Why we’re the perfect match for the engineering, manufacturing, defence and aerospace industries

Heart jigsaw puzzle - perfect matchWe don’t like to play favourites but we do seem to have attracted a lot of clients from the engineering, manufacturing, defence and aerospace industries over the years. And though we also don’t like to sound immodest, we’re not all that surprised. You see, we’re well set up to deal with their particular needs – we’ve got the security, the capacity and the right equipment.

As it’s Valentine’s Day later this week, we thought we’d write up a little dating profile, if you like, to show you we’re the perfect match for someone in the engineering, manufacturing, defence or aerospace industry.

Government approved security

We’re the kind of team who, if we’re going to do something, like to do it properly. So when we say our document storage facilities are secure, we really do mean it. In fact, we’re government approved to hold and process classified documents and data, our premises and procedures have been audited by government security advisers and all digital files are held in a special secure network to protect them from unauthorised access.

We’ve got BS 10008:2014 certification too, which is to do with “evidential weight and legal admissibility of electronic information” – kind of like the standards police have to keep when they transport evidence in criminal investigations. And our staff  have not only been vetted to BS 7858 standards but have actually signed the Official Secrets Act. Let’s face it, we’re practically spies.

Set up for working with you in-house

Of course if that still isn’t secure enough for you, then we can always come to you. Yes that’s right, we can actually up tools and move in with you for a bit, scanning and digitising your documents on your premises so that no data or paperwork ever crosses your boundaries. And remember, our staff are checked and double checked, so you need not worry about letting them past the perimeter fence.

Not your ordinary scanners

We know that if you’re in the engineering, manufacturing, defence or aerospace you haven’t just got a few sheets of A4 that you want to put through the scanner. You’ve got endless technical drawings, blueprints, not to mention procurement documents, personnel records and so on.

We’re set up for high capacity runs and we can scan up to A0 in width and pretty much any length. We’ve even scanned a tonne of 40ft aircraft drawings (although we can’t tell you who for because you don’t have clearance!).

Lots of added extras

So you know that we scan stuff and we store stuff. But that’s not all! We can also extract information from legacy documents and feed it into document management and ERP/MRP systems. We can convert analogue data into digital data and documents into microfilm or microfiche that’s guaranteed for 500 years, creating information backup systems that meet contractual obligations.

And we can securely destroy everything from paper and photographs to digital records and microfilm (which, if you didn’t know, is a really very difficult and dangerous process – microfilm has an extremely high burning point and releases dangerous chemicals so you don’t want to be looking after that yourself).

What our engineers, manufacturers, defence and aerospace clients say

Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what the procurement manager of a large West Country aerospace firm had to say about using our services:

“As one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in Europe we rely on fast, accurate access to our archive records – particularly build records and data sheets. We have used Scan Film or Store Ltd since it was established and they have always provided us with a first class service, Their prompt attention to our changing needs – from microfilm to digital scanning and document storage – has been impressive. I would recommend Scan Film or Store Ltd to any organisation that has complex or varied needs for cost-effective document management.” Ian Mitchell MCIPS, Procurement Manager

So what do you think? Ready to swipe right? (That’s a Tinder reference, by the way. Which is a dating app. Where you… never mind, it’s not that interesting). Anyway, if you think we’d be a good match for you, get in touch with the team today and we can arrange a first date!

Document storage and scanning – your FAQs answered

Document scanning and storage - your FAQs answeredDocument storage and scanning is our bread and butter, so it’s sometimes easy to forget that not everyone knows the ins and outs of it like we do. From technical jargon to the processes, we’ve got so used to it being second nature, we sometimes forget that not everything is quite as obvious to the rest of the world!

There are a few questions we get asked time and again. So we thought it would be helpful to pull them all together and answer them in a single FAQs blog post. It might seem altruistic but frankly it will save us an awful lot of time repeating ourselves!

Do I need to provide my own storage boxes?

Nope, we’ve got that covered. We’ll provide high quality boxes that won’t fall apart or weather, bring them along and even pack up all your stuff for you so you don’t have to lift a finger. We’ll also barcode the boxes so they’re easy to find in the warehouse and we can get the right file back to you whenever you need it.

