You may already know how RFID* works, and how it benefits businesses through accurate, time-saving asset tracking. One surprising application is within the well-know bourbon distillery Wild Turkey, which adopted RFID to track its warehoused barrels of fine spirits. As reported in RFID Journal, the company formerly stamped each barrel with information about the barrel’s contents and the date the barrel entered the warehouse for aging. Keeping track of the whereabouts of each barrel was not just good business practice, it was mandated by government regulations. But maintaining a complete, accurate inventory required Wild Turkey’s warehouse crew to “eyeball” the information stamped on each of their 650,000 barrels – a time-consuming, labor-intensive and error-prone task.
Now, their RFID system starts tracking a new barrel at the time it’s manufactured, adding information to the barrel’s record when newly distilled bourbon is added to the barrel and when a warehouse location is assigned to start the aging process. Handheld RFID readers display the location and contents of every barrel in a warehouse, without the need for a warehouse staffer’s visual confirmation.
Regulatory compliance is now a simple matter of printing a report from the RFID software. Just as important, when a barrel has aged sufficiently and is ready for market, finding its location among its 650,000 neighbors is a snap. The fully-aged barrel is moved out of the warehouse, making room for a new barrel.
Even if you’re not operating a distillery, tracking the age of an asset is something that any business needs to do, particularly when the assets are documents. Like almost every enterprise, you probably have multiple file cabinets filled with documents. Many of those documents are long past their useful life, whether they were needed for operations or to fulfill regulatory requirements.
Add RFID tags to file folders, or even individual documents, and in the future any outdated documents can be identified easily, located quickly, and disposed of properly, whether disposal means scanning into a digital archive, or shredding securely. As you go forward, your files will contain only what’s required for current operations and record-keeping. And in the process, you’ll gain quite a bit of space formerly assigned to those old unnecessary documents – space that can be converted to more productive uses.
RFID pays you back in many ways: faster inventories, accurate asset records, and less storage space. An experienced RFID provider can show you how the benefits add up, and discuss a custom solution.
*(What is RFID? Find out here.)
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You’re well aware of the benefits of document conversion: secure document management, speedy document retrieval, reduced liability, improved sustainability, and smaller office storage area. So why haven’t you done it? For most of us, the problem is time. It takes time to get up to speed on the high-volume scanners, the information management software, the document disposal decisions. And once you know what to do, it takes even more time to execute the conversion.
In most organizations, time is the scarcest resource of all. Nevertheless, there are ways to spend just a little time and still get the job done. A few tips:
- Attend a Digital Asset Management (DAM) conference and get an overview of what document conversion entails. The Digital Asset Symposium and DAM New York are just a couple of examples of the numerous conferences devoted to DAM, with experts in a variety of industry sectors. Knowledge is a great anxiety-reducer, and once you’ve educated yourself about DAM, terms like “metadata” and “taxonomy” will no longer be intimidating.
- Seek out a consultant or service provider with a depth of experience in document conversion. Look for someone who understands the information needs of your type of business and who will design a customized conversion plan.
- Examine your calendar for opportune times to execute the conversion, in order to minimize any downtime in normal operations. A 3-day weekend? An office move, when you’d be shut down anyway? A normally-occurring slow time in your industry? Those can be great times to make the change to digital, with minimal disruption.
- Don’t do the work yourself. Bring in a service provider whose crew can move the paper documents through the conversion process quickly and expertly. Your costs to train your own team adequately, and pull them off their usual tasks to execute the conversion, will far exceed the cost of an outside service provider.
Remember that a successful document conversion project has two parts: A well-designed plan, and a well-crafted execution of that plan. Look for a service provider who can offer both, and your conversion project will be seamless.
It’s a well-worn axiom: Time is money. The more time you spend putting off your document conversion, the more money is lost through reduced productivity. Devote a small amount of time now to learning about the process, and you’ll be that much closer to the cost-saving benefits of document conversion.
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This International Law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., had an expiring lease and was in a dated building. The decision was made to relocate to a newer building, closer to the K St, NW Corridor. The challenge now was to utilize the space efficiently and cost effectively.
The Process and Solution
It was a good opportunity to review workflow and create a new workspace to meet the current and future needs of the firm. The top priority was to have secure high-density storage that used minimal space and a service center that supported an ever-changing productivity requirement.
High Density Storage
With a design layout employing the use of small hallway niches, NOS, Inc. was able to provide high-density bi-file filing systems. The systems were able to incorporate both standard locking lateral file cabinets, and open style library shelving. This application allowed maximum storage capabilities in a minimum amount of real estate. Additionally, NOS, Inc. used the modularity of their shelving packages to fit storage shelving into smaller odd shaped rooms, usually with columns interrupting the layouts. This solution gave the firm ample storage capacity in a small footprint.
