Four point six million tons – that’s how much paper is consumed in U.S. offices annually (The Better Paper Project). Even as e-documents have grown in popularity and usage, paper consumption has not diminished, actually increasing year over year.
There are reasons paper persists. One reason is the resistance to change. Paper is a deeply entrenched technology. For certain vital documents – your baby’s footprint or your business’s first dollar – people are simply more comfortable with paper copies. Another reason is human neurology: A recent study showed that people retained information longer, gave it greater credibility, and had a deeper emotional reaction to information presented on paper.
Nevertheless, paper has some notable costs. Aside from the purchase price of paper, there’s $122 in added costs every time a document is lost. One day per week is spent, on average, managing paper instead of generating revenue.
Beyond the cost of lost productivity, there’s the real estate cost associated with filing all that paper. Unless you’ve condensed your document storage in a space-efficient high density storage system, your organization’s filing cabinets are keeping a lot of money tied up in non-productive office space.
When you compare the cost of working with paper documents vs. the cost of working with scanned documents, the advantage of converting to digital document management becomes clear. Retrieval of digital documents takes seconds, not minutes, and thousands of digital documents can be stored on a pocket-size drive. With size and speed on your side, your enterprise operates with improved efficiency and profitability.
Often overlooked is the extra benefit of sustainability. The pulp and paper industry is the third largest polluter in North America, as reported by The Paperless Project. Converting to digital documents boosts your green quotient and gives your brand a positive story to share.
Document conversion isn’t an all-or-nothing decision. There’s a place for paper documents (preferably in a high density shelving system), but given the cost of paper dependency, converting your paper documents to digital format is simply good business sense. Work with an experienced conversion consultant, and you can enjoy the benefits of digital document management.
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Team sports are integral to the American lifestyle. From preschool soccer to senior Olympics, organized sports participation is healthy for the individual and good for society as a whole. And with all that athletic activity comes a great deal of equipment, particularly in football.
A few football numbers:
- The Wilson Football Factory makes 700,000 footballs per year.
- One and a half million football helmets are sold every year.
- Many college football teams redesign their uniforms each year, and have alternate uniforms each season – old style and new.
Add to that all the pads, cleats, braces, chin straps, face masks, and shoes, and you begin to see a big storage challenge for sports equipment managers. The gear is bulky and rigid; folding it away into a compact space is not an option. One fully-equipped football uniform is estimated to take up over 4 cubic feet, and with 53 players on each NFL team (plus 10 additional practice squad members), all that gear takes up quite a bit of space.
And the equipment is pricey too. Football equipment tops the list of sports equipment sales, hovering in the $500 million range. A single NFL helmet costs $1000. With such a large investment in assets, team equipment managers are tasked with carefully tracking the equipment inventory. And they have to manage much more than helmets and pads – even gloves and mouth guards have to be accounted for.
The numbers show the magnitude of the sports equipment management challenge, in terms of both space and inventory. Storage professionals have stepped up with their own numbers: 50% less floor space with high-density shelving systems, and 100% inventory accuracy with active-RFID systems. High-density mobile shelving accommodates the odd shapes and bulk of football equipment in a highly efficient space-utilization system. RFID tags track every element of each player’s uniform to avoid loss or misplacement. In combination, mobile shelving and RFID inventories keep real estate and equipment costs manageable, not just for the NFL, but for any organization that has physical assets to manage and store.
Yes, we’re passionate about sports in the U.S. And every athletic team is supported by unsung heroes, including the sports equipment managers who keep their teams well dressed and protected. Storage pros are proud to be part of that support system, providing the technology that allows teams to focus on being their best.
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January is traditionally Storage Month – all the closed business from the previous year goes into the archives, while new files and projects are opened in readiness for the new year’s new business. With all those old documents from last year, and all the new ones you’ll accumulate this year, January is a good time to establish a document management plan.
The development of a document management plan always begins with the three typical outcomes for a document: file it, scan it, or shred it. Once you define what to do with the various classes of documents your business generates, you’ll have a much better idea of the quantity of physical document storage you’ll need, as well as the size of your document conversion needs. But each outcome – file, scan, or shred – has its own inherent challenges.
FILE IT: Certain paper documents should always be maintained in their original form, and those documents may vary depending upon the type of work your organization does. Some types of law offices, for example, have a greater need than others to keep original documents. Thanks to high-density mobile filing systems, paper documents don’t have to take over a sizeable piece of your office’s floor space. The challenge is determining exactly which original documents your organization should retain.
SCAN IT: Like high-density shelving, document scanning is an excellent strategy to keep your organization’s physical storage footprint lean and mean. Whether stored on drives or in the cloud, your scanned documents are readily accessible but in a far more efficient spatial form. Proper organization is key to an effective document conversion program, however, and enlisting the advice of experts will help you achieve all the benefits of better space utilization.
SHRED IT: Once you’ve decided which documents you don’t need to hold on to, document shredding is the safest way to dispose of unneeded paper. But don’t get too hasty with the shredder; business documents like employee records, business property deeds, annual reports, even business credit card statements should be retained for a number of years, or even for the life of the organization. While many documents will eventually be shredded, they’ll need to be filed safely in the interim, and you’ll need to calculate how much storage space you’ll need for them, and for how long.
It’s no small thing to develop a successful document management plan, and it can seem like an insurmountable challenge. But it doesn’t have to be. Educate yourself about the information needs of your particular business, partner with a storage pro who understands the latest document storage strategies, and step into the new year with confidence.
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