How easily can I access the documents I’ve stored?

Because of the way we barcode the boxes we store, it’s super easy for us to find them at pretty much a moment’s notice. Then it’s just a case of couriering them to you wherever you are in the country, whether Bridgewater, Bristol or beyond. Or we could scan them and you can either use them in their electronic format or print them out at your end. We’re nothing if not flexible.

What security measures do you have in place to protect classified documents?

Glad you asked! We have all sorts of things in place. For a start, our purpose built storage HQ in Bridgwater is environmentally controlled, monitored and alarmed 24-7. We’ve got ISO 9001:2015 and BS10008 compliance, which means we can ensure the integrity of files from the point of collection to the point of return (kind of like when the police transport evidence). And all of our staff are DBS checked, security vetted to BS7858 standards and have signed the Official Secrets Act. We’ve even got Cyber Essentials Scheme certification! We’re basically the James Bonds of the document storage and scanning world.

Can you scan colour documents?

Sure thing – colour, greyscale or monotone (black & white to you) single or double sided. We’ll manually take out any paperclips and staples too, adding separator sheets between documents so the scanner can distinguish where one finishes and another starts. We’ll even separate any post it notes out and scan them on separate sheets of paper so you don’t end up with missing information in your digital archive.

How do you organise scanned documents so we can find everything?

We don’t like to boast but we’re really rather good at creating digital filing systems. Our scanning services include a full indexing service as well as optical character recognition (OCR) for .pdf documents, creating digital filing cabinets full of readable, searchable documents. We usually start by taking a sample of your documents and scanning those so you can get a feel for how it’s going to work – we won’t charge you for this bit, so there’s no risk. Then we’ll not only create a logical and ordered system but we’ll even train up your staff so they can use it quickly and easily.

What kind of digital files does your scanning process output?

We can produce .pdf, .pdf/a, .tif or .jpg files depending on your needs. And if you don’t know what you need, you can either have a read of this blog post on Do you know your PDF from your TIFF? or give us a call and we’ll talk you through it.

What happens to my hard copies after they’ve been scanned?

It’s up to you. We can return them to you, store them here at our purpose-built HQ in Bridgwater or we can securely destroy them. Either way we offer 30 days free storage so that you’ve got time to check through your new digital files before making any decisions.

How long do I need to keep my files for?

That’s not a question we can answer succinctly. But we have written a whole other blog post on it. Have a read of Paperwork – what to keep and what to chuck.

Why can’t I use a shredder to destroy my confidential documents?

You can. It’s just that if someone has the time and inclination they can sit down and piece the strips of shredded document together. And if we’re talking microfiche or microfilm then it’s even worse because the images they contain are so very small that they might only get chopped in half by a standard shredder. We use cross shredding to destroy paper documents and then pulp the results so that no one, not even the most cunning super villain, could extract the data from it. And we incinerate microfiche and microfilm in a specially ventilated, crazily hot incinerator (seriously, it burns at a really high temperature so you do not want to try this at home).

Can I scan old, delicate or oversized items?

You can with us. We’ve got a pretty exciting range of tech on hand to help us tackle the most specialist of jobs. For example, we have a Book Eye Pro 4 scanner which means books don’t have to be taken apart to be scanned. They don’t even have to be laid entirely flat, so the spine is protected (and the software takes out what we lovingly refer to as the ‘buttock crease’, which is useful too). And then there’s the Canon OCE large format scanner, which scans up to A0 in width and basically as long as you like. We’ve done aircraft drawings that were 40ft long! Basically we love a challenge. So, if you have an awkward item that needs scanning then let us know and we’ll do our best to help.

Have you got any other questions that we’ve not answered here? Send them over to us at info@scan-film-store.co.uk and we’ll update this post with new questions and answers so everyone can benefit.

Unique ways to beat Blue Monday

Scan Film or Store - How to survive Blue MondayHow are you feeling today? Not your best? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to the experts (by which we mean some clever marketing company who dreams these days up) today is Blue Monday. In other words, the day we’re statistically most likely to feel down in the dumps.

