If it’s not broken, why fix it?

If it’s not broken, why fix it?

A proverb passed on through the ages, often used to dismiss the idea of change. Unfortunately, conventional wisdom like this ignores important facts that help you to make an informed decision. Instead you should be asking, if it could be made better, why not do it?

Paper file storage can come with extensive unseen burdens that slowly leak money out of your company, sometimes in ways you don’t see, such as wasted man hours, wasted space, wasted equipment etc. The most obvious of problems would of course be the storage costs and space consumed by filing cabinets. It’s hard to ignore a 4 foot box of steel in the corner of your room, or for some companies, an entire room full of cabinets.

But let’s look at things you might not have considered. The cost of leafing through filing cabinets to pull or replace a piece of paper in its proper location, multiplied by the number of documents pulled or placed daily by each employee, over the course of a year; time sinks that are completely avoidable.

The cost of fixing errors in paper filing; that is misfiled documents, lost documents, not to mention the loss of face that comes with having to explain to a client or customer that you need another copy of a document that’s been lost! The human factor is one of the most important to look at. Paper filing is tedious, it’s frustrating, it’s time consuming, and all these factors increase the chance of creating an error-prone work environment.

The time it takes to audit a paper filing system vs. digital is greatly drawn out and becomes not only a time burden, but a financial risk for costly error.
Finally a business needs to consider file sharing and accessibility. Any files that need to be seen by multiple people, or taken off-site when traveling will need to be pulled and copied. In a digital system, all this could be remotely accessed by anyone with proper clearances, on-site or off. If a hard copy of the document is needed it can be printed where and whenever convenient.

So let’s revise this proverb, “If it could be better, what’s stopping you?”

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