Many people in favor of reducing paper consumption in schools mention environmental benefits as the main advantage.
Environmental benefits of paper reduction are excellent motivators in their own right. Yet, major cost savings result from regaining valuable floor space no longer needed for long rows of filing cabinets. This significant benefit should also be considered.
The next time you drive by a school, imagine how much of that space is still dedicated to storing paper records in file cabinets. The vast majority of those records, many of which must be kept for years, could be stored electronically in a document management system that uses scanning software.
Some examples of the many records schools are required to keep for all students, faculty and staff.
- Recruitment and enrollment forms
- Performance records (grades)
- Disciplinary records
- Transfer documents
- Special education records
- Financial aid documents
- Payroll, A/R and A/P records
- Retired staff records
- Meeting minutes
- Accreditation documents
Document management solutions become more and more attractive as schools continue to increase spending on paper, off-site paper storage, and transportation of paper documents around school districts each year. Digital storage capacity has increased so dramatically over the last decade that some of the numbers visually boggle the mind. They’re that good.
An average 1Tb hard drive can hold over 1,250 file cabinets full of documents (i.e., text, images, email, documents, etc.).
These little hard drives take up far less floor space than a single file cabinet. Considering the typical school may house the equivalent of an entire classroom full of file cabinets on-site in addition to many times that number in off-site storage, the combination of document management and scanning software offers tremendous potential for space and cost savings.
Scanning Software Helps Schools Maintain Records Long-Term
Many schools fail to include the real cost of managing paper documents when evaluating document management systems over the long-term. Some of these ‘paper management’ costs include copying, delivery, handling, storage, and retrieval of that paper, with copying costs at 33% and distribution costs at 56%, according to one California study. In addition, staff members also waste many labor hours, on an annual basis, retrieving documents, looking for misfiled documents and re-creating documents that were lost.
Used consistently and together with a good electronic document management system, scanning software can yield some surprising immediate benefits.
- Valuable floor space can be reclaimed, eliminating or delaying the need for expensive expansion projects.
- Millions of documents can be scanned annually, eliminating the space and manual handling associated with paper documents.
- Printing costs for forms can be virtually eliminated, saving tens of thousands of dollars annually per school.
- Faculty and staff can view important documents immediately on district networks instead of waiting for physical documents to be transported around the district.
As US paper consumption steadily increases, schools will play a major part in the reduction of paper-dependency through the use of document management systems and scanning software. CEO Image Systems and Image Executive will be there every step of the way.