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What Now? Next Steps After Digitizing Your Documents

What Now? Next Steps After Digitizing Your Documents

Congratulations! Your business has embarked on the digitization journey, making your paper documents shareable and secure. Your off-site employees have remote access to the digital versions of your paper documents, and your risk management team can stop worrying about the security risks of confidential information in multiple paper copies. These benefits translate into productivity improvements and reduced costs – a great result from a smart business decision.

But there is another financial benefit still on the table, requiring two more steps.

The first step of any digitization project is an assessment of the types of paper documents your business has in file cabinets and archived storage, and setting priorities for document scanning. Once the documents go through the digitization process – scanning, QC, and exporting to a digital document database – you may wonder what’s next for the original paper documents.

  1. Reassessment – You already defined the types of documents to digitize, based on document accessibility needs and security concerns. After digitizing, the paper documents go through a second assessment. Working with your digitization service provider, this reassessment helps you identify documents that you can dispose of, based on age, compliance needs, or other criteria.
  2. Secure disposal – Shred the accumulated boxes and stacks and files of scanned paper documents. With a new quality-assured managed database of imaged documents, you can let it go, just like Elsa in “Frozen.” A service provider who has taken you through the digitization process will be able to assist you with a secure shredding process, safeguarding sensitive information from accidentally falling into the wrong hands, and ensuring any compliance regulations that may apply.

And the result of these extra steps? More space. For every 10 filing cabinets of paper you digitize and shred, you gain almost 100 square feet at no extra cost. That space can be put to more productive uses – R&D, sales, manufacturing, customer interactions, and so on. And your remaining documents can be stored in space-efficient mobile filing cabinets, yielding even more space.

An extra bonus: Document disposal up-levels your sustainability rating. Shredded documents are securely transported to a paper recycling center where the ink is stripped off and the shredded paper is pulped. The pulp is then recycled into new paper.

In sum, digitized documents are shareable, secure, space-saving, and sustainable. Take steps to speak to a knowledgeable digitization professional and get all the benefits your business deserves.


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The Hybrid Office: Electronics Lockers Keep Data and Devices Secure

The Hybrid Office: Electronics Lockers Keep Data and Devices Secure

Your business has invested heavily in information: not just the information that comes out of R&D, but in the equipment to create, use, and store that information. When all that valuable data was kept in one system, under one roof, data security was relatively easy, and hardware and software was easy to maintain. But now, with the advent of the hybrid workplace, data and data equipment is constantly on the move, traveling off-site to home offices and returning periodically to share with teams. That off-site usage increases the risk of data loss.

Adding to the security challenge is the use of employees’ personal devices in work settings. In settings where sensitive information is in use – classified documents or patient records, for example  – there is a growing trend to ban smart phones from areas where confidentiality could be compromised. It’s understandable that the information needs to be protected, but it’s hard for any of us to feel comfortable letting go of our phones.

Smart technology comes to the rescue here. Electronics lockers provide safe storage for devices, whether they’re personal or company-owned. If an IT manager has loaded data files on a company laptop for a staffer’s off-site use, the laptop can be securely stored in a locker and picked up by the authorized staffer at any time, even after hours. If camera-phones are banned from an area – a pharmaceutical research lab, for example – employees have peace of mind knowing that their phones are safe and accessible upon exit.

Electronics lockers also solve the problem of maintaining company laptops and phones used by remote staffers. Hybrid schedules don’t always mesh with IT maintenance hours, but secure electronics lockers give off-site staffers a safe place to return devices for maintenance no matter the hour or day of the week.

Some lockers provide charging points so employees always retrieve a fully charged device. Device-usage tracking is supported by some lockers, assisting with an organization’s asset management. And if aesthetics is a consideration, lockers can be customized with brand-complimentary exteriors.

The hybrid workplace is very much a work in progress. Organizations are working to build new corporate cultures and new operational protocols that will ultimately make the new workstyle a more productive and profitable way to do business. Like document digitization and RFID asset management, electronics lockers are part of the hybrid workplace change equation.


Photo © fizkes / AdobeStock

RFID: Keep Your Reusable Containers Coming Back for More

RFID: Keep Your Reusable Containers Coming Back for More

Whether your enterprise uses bins, pallets, racks, crates, drums, or shipping containers, you know there are sound economic reasons for investing in reusable containers. Reusable containers are far more economical than disposable ones over their useful lifetime. They are tangible assets, just like manufacturing equipment or raw materials. Unfortunately, the reusable containers of many businesses go missing in the supply chain, at quite a cost.

By definition, tangible assets of all kinds are reusable, with a usable-life calculation that includes depreciation, future replacement cost, maintenance and safety costs, and salvage value. When an asset goes missing, you’re losing money beyond the initial cost. You’re also losing the value of the full depreciation as well as paying for the cost of replacement. Your finances may have been based on replacement costs over a number of months or years, and suddenly you’re paying out significant sums to replace assets prematurely.

