Records Management Blog | Practical Records Management

How to Switch Records Management and Storage Vendors

Posted by Michael Thomas on Tue, Jul 14, 2009 @ 01:26 PM

There are two questions that I get when I speak with someone and discuss the services that Shoreline offers, and I think it's best to put this out there so that everyone considering Shoreline can know right from the beginning. The two comments are:

"I already use XYZ Company for File Storage. Is it going to be a hassle to switch? Will it end up costing me more money?" or, "I understand why Shoreline would be a great partner for us, but I have an overly restrictive contract with a large vendor that treats me like a number, not a person. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I feel trapped with them. Can you help?"

So here's the deal: It is worth switching and we can help. You can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars each month by switching to Shoreline for your Records Management and Document Shredding Service. Many times, we can even help to get you out of your existing contract and start realizing cost savings today. Even if Shoreline can't get you out of your existing contract, there are things that YOU can do to escape the current situation and get on the right track for your Records Management and Document Storage needs. Here are some tips:

1)         Stop sending them Files - This one may seem pretty obvious, but many people don't realize that they don't have to keep sending their current vendor new boxes on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Simply select a new vendor, and start to send all of your recent files to them. Nearly all information lives on a bell curve - meaning that it's accessed shortly after it's created and shortly before it's destroyed, and rarely in between. This means that most requests for records will be handled by your chosen provider, resulting in a better experience right away. Also, this means that once the old documents reach their destruction date, you're left with no need to contact your current provider.

2)        Check the Contract, or forward it to us to have us take a look - When you sign a contract with a Record Storage Provider, most will use a Standard Storage Agreement, which has been approved by PRISM (Professional Records & Information Services Management). This is the agreement that Shoreline Uses with all of our clients. Some companies however will put in special clauses that implement automatic roll-overs, restrictions on inventory reductions, and Permanent Removal Charges, or Hostage Fees. The careful examination of your particular agreement is important here, because many older contracts may not have such provisions, and leave you with the flexibility to select the vendor of your choice, which is how Shoreline believes it should be.  

3)        Destroy/Shred Documents that you don't need - Many storage providers would be happy to have their clients store old, outdated files with them forever. The truth is that that's not an effective Records Management Strategy. You shouldn't maintain records for any longer than needed. This includes Legal Documents, Financial Records, Patient Charts, and Loan Documents. Store them as long as you need them, and no longer. You should, evaluate any inventory that is currently being stored and destroy records that are no longer needed. We encourage Clients to be careful, and to check with your company's records manager or Legal Counsel before doing so, but often, you can destroy up to 10% of your old information per year without triggering the punitive inventory reduction clause. (By the way, This "Punitive Inventory Reduction Clause" is another one of those contract provisions that I'd alluded to earlier)

In the end, switching your Document Storage Provider is typically a very easy process, and requires nothing but a few phone calls to start saving money and receiving better value and service. If you find, however, that you do have one of these restrictive contracts, you can follow these steps to help mitigate the aggravation caused by the process and start heading down the path to improved information management. Either way, Shoreline is here to help and be a partner. Check us out at http://www.shorelinerecordsmanagement.com/ for more information.

Tags: File Storage, Records Management