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The who, what, where and why of document management

November 7, 2018

The Problem

It’s no great revelation that every company out there is constantly looking for ways to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs. Modern workflows are often extremely complex, and they can put employees under a lot of pressure to keep track of documentation, especially when things get a little hectic. And let’s face it, we’ve all been there at one time or another!

Small and medium businesses typically deal with document workflows that involve a variety of operations such as scanning, mailing, saving, approving, collating, archiving and filing. They work with both paper and digital documents. Processes like setting up and maintaining customer and client records, producing quotations, placing orders, scheduling deliveries and issuing invoices all generate huge amounts of paperwork and eat up loads of time.

With documents constantly being created by these activities, it’s no wonder that the average employee spends as little as 60%* of their time on productive work, with the other 40% taken up looking through e-mails, paper documents, shared drives, cabinets and folders just to find the information they need to complete the job in hand!

The Solution

I believe that a tailored document management systems (DMS) represent the solution to these problems. A good DMS deals easily and efficiently with invoices, bills of materials, e-mail attachments, and virtually any other type of document, transforming them into valuable assets that are all securely stored in the same place – the central document pool. In short, a DMS offers businesses of every size a robust, reliable and secure solution for enterprise content management.

And it’s not just me saying that. According to the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), 46% of companies that adopt an enterprise content management strategy report positive ROI within 12 months, and two-thirds do so within 18 months! These figures are impressive, and they reflect a cross-section of business sectors, so there’s every reason to believe your business could soon be seeing the benefits of adopting a DMS!

DMS are suitable for almost every area of business operation, from accounting to human resources and from sales and marketing to manufacturing and quality control.

The key benefits flow from the system’s structuring and automation capabilities, complemented by the way it makes all documents fast and easy to access. It keeps managers and other authorised employees “in the know” all of the time. This functionality can transform a company from one that struggles constantly with documentation chaos into one that functions smoothly and efficiently.

A DMS can even help to improve bookkeeping and credit control thanks to improved accountability and audit trails as well as an invoice forwarding functionality. Invoices for approval are forwarded electronically, which means they can be instantly accessed by managers, wherever they may be, and either immediately approved with a digital stamp or promptly queried. Even more important, the DMS allows all authorised employees to instantly see the status of an invoice, which greatly improves traceability and transparency, as well as virtually eliminating the possibility of invoices getting lost or misplaced. All of which helps to ensure everyone gets paid on time!

With the best DMS, every type of paperwork can be quickly scanned and securely saved. Electronic Documents can be imported easily via drag-and-drop functionality. Emails are automatically stored directly from the email client software and indexed with keywords that include the subject or recipient.

In addition, increasing numbers of companies are opting for flexible working hours and environments, which brings new challenges. But document management need not be among them, as a good DMS will offer remote access as standard. This means that employees located on different sites, hot-desking, or working from home are able to access and upload documents just as easily as if they were in a single central location. This not only improves morale, because staff feel that they are an integral part of the organisation wherever they are, but also eliminates communications bottlenecks between people, between departments and between
sites – allowing information to flow freely to where it is needed.

“All these benefits sound great”, you may be thinking, “but how easy is it to actually integrate such a system with our existing processes?” A good DMS provider should be able to offer a smart solution that will integrate easily and seamlessly with almost any type of business IT system, including CRM and ERP systems.

John Ruda, Process Optimisation Consultant

Want to find out more?

If you’re interested in learning more about effective document management, Toshiba has some valuable tips on adopting a DMS in your own organisation so simply sign up and download our Guide to Comprehensive Document Management. We're also hosting an event to discuss how much time a document management system could save your finance teams time!

Attend: Freeing up your finance teams | 15/11/18

Download: Guide to Comprehensive Document Management

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