The paperless office was one of the many promises of the computer age, but we’re not there yet. Paper files are still a fact of life in most businesses, and managing those files efficiently is a challenging task.
Multiple staff members handle the files on a daily basis, and there is no way to quickly locate any given file without physically searching for it. For companies that create large numbers of files, this can literally be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
File tracking software solutions can help law firms, libraries, police departments, and other organizations get a handle on their file management. Using barcode or RFID labels in conjunction with a file tracking software solution can make it easier for employees to quickly locate files and creates an accurate audit trail so that file handling policies can be enforced.
With a file tracking solution, each file is given a barcode and/or an RFID label. As the files are processed, those labels are scanned each step of the way so that they can be accurately tracked throughout a facility. In some cases, employee ID badge scans can accompany the file scans to provide even more information about who has the file and whether or not it is being properly handled and stored.
Using RFID with file tracking software can even make it possible for an employee with a handheld reader to locate a specific file among a large stack of paperwork in seconds. That type of near-real-time tracking can generate a number of important business benefits:
- Avoid time wasted looking for lost or misplaced files. When staff members lose track of a given file, finding it again can take hours (in some cases, days) of time that might otherwise be spent on more productive tasks. With a robust file tracking software in place, that process can be cut down to just minutes by providing an accurate trail of where the file has been and who scanned it last. In the case of RFID-based solutions, a quick scan of a stack of files can cut that search time down to seconds.
- Increase efficiency for the processing, storage, and retrieval of files and documents regardless if they are onsite or offsite. With a properly designed process in place, files can be scanned at each step along the way from creation and storage to retrieval. Handwritten file logs or notes can be eliminated, and, if required, an audit trail can be created automatically.
- Reduce or eliminate the possibility of losing important customer information. A missing file doesn’t just inconvenience employees; it can also damage client relationships if they lose faith that you can manage their information reliably. In the case of legal documents or police records, a misplaced file can result in costly trial delays, missed filing deadlines, or worse. With file tracking software, you can always be assured of knowing exactly where to find critical documents.
- Mitigate risk and lower costs by managing records with enforceable retention policies. File tracking also allows managers to ensure that all employees are following the prescribed file handling and retention procedures by creating an accurate account of each step in those processes. Gaps in the audit trail will be immediately apparent, enabling quick corrective action. This reduces the risk of lost files, improves regulatory compliance, and can lower costs through improved efficiency.
- Added security prevents unauthorized parties from accessing and viewing files. Certain federal and state regulations, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, require specific document handling procedures. Certain legal or business files can only be accessed by authorized parties. File tracking software can match documents with specific employees and generate alerts if unauthorized staff handle those documents. With RFID labeling in place, those alerts can be generated automatically if someone attempts to move files from a secure location without permission.
File tracking software can improve efficiency, boost file security, ensure regulatory compliance, and reduce costs. With the right technology and file management processes in place, you can ensure end-to-end visibility of all of your critical documents.
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