Innovation takes time - so for small business owners it can be difficult to find enough. One way of freeing up time is to improve productivity across your business processes. A process often overlooked in small businesses is document management.
Here are five reasons why small businesses need a document management system like M-Files:
Rapid Document Retrieval
Typical comments that we hear from users trying to retrieve important files:
- What folder was it saved in?
- Which one is approved for publication?
- Where did I save that quote?
- What company was this meant for?
- Did I actually save it?
How much time does an average employee spend searching for a document? Because if your business averages 1 hour per day per employee simply retrieving documents then that loss in productivity is costing you big dollars annually. Suppose you have 5 employees averaging $30 per hour. That's $7800 annually in just productivity loss alone!
A quality document management system is managed with metadata where the documents are tagged with key information (like Facebook photos tagged with a persons name) - Information which can be used to filter, sort and then search for your documents. I'm of the belief that searching is a method of last resort. If you’re not having to search, retrieval will be fast - almost instantaneous. This will save you time and dollars.
Document Creation Consistency
Have you ever looked in a shared folder for a file, found nothing, then proceeded to make a new document only to find out later that is was already there in another folder location? Suppose a colleague stored a quote in the folder 'X:\Sales\Quotes\CompanyXYZ'. You come in the next day and look in 'X:\Companies\CompanyXYZ\Quotes' and assume a quote has not been created. This is a surprisingly common blunder in workplaces - This issue will cost you the time duplicating a file unnecessarily.
By having a system handle the document creation process and using metadata to eliminate folders - document duplication should become a thing of the past.
Filing based on Project, Product or Customer
This is where a DMS can show its real power. I mentioned tagging documents with metadata earlier on - with documents tagged and categorized you can now have the flexibility to sort & filter what you have.
Suppose you have a quote for 'Company XYZ' and you tag it with the following:
- Company Name
- Site Contact
- Document Date
- Date Created
- Created By
You can now retrieve that quote by knowing the creation date, the site name or site contact - always retrieving the same document - The sky is the limit.
No Need for Physical Storage
Once you have a system in place you can then do away with those shipping containers, storage sheds or filing cabinets - all you need to do is capture your physical files through scanning and your historical data is electronically archived. No need to rent an external storage location or waste time send staff out to retrieve an old file - more dollars saved.
Ability to Use Business Specific Workflows
It makes sense to manage your workflows electronically - just like documents.
You probably already have a method for producing your product or service. These methods can be incorporated into a document management workflow. For example if you were an engineering firm that produces reports for clients based on a particular work then this could be reproduced through a workflow. A quote could be raised, accepted, and a new job defined. A series of reports may follow that need supervisors to approve prior to release.
Many processes can be automated such as assigning tasks to be completed by staff or sending notifications.
On a final note, don't forget about the value add benefits such as Business Intelligence or CRM integration that many products offer. For some businesses, such as law practices, there are also legal obligations to comply with. All businesses - even small businesses - can achieve significant Return on Investment (ROI) if a deployment is done right. If you would like to know more about how document management can help your small business or even trial the M-Files document management software, please contact us today. We're happy to assist!