The manufacturing firm first considered digitizing its documents after a leaked water pipe caused a flood. While it didn’t do much damage, it left finance department with all important paper work of invoices and client papers and drawings, feeling like they’d dodged a bullet. So the firm started a project to digitize its records.

First, they identified all the necessary documents they wish to digitize and keep in their premises.

Head finance wanted to look at the workflow around those documents. While a clerk record might consist of anything from 10 to a hundred pages, its contents were fairly consistent. If they invoices there would be a certain group of documents. If they were drawings of machines, there’d be another set, and so on. There might also be HR documents related to employees. Then there was the process of where the documents came from, where they went, and who got them at various points along the way.

The firm also scanned its legacy records. In the process, the firm was able to get two offices back — the former “active file room” and “inactive file room.” In addition, the firm also calculated its savings, ranging from INR15,000 to pay for a worker whose primary role was to take file folders around to people, down to INR 500 annually for supplies such as staples, binders, and paper clips. The firm also cut its paper costs by 40 percent, head finance says.

The biggest savings, amounting to more than INR 7,000, was in time, head finance says. Assistants who used to have to perform elaborate rituals of filling out and filing papers could now perform a much more streamlined process online. In addition, when records were on paper, they were “held hostage” by whichever desk they happened to be on, because nobody else could look at them, she says. Now, processes can be performed in parallel because the data remains available.

As well as saving time and money, the workflow process means that staff can now spend more time doing their real job — spending time in processing the invoices and releasing the payments or keeping the books, head finance says. Previously, as much as 20% of the staffers’ time was devoted to dealing with paper, she says. Staff now also has easier access to their own records.

What’s next? The director of the company has plans to move out their physical copies of the records to our warehouse and have access to their digital version on desktops. This will help them to save on additional space these files are occupying at their office at prime location and save time search copies in the entire bunch of files.