Archival File Storage
With the ever increasing cost of office space and the advent of the current economic down turn, never has there been a more oportune time to consider savings which can be achieved by reducing your office footprint or at least making sure that it does not expand. When you concentrate on the fact that the room or rooms which have been converted from general office space to file storage rooms cost the exact same amount per square foot as your office space it is difficult to justify the continued use of onsite office storage for all but current files.
The chart below shows the typical use of a file over its life time and how often it is expected to be retrieved over that lifetime. This applies no matter what the size of the company involved is with the exception that for a smaller firm it is more likely that a higher percentage of its total property footprint will be taken up by physical file storage space. This means that a higher return can be achieved by implementing an off site storage policy and freeing or reducing high cost office space.
Once the decision to store you files offsite has been made the question arises as to how you would like these files to be managed. There are several options and there are benefits and disadvantages to each of them.
Hire your own self storage unit fit out with appropriate shelving and manage the files as an extension of your own office. This ensures only authorised company personel can access the records. The company and its staff is responsible for ensuring all records of file movements to and from the office are properly accounted for. Mini Storage offers a range of Self storage units which can be shelved out to each clients specifications . These units start as little as one sq meter and increase in size all the way up to fifty sq meters which gives clients the option of storing anything from four bankers boxes to many thousands. As this is a self storage option it is important that it is approached and carried out in an organised manor. A good general rule is that your policies and procedures should closely mirror those of your inhouse filing system and keep the KISS (keep it simple s….. ) principal at the forefront of your mind.
Hire a serviced offering where all boxes of files stored offsite are barcoded and stored in a large communal warehouse. The tracking and integrity of the files is now the responsibility of the service provider. Information security is ensured by the fact of the number of boxes of files stored and no operator knows hte contents of any box as they are all tracked by barcodes. Delivery and collection is to an authorised person in the company. Due to the quantity of boxes stored in this scinario it is a chaeper option than storing in your own unit, however the retrieval and delivery charges can be expensive for moving small amount of files. Space is charged by the box which ensures you only pay for the number of boxes you have in storage.
Mini Storage Self Storage facilities can now offer both options from our facilities in Cork. Uniquely a combination service can also be offered where by the barcoded tracking system is used to track the files in your own dedicated Self Storage unit.
The following general rules should be applied when implementing an offsite storage policy.
- Decide and record exactly when files should be put to offsite storage. This can be done on a weekly bases or as little as a yearly bases depending upon the volume of files involved and how quickly they reach their Archive state. (Less than 10% of those files are ever retrieved, and usually this is within six months of the file being created.)
- Record the policy and assign responsibility within the firm for its implementation.
- Use bankers boxes or similar archive boxes and number the box in sequence and record the contents on the exterior of the boxes, and record the box numbers and their contents on a data base within the office. The reason for numbering the boxes is that if they are filed in numerical order then it is easier to retreive them when the time arrives./li>7
- Determine a retension policy for the files and record this on the data base. This is usually a future date at which time it is determined that the files will be of no further practical use and should be destroyed. The selection of this date is usually determined by statutory, legal or usage requirements.
- Most importantly determine a policy for the retrieval of files from off site storage. Questions to consider are should the entire bankers box be retrieved or should the individual file be retrieved and who is responsible for the file back at the office and what is the policy for that file being returned to offsite storage. This choice will depend on the individual circumstances of each firm, and once determined either approach will work well as long as it is followed consistantly.
- Check to see if your offsite storage facility has an indoor offloading area which makes it convenient for your staff and the integrity of your files.
There are significant advantages to using the above approach.
- You immediately free up valuable office space and declutter your office giving a better impression to your clients and staff.
- You maintain direct control of your archival information which is often the lifeblood of any organisation.
- You pay only for what you need. You can upsize or down size your units as you desire as there are no longterm lease commitments.
- You are not limited to just storing files, the units can also be used for excess stock, furniture, stationary etc,. Though if this is a long term requirement I would recomend using separate units within the same storage facility.
- The units are all individually alarmed and you have the key, so no unauthorised access to your information is possible.
Our experienced staff would be delighted to assist in any way to ensure you implement the policy that is right for your firm. We have facilities in Cork which are conveniently located.