Why? Well Christmas is a distant memory but the evidence of festive scoffing is all too evident on our waistlines, we’ve yet to settle the credit card bill and failed to keep our New Year’s resolutions, the weather is terrible and it’s still ages until payday. If you weren’t feeling glum before, bet you are now, right?

Don’t worry, as always we are on hand to provide some tips for beating Blue Monday which, at the very least, will hopefully give you a bit of a giggle to help banish those blues.

Stick your swimsuit on

Ok hear us out. One of the reasons we’re feeling blue today is that the weather sucks, right? It’s cold, it’s gloomy, probably raining. But that’s just outside! Inside you can control your own climate. Stick the heating up (just for today mind, it’s not great for the environment), get into your swimsuit, mix up a batch of Mai Tais, line up a holiday playlist on iTunes or pop on a rerun of Hawaii 5-0 and you’re good to go. Who says you have to get on a plane to have a tropical break?

Smile, smile and smile again

It might feel like a grimace at first but the very act of smiling actually helps us feel better! If you’re struggling, watch a comedy show, Google “cats falling over”, whatever works for you. And then once you’ve got those facial muscles working properly, start smiling at other people. Smiling is contagious and knowing that you’ve helped boost someone else’s mood will give you a boost in return. Just don’t overdo it or you’ll come across as creepy and potentially add “getting slapped in the face” to the list of things making you feel blue today.

Ditch your old documents

People usually do their spring cleaning in March. Which makes sense, because that’s when spring actually starts. But how great would it feel to get to March and be able to take a day or two off because you’d already got yours sorted in January? There’s nothing as satisfying as having a good clear out, you’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment and the newly decluttered environment will enhance your calm too. If you need help with document storage, document scanning or secure data destruction while you’re at it, do give us a shout.

Run away from it all

Usually we wouldn’t advocate running away from your problems but in this case we mean it literally. It’s probably the last thing you feel like doing but grabbing your trainers and pounding the pavements for even 10 or 15 minutes will do you a world of good. The fresh air, the exercise, the endorphins – not to mention the satisfaction of having actually got off your backside and done something productive. Go on, you can do it! We believe in you.

Embrace the blues

Failing all else, work along the principle of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” and fully embrace Blue Monday. Take a duvet day, get the Ben & Jerry’s out of the freezer, stick on The Notebook or Celine Dion’s greatest hits album and have a good old blub. There’s no proof as such that a good cry makes you feel better, but ask most people and they’ll tell you it does. Now, where did we put the tissues?

If worrying about document storage, document scanning or secure data destruction is part of what’s getting you down today, give us a call and find out how we can help. We don’t mind if you have a bit of a cry on our shoulder!

Super simple ways to save your business money in 2019

Hands up who wants to be rich in 2019? Sorry folks, we don’t have any magic bullets nor the winning lottery numbers. No, don’t leave yet! Rather than telling you how you can get rich, we thought we’d share some tips that will help you save money. Which is pretty much the same thing, right?

Here are some of our top ways to save your business money in 2019:

1) Go flexible

The flexible working movement is going great guns at the moment as everyone from millennials to mums realise that life is a whole lot easier – and more fun – when you’re not chained to a desk from 9 to 5 (we always said Dolly Parton was way ahead of her time). It’s got huge benefits for businesses too, one of which is that it can save you money.

If there’s a function in the business that doesn’t need you to chuck a full time salary at it, go part time. Let some of your team work from home, if that’s appropriate, saving money on office space or desk rent. Taking a long term view, offering flexibility is likely to boost employee morale, wellbeing and loyalty, which means you should see staff turnover drop and therefore save money on recruitment too. Winner!

2) Outsource

It may sound a little counter intuitive to pay someone in order to save money, but think about it. Your time is not free, neither is that of your staff. You pay salaries, right? You could be out winning new contracts. There is a value to what each person on your payroll is doing. And if they’re doing stuff they’re not good at, taking twice as long as a professional and producing a shoddy end result then are you really being particularly cost effective?

