A common phrase we've all heard many times before, and for good measure. New is cool, change is exciting, different is in. However, some things just work. This could be said of color-coded end-tab hard copy filing systems - when done right, they just work. As founder and president of FilingSupplies.com I have to admit, when we started over a decade ago, quite some time after the digitation of files and electronic records management had been introduced, I couldn't help but think about how long it will be until our core business offering, paper-based filing systems and supplies becomes a thing of the past, landing in the dinosaur graveyard. Here is what we've found, after serving the filing and information management needs of more than 25,000 businesses, medical offices, law firms, schools, government agencies and public service organizations: Hard Copy Filing Systems, when done right, just work, and because of this they appear to be here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
Two primary elements contribute to the continued dependency on hard-copy paper filing systems and tools:
1) The alternative, digital records, is costly to create and operate
2) Paper remains a proven medium that performs well and lasts the test of time
The complexity and cost of a completely electronic records management system and the remarkable efficiency of properly structured paper filing system are what is keeping critical information in order, and the doors of FilingSupplies.com wide open, attracting new and existing customers each and every day.
Of course, not just any old paper-based filing system will get the job done. There must be some thought, attention to detail, forward-thinking, and good old fashioned skill & experience. On that note, here are some of the key elements that make a winning system:
- Physical Space: Hard copy files do tend to take up space, and especially as the activity of the organization or institution grows. Anticipating this and allowing for adequate space will help to maintain an effective system.
- Access & Retrieval: Positioning the system in a central location to those requiring access, or creating a decentralized system which spreads the files across a wider area often linked to specific users can both be effective. It's important to choose the one that best suits the needs of the operation.
- Information Container: The file folder. Not just an 11 point manilla folder any more. Today paper filing containers (folders) have evolved to offer and at times include all kinds of features such as heavier duty material (kraft or pressboard), 1", 3" and even 5" expansion ranges, pockets, file dividers, fasteners, color features and more. The right filing system will be created by the team or individual who understands these features and prioritizes them.
- Order & Control: Driven primarily by the labeling or indexing system, creating order and control within your filing system is critical. Finding files when and where you need them, minimizing or even eliminating miss files, speeding audits and developing attributes which allow for accurate and speedy inventory, purging and classifying of each file.
- Retention Scheduling: Know your industry. How long do files need to be kept on site for operations vs. legal requirements? When should files move from activity to semi-active to inactive to destruction phase?
Understanding and executing on these key elements is the start to creating and maintaining an effective, safe and compliant hard-copy filing system for any organization. FilingSupplies.com offers every file folder and labeling product imaginable. We match known brands such at Jeter, TAB, Smead, Barkley, Amerifile, Medical Arts Press, Ames, Tabbies and more. Our wide range of manilla and pressboard folders offer menu-driven selection of a near endless range of features including classification dividers, file pockets, indexes, fasteners, custom printing, top and side tab design, colors, etc... Most of all, we at FilingSupplies.com are filing nuts. We have think about filing 24/7 and it's in our DNA. We offer guidance and consultation as needed to our customers seeking advice, recommendations, website navigation, or simply a friendly partner to talk shop with. We value what we do and believe we are playing a critical role in the operations, customer service and compliance of our customers.
To learn more please visit us at www.FilingSupplies.com, or call (800) 810-FILE (3453).
Curtis R. Dadian, President