Exposing the Hidden Costs of Onsite Document Archive Storage

The Importance of Archival Records Management

Cost-cutting is a strategy that many businesses undertake when sales are slow, especially now in the current UK climate. Cutting costs can help to keep cash flow positive while sales get back to normal.

Storing reams of documents in onsite storage is rapidly becoming outdated. The waste of valuable space is just one aspect of the drain on resources, but the true cost is often hidden. One of our clients recently took a cost analysis to look at the true cost to store their archive onsite and the results were surprising. The final calculations were that each lever arch file costs around £16.00 in raw materials (folder, paper, printing, etc.) and it attracted 2.5 hours of staff labour to compile, handle, and access in the first 12 months of its life. Storage costs were estimated as 1 lever arch file costing £5.36 per year to hold in their office in central Birmingham. After 12 months the lever arch files were boxed up, an inventory list created and the boxes disappeared off into the archive rooms, incurring the most cost in wasted space and staff time.

2022 saw this organisation looking to move premises as they have run out of room. Following our site survey, we pointed out that 21% of their current office footprint is taken up with storing paper documents, and many of their processes can be dramatically improved. The result is that they have shelved the plan to move for 12 months to see what impact our combination of offsite document storage, document scanning, and cloud-based document management can deliver.

It’s impossible to know the exact rent that businesses can be expected to pay for office space in every UK location. Still, for example, in London City, according to Statista 2020, it is around £75.00 per square foot annually. One 4-drawer cabinet occupies about 9 square feet of floor space; therefore, it will cost a business £675.00 per year, every year. How many filing cabinets do you have in your office, and how much are these costing you? Digital access to documents means you no longer have to pay ongoing storage fees to retain your paper archives.

Outsourcing your document management to a reputable provider like Storetec will be more cost-efficient than investing in equipment, software, and workforce. Storetec uses a range of specialist scanning equipment that generate high-quality images and keep costs down due to their speed. A perfect home for the scanned information would be a document management system as this delivers instant searchability and 24-hour access, perfect for hybrid working. Having a well-structured cloud-based document management system eradicates the need for your organisation to rely on paper records which typically take up valuable office space. Your supplier can duplicate your physical filing structure into the cloud, making your documents even easier and quicker to find.

However, for many businesses, document scanning may not be the right approach for all of the paperwork – after all, if the likelihood is you’ll never need to look at the document again, why scan it? Physical document storage still has a part to play in our modern business world, but only if used in conjunction with a wider document management strategy. The out-of-site, out-of-mind, paper dumping grounds of the past need to be avoided at all costs.

Takes up unnecessary office space

Instantly get back your office space which is always at a premium with every business. Archiving your paper documents offsite frees up your valuable office space and makes your organisation more agile. With the increase in hybrid working and hot-desking, there may be an opportunity to even downsize office space requirements.

Inefficient access to information

If you need urgent access to information, do you know exactly where it’s stored? In most cases, you just need to see the information on your documents to answer that important question or query. With Storetec’s Scan-on-Demand service, you’ll have the stored documents required scanned or returned electronically within a few hours which gives you all the benefits of document scanning without the upfront digitisation costs. It also means you don’t have to worry about having an office full of archive boxes again.

GDPR compliance is a challenge

Many businesses struggle to manage GDPR compliance when storing documents onsite. They must ensure there are robust security measures to safeguard against unauthorised access, breaches, or data loss, and manage retention periods and subject access requests within a short timeframe. This is difficult with vast archives and can sometimes require an internal team. Reputable offsite storage providers will provide you access to a cloud-based record management system. From this system, you can run reports to identify records in storage that have passed their retention periods and request for them to be destroyed. Storetec is equipped with internal and external CCTV, monitored fire and intruder alarms and restricted access control, to name a few.

Paper is at higher risk of deterioration

Keeping a paper archive can also be expensive to ensure long-term document protection and preservation. Paper documents are especially vulnerable to permanent damage from fire and flooding etc. As a result, archiving should take place in a secure offsite facility. At Storetec, all files are stored on high-density shelving units protecting them from dust and moisture. The warehouse is a climate-controlled environment and has fire detection and prevention systems, so you can be reassured that your archive is in good hands.

To learn more about how Storetec can help you save money, contact us today.