5 Ways Document Management Can Improve Efficiency
Uncovering operational solutions that increase efficiency and improve employee performance often begins with reducing the paper currently cluttering credit union offices and branches, according to presenters at a May 6 Bluepoint Solutions webinar on the topic.
“Finding hidden paper and paper-related inefficiencies is the key to better content management,” said webinar host Alissa Fry-Harris, marketing and events manager for the Henderson, Nev., financial technology software company. “And yet, many credit unions haven’t adapted their technology to the new 24/7 environment.”
According to the Association of Information and Image Management, enterprise content management is a set of tools and methods that allow an organization to obtain, organize, store and deliver information crucial to its operation. Its objective is to streamline access, eliminate bottlenecks, optimize security, maintain integrity and minimize overhead.
Fry-Harris and fellow Bluepoint executives Brett Willard, vice president of corporate management solutions, and Mario Coronado, vice president of customer solutions, outlined five specific strategies to improve credit union employee productivity through better content management.
Presenters agreed that being able to find all member information in one, easily accessible place is a great start. Yet many credit unions complain of a variety of content management inefficiencies and operational pain points, largely because 79% of those polled have not reviewed or updated their systems in more than three years.
Evaluating your system’s capabilities again evolving needs is the first step, presenters said. Here are other strategies to try.
Read more: Decentralize document scanning ...
Few things are more inefficient than amassing stacks of documents only to scan them into a central data system every few hours or at the end of a workday. Documents should be scanned and, more importantly, auto-indexed by appropriate title or subject at the point of acceptance. The method provides immediate online access to those documents and reduces duplicate efforts needed to handle all that paper more than once, presenters said.
However, member-facing staff such as tellers and loan officers should take care not to create a head’s-down environment in which more attention is paid to processing documents than it is to interacting with members. The purpose of improving efficiencies is to be able to spend more, not less time interacting with members. However, anything that helps credit unions avoid delayed scanning aids content management efficiencies.
Read more: Exorcise your ghost files ...
2. Avoid printing.
Whenever possible, avoid printing a document. Instead, create an easily accessible electronic file that can be electronically shared among those who need it. Printed documents require their own levels of management, handling and transportation from one person or workstation to another. That takes time and effort better spent on other things.
A print-dependent environment also often results in the creation of ghost files, which area unauthorized copies of documents that employees keep to work from while the official document is routing or filed. In addition to breaching document security, ghost files often cause confusion, don’t always get updated when the original is updated and, of course, create one more level of work in terms of file creation and paper handling.
Read more: Train appropriately ..
3. Promote training and documentation.
Every employee charged with handling some form of document should be trained in content management and proper handling policies as determined by credit union policy. Processes may differ slightly from the lending and member service areas, which tend to generate the greatest amounts of paper, to the teller stations, human resources department and less document-intensive environments. But the end process, whether full or only partially automated, should apply to all paper-handling staffers at all levels.
“Employees are a great resource in finding processes that can be improved,” Willard said. “But they will pinpoint the negative aspects first, then highlight the positive ones.”
Read more: Create a system ...
This where the value of gathering all member information into one place, file or document can be truly beneficial, presenters said. The ability to access complete information saves time, reduces frustration and improves decision-making processes. Information access also increases efficiencies when responding to member requests, which reduces wait time and improves credit union service satisfaction.
It is equally important to treat internal information and process documentation with the same level of management and care. Makes sure staff members know where to find critical documents and have appropriate system access to retrieve them when they are needed.
Read more: Consolidate ...
Remember that there are hard costs to paper documents like the paper itself and toner, as well as soft costs like the employee time spent printing, scanning, copying and distribution, Willard said. Improving efficiency while reducing costs will help credit unions arrive at better content management solutions.
"Our goal is to help credit unions improve ‘heads-up’ time with the members,” Willard said. “Rather than focusing on the process of finding and researching a document, the member-facing employee is heads-up and talking to the member, building a stronger relationship."