The Office Services Group maintains a central business hub for the mail/print/copy operations of the firm. Located on the concourse level, NOS, Inc. was tasked with providing a modular, scalable, heavy duty product line to meet the needs of each group’s function. A modular casework solution was selected so that the center can change as the firm’s needs change. NOS, Inc. was able to design the space with overhead and base cabinet storage, workstation desking areas, mail/form sorter units, parcel supply storage slots, and counter areas for equipment placement. All units were equipped with easily adjustable (or removable) shelves. Some units were made with open areas below for cart storage, while the countertop portion was utilized for mail sorting. The modular design accommodated differing counter heights to suit each function with 30”, 36” and 42” high units.
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BRINGING ORDER TO CHAOS
A large financial institution invited NOS into their organization to address their never ending file room space issues and as a result their organization changed forever.
The room was filled with vertical and lateral file cabinets. Cabinets lined the walls and a labyrinth formed between the four walls. Frustrated, staff began placing files on top of cabinets where they SHOULD be filed if there was room in the cabinet.
The staff reached an emotional peak and it became a very real financial burden for the organization when the files could not be located within a reasonable period of time. The client’s wait time was becoming an untenable situation.
The solution was an overall file room redesign. The company needed a high-density system to provide additional storage and create a more efficient system for the staff.
The challenge was to implement this change during working hours with little to no effect to the flow of business. The NOS professional services division specializes in “work in place” projects and has teams that are both efficient and effective at keeping track of the previous system and converting to the new system in a logical and understandable manner. This team was brought in to manage the transition.
PROCESS AND SOLUTION
The process was not as simple as building a high-density system and placing folders on the shelves. The files were removed from the cabinets and placed on carts in temporary accessible storage while NOS built the High-Density Mobile System, in place. The professional services division then went to work and converted all of the labels from top tab to side tab using a new label design. Once the high-density system was complete they loaded the folders into the system, exactly where they needed to be.
With this new system the client gained two levels of filing space in the same floor space. In addition, as the mobile system does not require as much floor space there was a 60% increase of linear file inches (LFI). The original filing storage area contained 28,375 LFI. After installing a High-Density Mobile System in the SAME SPACE they now have 45,400 LFI capacity. This not only meets their current requirements but also allows space for growth and expansion.
“It was a great experience to see how we could transform just one file room and almost double their storage capacity. As a result of this change, they are now able to meet their client’s requests in a timely manner and have room to grow.” – Denise Cruz, Storage Specialist
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A large international financial agency/firm needed to renovate a 10 story, 40-year-old building due to an antiquated HVAC system. As the entire building was being gutted, a review of personnel versus storage space requirements was required and completed. In the end, more space was needed for personnel and the overall storage space was reduced by 30% without decreasing what they stored or losing easy access to any individual item.
What started as a simple equation of space and storage, quickly changed to include alternative options and unique design solutions to fit the changing landscape of the project. No single solution was going to work, multiple divisions of NOS became involved and each division in turn had to ask questions and listen carefully to understand their role and the challenge they were asked to address.
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
One department was unable to compress all of their sensitive financial documents into the designated storage area due to a ceiling height change. The solution: Change from a binder system to side tab folder system to reduce the height and maintain the total number of files. In the end there was no loss of file capacity even with a large loss of physical space.
Among the many areas impacted by the renovation was a library which housed international publications and historic documents. In order to provide options, an intensive analysis of the current collection was necessary. All departments within NOS participated in the physical inventory, collaborating with the staff, and presenting solutions.
The new 7,500 sf library was designed 100% by NOS and each section of shelving was minutely mapped for document placement. The value achieved: Historic and valuable publications held their position within a library which represents important global history and the thoughts of the brilliant minds that created that history.
These solutions created new and better business practices, and everything fit!
The goal was to provide the space needed to store and easily access all files and binders and this was accomplished. Beyond the initial goal, new systems were instituted that were not foreseen from the outset, and the way the client manages their files and documents has completely changed for the better. A new level of security was placed on the most important files through RFID tracking and peace of mind exists in those departments today.
“This was a fantastic project to work on mainly because of the opportunity to bring the different core competencies of the NOS teams together to create a one source solution. The NOS teams (NOS, AIS & PSS) were able to work together towards a common goal. The end result was that our client was extremely satisfied. “ ~ Denise Cruz, Storage Specialist
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