Outsourcing anything from your content marketing to your archive management can take the pressure off, improve results, save time and yes, even save you money in 2019.

3) Ditch the archive

Another way to reduce your spend on office space is to seriously reduce the amount of stuff you have. Why would you pay however much it is you’re paying per square foot on office rent just to keep a roof over a bunch of archive boxes? Instead, could you have them scanned and then securely destroyed? Or would it be more cost effective to look into off site storage? (Ahem, we can definitely provide you with a quote to get you started, if that’s of interest.)

The other advantage of scanning your documents is that they’re ever so much easier to find. If we do say so ourselves, we’re really very good at creating well organised systems and we can even train your staff in how to use them so you can access whatever you need at a touch of a button. Which means no-one wastes time going on dusty expeditions through the archive room, which, given that time is money, is a money saver in itself.

4) Leverage technology

So we’re living in a digital age now, in case you hadn’t noticed. Which can be disconcerting for those of us who grew up with only five TV channels and phones that were wired into a wall. But the good news is that technology offers huge opportunities for saving money as a business.

For example, rather than paying someone to man the phones all day answering mind-numbing questions like, “What time do you open?” and “Can you ship items to the Isle of White?” you could get a chatbot to answer them for you on your website or use a virtual telephone answering service like our friends at Good Call.

5) Seek out budget hacks

We didn’t really like Tesco’s strapline when it first came out but “Every little helps” is definitely quicker to say than “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”. Whichever version you prefer, the sentiment is true. Adopt an attitude of cost saving for 2019 and you’ll be surprised how many opportunities you spot.

For example, if you need stock images then head over to Pexels or Unsplash rather than paying a fortune in royalties. Or switch from sending out physical invoices to using an online system – if things need signing you can always use an e-signature service like Docusign. This last example will reduce your paper usage too, which is good for the planet, so that’s a bonus win right there.

So, which one do you think offers your business the best chance of saving money in 2019? If it’s #3 then give us a shout to see how we can help (you’ll be ticking box #2 and probably #4 too, so it’s an all round winning choice!).

The organisational secrets of Santa Inc’s admin elves

Christmas admin elf As you’ll remember from last year’s festive testimonials, we’re like this (picture us crossing our fingers closely) with Santa and his crew. Well, actually we’ve only met the big man a couple of times; we mostly deal with his elves. But that’s not a bad thing. Honestly, Saint Nick is more of a brand ambassador these days – it’s the admin elves who do the real work (don’t tell him we said so though, he’s got a very fragile ego).

Anyway, here’s how operations are run at Christmas Towers, and the lessons you can learn from these busy little guys when it comes to organising your office administration.

You can’t make naughty or nice lists like you used to

GDPR. They’re feeling the impact up there in the North Pole. Up until last year it was simple – Santa made his list, he checked it twice and he found out whether people were naughty or nice.

This year his elves have had to undertake a massive project to gain consent to hold data on the world’s 1.9 billion children. They also had to go through historic records and destroy any data collected under the old rules which would contravene the news ones.

Luckily we were able to help them by securely destroying several thousand boxes of these lists using our special cross shredding and pulping service. No one will be using your childhood indiscretions against you now, you can be sure of that.

Scanning invoices creates a lot more room for making toys

You’d think that with the price of land up north, Christmas Towers would be vast and spacious. But it’s surprisingly cramped. When we first visited (and no, we can’t tell you where it is or share photos – we had to sign an NDA) we were literally tripping over bags of reindeer feed and boxes of old receipts for elf-sized carpentry tools, baker’s sugar and string.

We couldn’t help them with the reindeer feed, but we did sort the receipts for them. Thankfully they were able to let us use Santa’s sleigh to get all the boxes back home (usually we’d take them off in one of our vans but they struggle a little in those rather extreme arctic conditions). We scanned them all, created a searchable database so they can retrieve any of them at the touch of a button, then securely destroyed the hard copies, which they said they didn’t need anymore (otherwise we’d have stored them here, obviously).

