Records Management Blog | Practical Records Management

Records Management Vendor Selection Guidelines

Posted by Michael Thomas on Wed, Jun 09, 2010 @ 11:16 AM

 

The amount of Paper in the average office continues to grow by 20% to 30% each year, and Offsite Document Storage is often required for companies that have either outgrown their existing space, or have too many files to efficiently manage in their current configuration.  No matter what type of company you have it is increasingly important to adequately plan for the proper storage, retrieval and purging of documents.  Now is the best time to consider putting a good records management policy into effect, and for most small and mid-sized firms, a good records management policy should include the use of a qualified records management partner. But how do you know who to work with?

Choosing a partner for Offsite Document Storage should be based on several important factors including:

  • Experience with records management - Experience can make a world of difference when choosing a Partner. Working with the right company can help you avoid many of the common challenges and pitfalls experienced during a Record Storage Project.
  • Knowledge of business practices - The most effective Records Management companies will be able to understand not only the business of storing and retrieving information, but will also understand how you will use this information on an ongoing basis. This helps to make the relationship work more seamlessly. Keep in mind that the Partner you choose will be an extension of your resources - they're going to have all of your information!
  • Ability to provide prompt service - There seems to be a predisposition to slow, plodding service for many Record Storage Companies, and there really is no need for this. Next-Business Day Services should be the standard, and it's important to inquire about Scan-On-Demand services to ensure that you can access your files within hours if and when such a requirement arises.
  • Affordable pricing - One of the most common complaints about Record and Document Storage Partners from Clients is the feeling of being Nickel-and-Dimed for every little service. Take caution to look not only at the price but the measure of quantity. For example, some firms actually charge based on the Cubic Foot, not just on the price per Box. Also, be aware of any ancillary charges such as Fuel Surcharges or Account Administration Fees. Both of these are a sure sign of a company that doesn't really have your best interest in mind and is simply looking to pass along any cost that they can to you, the client.
  • Contract Flexibility - Long-Term Contracts can mean big trouble, so be careful when considering them. Record Storage Contracts often have Permanent Removal Charges or Hostage Fees built into them and can be very difficult to break. To make matters worse these contracts many times will also have Automatic-Renewal Clauses which make them difficult to ever escape. Be careful if you see these clauses - after all, shouldn't your Records Management Partner have to earn your business with quality service like everyone else?

What to Expect from your Records Management Partner

A records management partner should work with you to determine your records management needs and not be able to make a recommendation immediately. Beware of anyone who tells you that they understand what you need before you even explain your situation.  Every company is different and their needs vary.  There is no one plan that is right for every business.  A good records management partner will help find the solutions that will make sense for your company.  They will help find not only short-term solution for document storage but also a future plan to keep your company running smoothly for years to come.

Tags: Document Management, File Storage, Records Management