It is important for decision-makers to periodically revisit all business policies and practices to make sure they are still effective. For something as critical as record and information management and document storage and retention, it is critical for companies to make sure they are using a system that provides organization, security and easy of use. However, not every organization is effective at this.

The Portland Development Commission (PDC) was examined earlier this year by the city auditor, who found several deficiencies.

“Our audit found that although PDC was able to locate all of the records from our random sample, PDC can do more to meet records management best practices,” the report read. “We also found that the PDC Records Center was not up to standards for such facilities.”

As part of the audit, employees at the PDC were asked to find several specific documents. While they were able to eventually track down each one, it took multiple employees searching in various locations and through different mediums. It also took an extended period of time. In any business, this type of inefficiency creates higher than necessary labor costs

This process was not the only issue, as the building used to store the boxes of documents was found to be less than satisfactory. There were cracks in the window sills and insufficient heating, cooling and humidity controls. Any of these problems on their own introduces an environmental element that could destroy important documents.

The PDC should consider partnering with a professional record and information management service provider. This will allow the organization to safely store documents locally in an organized way that will not expose them to outside elements or other security risks. Additionally, using the inventory management system available through a professional firm will also help identify and manage the inventory including assisting in monitoring retention schedules.