Even though companies use more electronic records than ever, some documents must have a paper record. The problem with paper records is that they are easy to lose and difficult to find. That’s why more and more companies are using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) file management systems to keep track of their paper records. RFID technology provides businesses with a way to locate documents quickly and efficiently.
Today we’ll look at how RFID technology is used in document management and a few of the reasons why businesses are turning to it in an effort to save money, improve organization and appear more professional in front of clients.
What is RFID Document Management?
The most common RFID file management system is comprised of a handheld RFID reader, RFID labels and an RFID file management database. In this type of system, RFID labels containing a unique EPC identification number are attached to your documents. Once a document has been labeled, the EPC number and the file name/identification is entered into a document management database that contains information about the document such as its name, purpose and where it’s supposed to be located. Depending on the sophistication of your RFID document management system, the database will be updated either automatically or manually.
Once the RFID label has been attached and an entry has been created for it in the file management database, you can return the file to its proper location. If the file should ever become lost, finding it is as simple as looking up the document’s EPC in the database, typing the EPC into the handheld reader, and holding down the trigger while walking around the office until the reader starts beeping. The louder the beep, the closer you are to finding the document. Unless the document has been destroyed or removed from the building, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes of to find what you’re looking for.
Now that you know what RFID file management systems do and how they work, let’s look at a couple of reasons why a company would want to use it track their documents.
Save Money via Reducing Labor Costs
According to Brother International’s “The Costs Associated with Disorganization” survey, every American office worker wastes nearly a week’s worth of work searching for lost or misplaced items every year. The vast majority of those misplaced items are paper documents.
Obviously, employers would prefer that their workers reduce the amount of time wasted looking for documents and other lost items. Enter RFID document tracking systems. RFID document tracking allows employees to find misplaced documents in a matter of minutes instead of searching for hours on end for a file that has been mistakenly placed in the wrong folder.
Bottom line: A good file management system saves your employees’ time so that they can be working instead of searching. At the end of the day, that means they get more work accomplished in fewer hours and your spend less on labor.
Improve Organization and Reduce Stress
Electronic records and databases may be the future, but we aren’t quite there yet. In today’s world, we still need paper records and authentic signatures. There will always be a need for paper records on some level. Whether it’s an account statement, artwork proofs, certain medical records or legal documents that must have a signature, there will also be a need for a file room in some businesses. And that means that records will eventually go missing or be misplaced.
Lost documents don’t only cause increased labor costs, they can also cause real damage to your company. Documents could cost hundreds of dollars to replace, or worse yet; you could lose a document that can’t be replaced at all. An RFID document management system solves those kinds of problems before they happen. Instead of stressing out wondering where that contract went, all you’ll need to do is open up your database, find the EPC, punch it into the handheld reader and go for a leisurely stroll through the office. Soon your handheld reader will start beeping and shortly thereafter, you’ll have said contract in hand.
Look Better in Front of Clients
You aren’t the only one who becomes stressed or frustrated when you lose or misplace a file. It’s stressful for your client too, but more than that, losing an important document makes you look bad in front of your client. Simply put, it’s unprofessional. For example, say you go to a doctor’s office to retrieve important test results, but when you arrive, they inform you that they lost your results and have no idea where they are. At that point, you’re most likely going to loss quite a bit of faith in your doctor. After all, he can’t even manage a decent record keeping system, how can he be trusted to manage your health.
Lost documents do not reflect well on a professional business, but with paper records, a misfiling here or there is a reality. You don’t want it to happen and it doesn’t look good when it does, but it’s still going to happen from time to time, no matter how careful you are to avoid it. Forty years ago misplacing a file might not have been that big of a deal as long as you could eventually find it, but we live a much different world than the one that existed then. Today, Facebook and online review sites highlight our faults. Angry or disappointed clients tell their friends, and not just the ones that come over for dinner. Social media allows them to broadcast to the entire community that you dropped the ball. That’s not good for business. In situations like these, a file management system would have saved you more than time and money; it would have saved your reputation too.
One thing to note is that the use of RFID should be minimized when it comes to personally identifiable data. While RFID provides convenience, improves organization and saves money, it can also be read at a distance, causing possible security issues that lead to identity theft. You can enjoy the benefits of RFID without necessarily incorporating personally identifying details, and it is this correlation between an RFID signal and a specific person that causes most security issues.