Today many organizations are faced with the challenge of expanding regulatory compliance despite shrinking budgets. When evaluating records management tools, many product features are available and often offered as tiered packaged solutions and/or as a core feature set with the option to add additional modules.
Due to the development expertise needed, advanced retention is sometimes not a part of most basic product packages. Advanced retention supports both time and event-based retention schedules, general retention schedules, automated disposition notices, citations and legal holds reference, and meta-data association with records.
While it may be tempting to opt for the lower cost option, if your organization manages records with any significant fiscal and/or legal value, consider these 5 reasons to include advanced retention in your records management solution.
1. Cost of storing paper records
Advanced retention notifies users when records are up for destruction. This allows organizations to have control and knowledge of the records that need to be kept vs. destroyed. Most paper record storage costs are calculated per box and per cubic foot.
Example: A standard legal or letter box is 1.2 cubic feet. If you have 1,000 boxes, at a monthly storage cost of 19 cents per cubic foot, the cost of storing those boxes for 5 years is $13,680. If we estimate a 30% reduction in the number of boxes due to scheduled destruction, it reduces the 5-year cost to $9,576.
Total savings: $4,104. While it does cost to destroy records, storing excess paper records is more costly in the long-term. Also as a part of a solid retention policy, it is important to identify which records will be considered official to avoid storing (and paying for) duplicate physical records.
2. Increase efficiency & productivity
When calculating labor costs, time equals money. Advanced retention provides filtering mechanisms facilitating rapid and accurate classification. The longer it takes an employee to classify a record under the proper series, the less time they spend on the operational tasks for which they are responsible within an organization.
Also, imagine the productivity possibilities – instead of searching for records that are or could be eligible for destruction, an employee can spend time learning a new skill or improving a process he or she manages.
3. Process Improvement
One, or often multiple approvals are required before a record meets its final demise. Get automatic updates that notify a pre-determined list of approvers to review records that are eligible for destruction. These notifications are not only convenient, they also establish an audit trail of legally defensible approvals.
4. Comprehensive reporting
Most records managers are required to produce and maintain disposition process reporting. Instead of spending hours sifting through rows in a spreadsheet, get instant results and spend time analyzing trends for process improvement or cost reduction.
Standard retention often lacks automatic disposition functionality and requires a manual review for records that are nearing the end of their life cycle. Reporting tools allow managers to make informed decisions, creating a data-driven environment with an emphasis on continuous improvement.
5. Avoid exposure to legal action
Perhaps the most important reason advanced retention is worth the investment is reducing exposure to legal action. When properly implemented, retention policies protect organizations from claims of improper records management practices. With advanced retention, a comprehensive audit trail is created automatically, detailing approvals, changes, and any meta-data associated with the destruction process.
Advanced retention is like an insurance policy: the upfront cost may be higher but when something happens, the cost of not having it far outweighs the initial investment. If information is requested of your organization, advanced retention tools provide verification, visibility, and compliance that could mitigate significant financial losses.