Dear K&K:  I currently work in my family’s real estate business … We have a lot of files (documents, leases, legal documents, etc.) that go back more than twenty years. I think we need to put all of these on the computer (digitize office files), and throw out what we can, though there are documents we do need to keep. Our office manager has scanned some documents and filed them onto external memory sticks, but I feel like that is inefficient. I think the main obstacle is that the office has been run the same way for the last 30+ years and while there is a recognition and desire to get more organized we do not know where to start. Any tips, advice, suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you! Documents in Detroit

Dear Documents: What you should keep in mind is that at its core, organization is about retrieval. Can you find something when you need it at a moment’s notice without stressing out? If you can, your company’s paper & digital systems are basically organized. If you can’t? You’re not really organized and potentially losing value to inefficiencies because of it.

Yes, there are more efficient ways to digitally store older documents. We’d suggest hiring a firm to digitize documents and then set you up with an electronic data management system. This way employees can search for saved documents at their computers without wasting time figuring out which memory stick it might be on. The latter method is more time-consuming. There is a reason for that saying, time is money. It’s true. The more time people waste trying to find a document that’s been digitized, the less time they have to work on things that actually produce value. All our best! Katie & Kelly

Data management companies: SAS or Iron Mountain

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