As your business grows, you need to find ways to be more productive, streamline processes, and generate healthy profit margins. No matter your industry, efficiency throughout your entire operation is of the utmost importance to achieve those three goals. In today’s digital landscape, you need technologies to help you get to such a level of efficiency, and document management is the place to start.
A document management system is software that can be implemented into your business on-premise or in the cloud, and it helps you migrate away from paper-based processes. Manual methods of managing documents — even if they are partially electronic — are holding you back from seeing efficiency levels that can help you scale and maintain a competitive edge. Here are three ways you can improve efficiency throughout your business with document management.
Do More, Faster With Automation
The proof is in the statistics: manual document management processes waste everyone’s time. Wakefield Research surveyed 1,000 U.S. office professionals on behalf of Elastic and found that 54% of them “agreed that they spend more time searching for documents and files they need than responding to emails and messages.”
In today’s fast-paced, digital business era, inefficiency like that is unacceptable. Document management technology addresses this challenge by introducing automation into your processes that involve documentation. It brings your paperwork into a centralized, digital hub so you can forgo many of the time-consuming, manual tasks involved in processing physical paper.
You will streamline the following:
- Getting approvals on files — No need to wait for the paper to be manually moved from desk to desk.
- Review processes — You can have files routed to the appropriate parties quickly.
- Making changes — Version tracking makes it clear who made what change and when so revisions are speedy.
- Distributing documents — You no longer have to spend time printing out files and mailing them or physically distributing them.
- Finding documents — Without filing cabinets to sift through, your document retrieval process will be much more efficient.
- Storing documents — Document management securely stows your files in one platform.
- Creating documents — You can set templates in your system for easy file creation.
You might think you don’t need document management because you have already shed most paper-based processes in favor of electronic storage. But are your employees hosting files locally on their computers? Is information siloed with individuals? Is the only way to access a document to have it sent through email attachments? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then you need the centralized efficiency of a document management system.
You’ll also cut costs using document management — and not just in the form of labor hours from introducing automation. With no need to buy paper, ink, stamps, filing cabinets, copiers, or other physical equipment, you’ll save on office space and materials.
Save Time on Backtracking and Fixing Errors
One of the greatest inefficiencies in any document-based process is fixing mistakes, and if you are using paper or methods that don’t track versions, this process gets even more time-consuming. Automation in document management means fewer humans need to touch a given document in a workflow — reducing the chance for error. The more people interact with a file, the greater the risk of mistakes.
Of course, revisions will always be required in some capacity. A document management system delivers version control so you can clearly see the revision history, and you’ll also have a full audit trail to stay compliant. Document management greatly reduces the time needed to prepare for an audit. Look for a system that helps you meet and exceed regulatory compliance requirements such as FDA, ISO, GxP, OSHA, and SQF.
The solution also preserves data integrity and the security of your documents — reducing risks from data loss as well. With paper or other forms of manual document management, you’re always at risk for file loss or damage, which can result in time-wasting efforts to retrieve data. A document management system keeps all files safe and provides a backup should your business experience a breach or other disaster. You can also set permissions in the system to ensure only the right parties gain access to the correct documents.
Support Project Efficiency Across Departments
The importance of accessing documents with mobility cannot be understated in today’s remote and hybrid-remote work era. Even if your entire business has returned to in-office life, your customers and partners will expect a level of digital document access — and most expect it through mobile devices. A document management system allows employees and relevant parties to securely access files from anywhere on any device.
This level of access improves efficiency throughout your business and with external parties. Your employees can better collaborate on projects because they’ll have centralized access to files. They won’t waste time sending documents to each other over email or other apps to get work done. You’ll see improved productivity simply from the ability to access information more easily. You’ll also expedite customer-facing projects to close deals faster, sign paperwork quickly, and ultimately drive greater revenue.
An added bonus is the breaking down of information silos in your business. It is inefficient to have certain knowledge siloed with one or a few individuals who may be the only ones to keep specific files or data. A document management system broadens access to information so your entire team can access the data they need to do their best work.
Document Management Systems Are a Must in a Modern Business Environment
Today’s business landscape grows more competitive by the day, and businesses of all sizes need to discover efficiencies everywhere possible to stay scalable and relevant. While automation tools abound, document management systems are the smartest place to start digitizing processes. From delivering time savings to cost efficiency to higher levels of productivity and security, they can transform your operations. Look for a document management system that is easy to use and implement, has a dedicated support system, and offers compliance and security for your industry’s regulatory requirements.