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Business Records— Management and Storage with IBC

There are a number of assumptions that are made in writing this treatise. The first is that most small to mid-size firms do not have a dedicated Records Manager. This duty is one that develops as a NEED, only after there is an accumulation of a certain number of records, whether in the form of paper, film, or magnetic media. Most assuredly, this duty becomes a reality the first time a record has become lost or misplaced. The first person to have this assigned duty assumes it, generally, as an additional duty, and on a part-time basis. After all, the role of managing the firm’s records, in the beginning, is no big thing.

Accumulation of documents is another assumption and is part of our culture; business or personal. In the corporate world, an indexing scheme becomes a necessary means of assuring a successful retrieval process. Tied closely to the retrieval process is the correct re-filing process. There is no substitute for good discipline in these processes. A lack of methodical action here assures missing documents in the future.

It is just a matter of time before the firm faces a minor trade-off. Growth has occurred; more space is needed for new employees to help the firm continue this wondrous growth. A portion of the records is seldom used, now. A decision is made to seek an out-of-the-way spot for those older, little used, but still necessary records. Likely spots considered are typically, an attic room, a little used room in the basement, a cubicle in a mini-warehouse, or even the corner in the garage. Once in a while, someone is aware of the existence of a local Commercial Records Center and a Records Management Consultant.

Assume the growth of records continues. The number of instances of lost or misplaced documents increases. Something has to be done. The Band-Aid® approach is losing favor. The firm must now consider a new approach. It is out of room for further growth of records. A merger or an acquisition could further complicate the entire records management function. Change of personnel associated with records further complicates a function that historically had not been a problem. Not only does the firm have to address itself to making sense of the records management function, it has to consider getting rid of some really old records. Perhaps some of the early business decisions could be damaging if a lawsuit should occur. What to save? What to keep? This has become far more complex than initially thought.

A wise decision is made to finally get good control over the Records Management function. After all, it is more functional as a reference library than the Data Processing function, but until now, somewhat like an ugly stepchild. The safety of a firm’s operational database is also protected by periodic rotation of a complete set of back-up discs or tapes held in a dustproof, water-tight, air-tight case, which is opened only at the client’s facility.

Let us now consider the benefits of having the services of a professional Records Management Consultant. The realization is that the firm is not just renting storage space. IT IS IN ATTAINING SECURITY, SERVICE, AND PEACE OF MIND. These three factors are never appreciated until vermin, fire, or water have damaged the records in ill-suited facilities.

These points are vital in the selection process of a Commercial Records Center.

    Storage     Other Considerations  
Physical location of a facility
Retrieval procedures  
Construction characteristics
Insurance and risk factors  
Fire protection
Cost of Services  
Water damage protection
Vermin protection
Business philosophy  
Physical security
Continual improvement policies  
Types of media managed
Satisfied customers  
Environmental considerations
Future partnering and consulting  


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