In-House Document Management: Cheaper and Easier Than You Think

Bankers BoxBack in 1917, the first Bankers Box® turned office recordkeeping on its head.  As the name suggests it was designed for bankers to manage bank records.  Soon, however, it was adopted by businesses of all kinds to organize and archive records.

Fast forward 95 years. The world has changed, but a few things haven’t. One thing that hasn’t changed is the need to manage documents and records in your business.

In fact, records management has become an even bigger concern in our modern world. For example, litigation is a fact of life in business today.  Litigation concerns have upped the ante when it comes to record retention – having a solid policy for retaining and destroying records and being able to accurately retrieve them if required, is important.  And that’s just one example.

Yet too many businesses either don’t have a good document management solution and as a result experience uncertainty due to poorly organized records — or they are outsourcing because of a faulty perception it’s a big headache to deal with records in-house.

And that’s regrettable. Why?  Because managing records through an in-house solution is doable and has advantages – it’s not hard, it can save money, it’s convenient, it’s more secure, and it gets you organized.

Managing records in-house is well within the capability of small and medium sized businesses.

Fellowes, a company recognized for its commitment to innovation in the workplace, recently surveyed decision-makers at small and medium sized businesses with 1 – 1,000 employees.  That survey shows the advantages of managing records in-house, as follows:

1)     Save money – 52% of those who use an in-house document management system say it has saved them money / cut expenses.  Not only that, 16% of those say an in-house document management system has had a “strongly positive impact” on operational expenses.

In fact, cost is a key driver for switching to an in-house solution.  Almost 65% of those switching to an in-house document management solution say that costs of off-site document storage, shredding, binding and laminating were a factor in their decision.

To get a quick snapshot of your company’s potential savings, try the Fellowes Savings Analyzer at

2)     No more unexpected and hidden costs– One of the issues faced by businesses using off-site document storage and retrieval are unexpected  fees than can drive up the overall cost of off-site records management.  On top of basic storage and retrieval fees, there are extra charges for fuel surcharges, odd-size boxes, re-boxing, rush retrieval, rush delivery, third party delivery, storage minimums, handling charges, program fees, archival destruction/shredding, detailed billing, and photocopying charges. An in-house solution can minimize or eliminate all of these costs. This chart shows the negative impact of so many fees:

Fellowes Document Management Survey of Small Businesses

Click to see larger chart image

3)     Retrieval times are faster – Time is money in business.  Only 14% said that their off-site document management vendor retrieved documents the same day as requested.  Almost a third say it takes three days or more to retrieve records – sometimes more than a week!  With an in-house solution, speed is within your control.

4)     Efficiency and convenience improve – According to the survey, 74% say that going to off-site document management has had no impact or a negative impact on efficiency.

Fellowes created the Savings Analyzer to calculate your savings potential.  It takes as little as 60 seconds to run the calculator – try it and see.


7 Reactions

  1. How much of this document management would be superfluous if there weren’t so many government regulations and lawsuits?

    • Anita Campbell

      Hi Robert, There’s some truth to what you say, for sure! HIPAA, for example, imposes some draconian record keeping requirements on businesses when it comes to medical records. FDA, EPA and IRS are also big drivers behind the need to keep records.

      Litigation, as the piece mentions, is another huge issue. If you get hit with a subpoena or discovery request, you need to be assured that you can accurately and easily retrieve those records. Too many businesses unnecessarily get into trouble during litigation due simply to not having a good document retention policy and document management system to back it up.

      But as much as we hate regulation, it’s a fact of life and we have to deal with it in our businesses.

      - Anita

  2. Valid point, Robert! The government brings in way too much red tape.

  3. I would love to be able to do that!

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