Records management: need of hour
Records management (RM) is a key business process that forms the basis of planning, decision-making and operational and strategic activities for they provide evidence and information about various business activities.
ISO standard 15489: 2001 by the ‘International Organization for Standardization’ for Information and documentation defines Records Management as the “field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records”.
The records management market has evolved greatly over the last few years due to the transformation of paper based transactions to electronic mode. Companies are forced to maintain large volumes of data to comply with legal requirements. Apart from easing the data storage process, record management also enables smooth retrieval of information during litigation proceedings.
Being able to effectively manage your records is one of the most important elements of running a business. Without properly managed records, you would not be able to effectively keep track of anything, and as a result your organization would be running poorly. That being said, modern technology is significantly changing how we are able to manage our records; let’s take a look at some of the records management trends expected in 2015.
A greater adoption of electronic records
As the use of paper records becomes increasingly expensive and time consuming, the need for the use of digital records becomes more urgent for many organizations. Although the use of digital records has burgeoned over the years because of this, 2015 is the year in which electronic record use is expected to explode. As such, you can mark this down as the most significant records management trend of 2015.
More digital security systems
There are several instances of security threat in past which suggests that you need to take the protection of your digital data very seriously. Without the right security measures in place, any organization can have its data stolen for any reason at any time, regardless of how big they are. Sony, Home Depot the United States Government and eBay can all attest to that.
As such, you can expect there to be a significant spike in the use of security measures to protect one’s electronic records.
An increased use of cloud services
As the bytes of data created by digital records start to pile up, organizations will inevitably begin to run out of space on their hard drives. As a result, they will need to find alternative storage solutions. The best storage solutions for this need are cloud-based services. The reasons that the use of these types of services will take off in 2015 are that not only they allow organizations to significantly expand the amount of data that they can store, but also allow expanded access to the records.
More data analysis
As electronic records continue to make data more manageable, organizations will be able to more effectively analyze everything. A doctor’s office, for example, will be able to effectively analyze how well patients respond to a specific treatment. This will lead to more informed decision making for organizational leaders.
More organizational independence
Paper records often require you to contact multiple people in order to retrieve them. Sometimes, you will even need to retrieve these records from parties outside of your organization due to the fact that there will always be only a limited number of copies of paper records, and whoever has them, has access to them.
This is another area in which the shift towards electronic records is creating records management trends. This is due to the fact that more organizations will be able to access all of their records independently without having to scramble around to figure out who within or outside of their organization has a copy of records on hand.
India is witnessing significant transformation in information management, in an era of stringent compliance norms, right for information and consumer activism, which in turn demand response time to be within a timely manner of every business, government and institution. Records and information management services are evolving on an ongoing basis. Advancement in the areas of technology, cost effective and improved methods of storage and access requires constant adaptation and integration with the application software.
About Packways Logistics
Packways Logistics, established in 2011, is a records and data management company. It is sister concern of Packways India, four decades old logistics company. Packways Logistics provides flexible solutions for every company depending upon size & volume of their records storage and management needs, at a fraction of the cost of other storage solutions. Company’s records centre combines secure, environmentally-controlled storage and efficient records management with fast, courteous, and professional service.
The mission is to transform information and records management profession in India by offering best of industry practices and seamless solutions towards greater efficiency and cost effectiveness.
The hallmark of Packways Logistics services is its commitment to excellence in customer services. Data protection, disaster recovery solutions are among few other critical services offered to customers to ensure a complete peace of mind at all times to customers.
Following are the reasons why you should go after RM is that it helps you to:
- Identify and prioritize vital information.
- Boost your office efficiency and foster faster overall workflow.
- Improve security of the records: A trusted partner trumps your storage space in terms of data protection. For example, a top-drawer offsite storage facility can offer intrusion detection and alarm systems, fire detection and suppression equipment, and in some cases, onsite security personnel.
- Ensure disaster recovery and business continuity: Not all disasters or interruptions are on the scale of a Hurricane Katrina or the devastating earthquake in Japan earlier this year. That said, disasters of a far smaller magnitude could grind your operations to a sudden halt. The quicker you can get your hands on your records, the quicker your business can resume operating.
- Comply with Regulations: It is mandatory to store records in accordance to the Income tax act, companies act & other statutory requirements to avoid fines & penalties. Outsourcing can help you meet these regulations—and provide proof of compliance. Hence records won’t be stored beyond the required time frame.
- Make better use of your talent: How many employee hours are spent away from your core business, maintaining and managing records? And how much has it cost you? It makes much better sense for those employees to work on more critical missions than finding a seven-year-old client agreement.
- Reduce costs: How much space are you renting simply to give your records a home? Put some desks, a meeting space or rent it to someone else and shrink your office footprint to suit your operational needs. And as far as outsourcing is concerned you will pay for the space you’re renting to store those files offsite.
- Gain control: Properly labelled, indexed and stored records afford better end-toned information management. Search, retrieve and locate records more quickly than if they were stored in rickety filing cabinets in a backroom or in unmarked boxes at the local mini-storage facility.
- Digitize: Everyone works on a computer and by scanning your important records and records which require regular referral you end up saving valuable time and energy and can access them with few clicks.
