even downsize your office space requirements. 

Manage document retention periods - Most reputable off-site storage providers will provide you access to a cloud-based record management system. From this system you can run reports to identify records in storage that have passed their retention periods, request new collections, order retrievals in either paper or scanned form and generally manage your paper archive without having to see it every day. 

Security and protection - Your storage provider's facilities should be designed with a number of security features to give the best possible protection for your documents. These should include internal and external CCTV, monitored fire and intruder alarms and restricted access control. You should also request to visit the facility to see your own boxes. Many companies have been caught out in the past by suppliers telling them they had the latest, most secure facilities, when in reality, the truth was very different. If you are not allows to visit, don't give them your boxes. 

Accessibility - In case you need urgent access to your information, does the storage provider offer a fast Scan-On-Demand service? In most cases you just need to see the information on your documents to answer that important question or query. Having the documents scanned and returned electronically within a few hours gives you all the benefits of document scanning without the upfront digitisation costs. It also means you don't have to worry about having an office full of archive boxes again. 

A perfect home for the scanned information would be a document management system as this delivers instant searchability and 24-hour access, perfect for hybrid working. Having a well-structured cloud-based document management system eradicates the need for organisations to rely on paper records which typically take up valuable office space. Your supplier can duplicate your physical filing structure into the cloud, making your documents even easier and quicker to find. 

If as you look around your office it's awash with paper, there are alternatives to consider which don't cost the earth but will deliver positive changes. Is off-site storage something you are considering? Storetec can collect your boxes from your current storage location. you don't need to lift a finger; we'll even shred the paper documents when they have ended their retention period.

If you have a storage project in mind, or would just like to explore the options, get in touch with us at Storetec. 

T: 0800 612 4065