Losing reusable containers before they have reached the end of their useful life has a direct negative impact on your business’s finances. The Automotive Industry Action Group ( estimated the cost of replacing missing reusable containers at $750 million annually, in U.S. auto manufacturing alone. Plastic pallet theft costs businesses approximately $500 million a year.

It pays to keep track of your reusable containers.

But manually tracking reusable containers can cost your operations even more money. Manual tracking – paper logs, checking out and checking back in, tracking missing items through all possible locations – is labor-intensive and error-prone.

RFID is the technology solution that more and more enterprises are using to manage their reusable containers. Once considered economically viable only for large operations, today’s RFID systems are cost-effective for the majority of small businesses. The cost of RFID tags has dropped, but additionally, researchers have found that inexpensive single-use tags can in fact be reused multiple times, just like the reusable containers they’re affixed to. A pilot study showed that RFID-tagged reusable agricultural containers could repeatedly travel from orchard to retailer and back again, over 1,000 miles, without tag or data loss.

Moreover, each tag’s unique identifier can be associated with information about the container’s contents. Beyond tracking the reusable container itself, the contents can be identified and tracked – beneficial data for quality assurance, compliance, and customer satisfaction, automatically delivered in the RFID system’s reports.

RFID will make sure your business doesn’t “pay the freight” for the cost of missing reusable containers. An RFID consultant can help you build a customized solution to keep track of these valuable business assets.


Photo © Svitlana / AdobeStock

Sec. 179: How to Beat Inflation and Get the Equipment You Need

Sec. 179: How to Beat Inflation and Get the Equipment You Need

There’s no denying that inflation has hit us all, businesses and consumers alike. Small business owners report year-over-year revenues are up a whopping 87%, but that increase isn’t showing up on the bottom line. Profitability has actually dropped 4%.

Some business owners are pulling in their horns, deferring improvements and delaying expansions. Others see an opportunity to upgrade their operations by taking advantage of a generous tax break: Sec. 179.

Sec. 179 allows businesses to deduct 100% of the purchase price of equipment of new or used equipment, up to $1,080,000 for Tax Year 2022. And if you spend more than the $1.08 million ceiling, you can still deduct a portion of additional equipment purchases up to $2.7 million – all in the first year of ownership.

Even better, if you finance the equipment, the entire purchase price is deductible even though you haven’t paid the full amount. In effect, the deduction puts money in your pocket.

This deduction applies to a wide range of equipment:

  • Computers, hardware peripherals, and software, including RFID systems
  • Machinery
  • Office furnishings, including file storage systems and lockers
  • Office equipment
  • Vehicles
  • Tangible personal property used in business
  • Property attached to your building that is not part of your building, such as a warehouse rack system

Here is one example of how Sec. 179 pays you back:

Sec 170 Example 2022

  • One Important Caveat: You must make sure to put the equipment into service by December 31. This means your vendors need to ensure delivery in time to let you use your new equipment on or before December 31. (NOS has a quick-ship program for many of its products, for just such fiscal-deadline situations.)

If inflation has you deferring much-needed equipment purchases, talk to your accountant about the benefits of Sec. 179. Then talk to your vendors about delivery dates that will let you put your new equipment to work by December 31. You could come out way ahead!

Lean: How Document Digitization Creates Continuous Improvement

Lean: How Document Digitization Creates Continuous Improvement

Lean management’s goal of continuous improvement is reliant upon optimal information flow. In other words, you’ve got to get the right information to the right people at the right time if you want to improve. If you’re managing an operation that keeps much of its information on paper, you might be struggling with the right people/right time/right information intersection.

A major part of the lean management philosophy is the elimination of waste, including excess wait time, excess motion, excess inventory, and overproduction. Paper documents, and the information they contain, can take time to locate (excess wait time). They generally aren’t ready to hand, and require extra physical effort to use (excess motion). And because of paper’s excess wait time and motion, people tend to generate extra copies (overproduction) which then become a storage problem, a security problem, or a sustainability problem.

Document digitization – converting paper documents to digital documents – streamlines the flow of information. Digital documents are organized into a file structure that can be searched with electronic speed. They can be accessed instantly with the touch of a screen or a keyboard. When everyone who needs the information can easily access the centrally-controlled digital documents, there’s no pressure to make multiple copies. With document digitization, there’s no more excess wait time, excess motion, or excess production.

Paper’s inherent properties run counter to the lean management philosophy. Digitization of paper documents supports lean management by reducing waste. Learn more about digitization, and get lean.


Photo © Tierney / AdobeStock