Packways Logistics was founded by the CEO of the company, Nikhil Ohri, MBA in International Business, Griffith University. “I started my research and went on to stumble across this entire industry called Records Management. There were companies in Australia which provided such services and it made sense as the labour was expensive and storage cost was high. I thought to myself that such an industry would be so much useful to companies in India where most of the work still happens on paper and the volumes of paper records must be huge!” Post his MBA, Nikhil widely travelled the world to gain knowledge and experience about the records management industry. However, due to certain unforeseen circumstances he was forced to return back to India and join his family business. He came back to a fully established family business but wanted to do something on his own, he shared the idea of dealng with RM industry with his father, Rajesh Ohri who was very supportive of the idea and thought that this service had huge potential in India. “My family has been in the logistics business since the past 40 years and this would be a good extension to our existing line of business. I started research on building customized software to ensure that I could add features to the software and improve it according to the need of the business and not be dependent on the readily available software. My father knew already that investment in the business will be high with slow returns at the beginning but with his faith in the business plan he invested in the software, barcoding, specialised boxes and the records facility.”
The company started to build the records facility as per international standards – 4 ft above the ground level, heavy duty racking system, CCTV, fire alarm systems, access control, security guard and periodic pest control. This helped them become members of an esteemed organization- PRISM, which only gives their certification to members who meet all international safety and security standards.
Getting the right boxes was another major challenge company faced – with different international industry size of boxes, it was difficult choice to make whether to keep 1 box size or 2 box size and yet ensure that the cost of the box does not increase and maintain the quality as per international standards so that it is sturdy for the handling during the storage period.
There was a lot of skepticism and a lot of people told Nikhil that India is not ready for a service like this where they would be willing to hand over their records to a third party. At least, records are the least priority of any business in India. People have their own storage system and they would prefer having their records under their nose than outsource it to another company.
Listening to every person’s comments on the business started to build doubt in Nikhil’s mind and he became unsure whether this business would work; but nevertheless, he completed the software and the records facility in less than a year and started the operation in April 2011 under the company name Packways Logistics.
Rajesh Ohri, CEO of Packways India- fourty year old Logistics Company headquartered in Mumbai, is mentor for Packways Logistics. He has immense experience in the field of Warehousing and logistics.
More insights into Packways Logistics
After establishment, the next task for Nikhil was to market the business. The initial marketing method gave him a huge dent on hopes and enthusiasm as everyone was sceptical about the idea of storing records with another company. But the services offered in terms of storage in a highly secure heavy-duty racking systems with high security records facility along with a plan for disaster recovery and the concept of digitizing the records, gave a high pitch-note to the selling point. “First I thought the cost was too high which is why the client was hesitant but then after working on the cost I realised that in a day where people spend Rs. 200 on a cup of coffee, which was also the cost of storing 30-40 files for an entire year. The cost in comparison to the benefits clients were getting was literally negligible” Nikhil explains. The main problem was inability of potential customers to associate the indirect costs associated with improper storage of records. Most companies in India are comfortable with their traditional record storage methods. They do not account the cost of space being wasted; manpower hours spent looking for records or the delays caused by not finding documents on time.
But the spirit was to ‘never give-up’. He was working even harder with a small team of 5 including Nikhil and the support staff before they got their very first client. This boosted Nikhil’s confidence. Moreover, research showed that even in technologically advanced countries like USA and UK, there was huge demand for Records Management and there were large corporation in the business providing such services to various corporations. This again was a huge confidence booster and Nikhil’s conviction that a business like this would succeed was reinstated.
After all the struggles, Company was all set to get more and more clients onboard. Not long after, they secured an account of a manufacturing company which was keen on deploying their service and were themselves in a need of finding a better solution of handling their records. Digitization was a boon in disguise for the manufacturing company as they reduced paper handling and duplicate copies and Xeroxes in their office reducing administrative costs by 50%. Now, they could directly email the record which was required to the concerned person proving to be much better than looking for it physically and then have it courier or scanned.
Soon after, they got another major turnkey project for a bank. The company really had to stretch all their resources in order to fulfil this project and it turned out to be a great morale booster. Through mere cold calling and distribution of pamphlets, company was able to add-on a couple of more customers. The main challenge company still was facing is to make people aware of a service like this.
“Till date people doubt the success of a business like this. However, I feel that’s human nature to question anything that’s new and innovative. Records Management is a need for every business and sooner or later every organization will recognize this need. It’s difficult to make them understand the concept. But then again like they say nothing comes easy in life!” Once people know about it, automatically a need arises, as every organization no matter how big or small requires this service for smooth functioning.
There were instances when a project seemed impossible, and in order to accomplish the project, they really would need to push their limits. There was a time when the firm got this huge project from a MNC. Packways Logistics was required to process, sort and store about 50,00,000 data points for them. It was huge challenge as they did not have the necessary resources and manpower to handle such a big project. However, the multinational showed faith in the firm and they took up this project as a challenge. In their tiny office, they had over 35 people working day and night. They had to hire scanners and computers as their own resources were not enough. Nikhil would give everybody a target and a sort of competition was happening between employees as to who would complete maximum work in a day. There was so much excitement and the atmosphere in the office was completely charged up. They managed to complete the project in a span of 3 months. Today, company has grown itself into a much bigger identity in terms of resources and manpower to handle such huge projects.
Currently, Packways Logistics is looking for funding to expand in other cities including Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Chennai. These cities host lots of industries and records management is the need of the hour. The company is looking forward to expand warehouses from 5000sq ft to about 100,000 sq ft. for better service and faster retrieval of documents. It wishes to create a better fleet of vehicles and people to reduce their dependency on outside sources. “With 4 years of work experience under the belt, we have realised our potential. Having completed turnkey projects and also been able to process more than 25,000 data for multinationals currently, we are here to stay! Companies require services like ours to help them manage their records in an efficient manner. Working with free lancers, small businesses and corporates we have learnt that we can provide them a wide range of services like Data Processing, Business Process Management, Fungible Management, E-commerce Fulfillment over and above the core services of Records management”. Thus, Packways Logistics has emerged as a single point solution provider for information and records management needs of its customers, offering simple and affordable solutions customised from a wide range of services!