The Real Costs of Lost Documents, from Konica Minolta

by Dan Termale

There have been times when you’ve lost an important document, receipt, or file. It happens. You search for it, retrace your steps and, as a last resort, try to recreate it. The chance of human error is always present when you’re dealing with paper. Sometimes you lose a digital document or file as well. If you don’t have some type of content management system or program where you can centrally store all of your digital files in, then the possibility of losing digital files is a risk, too. I’m sure no one likes to admit that these mishaps happen, but surely they do.

Think back to how much time you’ve spent searching for a document in your filing cabinets in that storage room or the time you spent trying to get a new copy of the document you couldn’t find? It can all add up to a significant cost to your organization. There must be a better way to manage your documents and information, right? There’s always room for improvement and we shouldn’t be limited to outdated business processes just because it’s the way it has always been done.

Here are some paper facts on the average organization:

  • On average, the cost in labor to file one document is $20.
  • Between 2% and 5% of an organization’s files are lost or misfiled on any given day.
  • Companies on average spend $120 in labor to find one misfiled document.
  • One out of every 20 documents is lost.
  • Approximately 25 hours are spent recreating each lost document.
  • Approximately 10-12% of documents are not found on the first attempt.
  • 400 is the number of hours per year the average employee spends searching for documents.
  • More than 70% of today’s businesses would fail within three weeks if they suffered a catastrophic loss of paper-based records due to fire or flood.
  • It takes an average of 10 minutes per paper document to retrieve, copy and re-file.
  • The average document is copied 19 times.
  • The average worker makes 61 trips to the fax machine, copier and printer.
  • 60% of employee time is spent working with documents.
  • 90% of a business’s information is in documents.
  • Each four-drawer file cabinet holds an average of 10-12,000 documents, takes up 9 square feet of floor space and cost $1,500 per year.

– Sources: Gartner Group, AIIM, US Dept of Labor, Imaging Magazine, Coopers & Lybrand

ECMSo what can be done about it? Firstly, you need to have some type of enterprise content management(ECM) system and strategy for managing your data and information. The amount of information our businesses handle these days is incredible; you need to be able to scan, store and retrieve the information that you need, when you need it. Put a high emphasis on scanning your paper documents to digital to store them in a safe and accessible system. The possibilities are endless.

Automate your paper-heavy, manual business processes with digital workflows. Enable your employees and customers the ability to access the information they need while on the road through their mobile devices and tablets. Don’t let another year go by on your paper-based processes. Don’t lose another document and improve the efficiency of your employees by giving them the tools to succeed.

Now you see that losing a document is much greater than the cost of not filling it or capturing the information correctly. It’s a matter of wasted time, money, energy and the risk of lawsuits. It’s extremely important that we protect and manage our documents and information responsibly and efficiently. If you need some guidance and insight on how to improve your processes or how to start new ones, then Contact Us. We would love to help.