Don’t rely on a reindeer temp to find the right archive box

This is strictly between us, but there was a right royal screw up last year when several of the elves were signed off with tinsel blindness at the same time and the office ended up seriously understaffed. Unfortunately, this group included the only three elves who understood the document  storage system. So when the head chef wanted the original candy cane recipe from the archives (he was going through a bit of a ‘back to basics’ period, apparently) they dispatched a reindeer who was acting as temporary cover to find it. Naturally he hadn’t a clue where to start, upset several boxes of old files, got hopelessly lost and ultimately did not deliver said recipe. Which caused Chef to have a hissy fit of epic proportions and storm off muttering something about amateurs. It was all very Gordon-Ramsay-does-Christmas.

This year, they’ve relocated their archive to our Bridgwater storage unit – not only to create even more space, but because our barcoding system means we can easily find anything they’re looking for and either send a scanned copy straight across or courier a hard copy to them within 24 hours (assuming the snow isn’t too heavy out their way).

So there you have it. Lessons in life and business from the festive folks way up North. Happy Christmas one and all!

PS In the interest of full disclosure we should probably point out that Santa isn’t actually a client of ours. This is just a bit of festive fun, ok? We do provide data destruction, document storage, document scanning and a number of other services that would be useful to admin elves if they existed. If you could use one or more of these services, give us a call and we’ll see how we can help. Unfortunately we can’t actually supply you with an admin elf.

5 things we wish we could store digitally

Bowl of spoons - Scan Film or Store - 5 things we wish we could store digitallyDo you ever get to thinking, “If only…”? Call us naive, but we often stray into the territory of daydreams and wishes. Just the other day we were wondering whether it would be possible to invent a calorie free mince pie. If only, right?

But actually that would come second on our wish list if we happened to stumble across a genie-filled lamp. The first thing would be a digital solution to the many storage challenges that plague humankind both at home and in the office. Yes, it’s a pretty niche wish but just think how great it would be to store these things online…

Teaspoons

Why is it that teaspoons are so darn elusive? Other utensils seem to have no trouble staying put in the cutlery drawer. Ok so they do occasionally take a short vacation into a neighbouring segment so that if you’re not paying enough attention you end up trying to sip your soup with a fork. But teaspoons just disappear, especially from office kitchens. Digital storage would allow you to password protect your spoon so Jason from Sales couldn’t add it to the growing collection in his desk drawer.

Christmas decorations

Oh don’t get us started on this one! For one month every year it’s become obligatory to deck ones halls – and offices and gardens and pretty much everything else – with 10 tonnes of glitter, tinsel and fake snow. Which we don’t really mind, in and of itself. No one could call us Scrooge. It’s the other 11 months of the year that cause the difficulty. Because Christmas decorations are bulky. They’re also usually quite delicate. Which means they need careful packing away – often with fiddly layers of tissue paper to stop the more fragile items from shattering – and take up a ridiculous amount of space. Definitely one of the things we wish we could store digitally.

Tupperware

[Disclaimer: other brands of kitchen plastic are available.] If you could store these boxes digitally we reckon you could probably get rid of half your kitchen units. You’d also be able to search by size or volume rather than having to take a wild guess at whether your leftover casserole would actually fit or not. And you could easily retrieve the corresponding lid without having to try on half a dozen “close but not quite” options first. Heaven, yes?

Socks

Talking of keeping pairs of things together, what about socks? It’s true that very little beats the satisfaction of a perfectly organised physical sock drawer; the rows of tightly rolled cotton all snuggled neatly next to each other (just us??). But realistically, how often is your sock drawer that tidy? Isn’t it more likely that it’s a shambles of odd socks that have less chance of being reunited with their partner than Kylie and Jason? A digital sock drawer would present none of these challenges.

Cables

Every single household and most offices we’ve visited have a box of random cables that 98% of people couldn’t identify if their lives depended on it. These assorted chargers, scart leads, HDMI cables and so on are undoubtedly important and therefore can’t be thrown out, even if it’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to remember what they connect to. So how great would it be to store them online where they wouldn’t get in the way? Come to think of it, pretty much the entire contents of your average “man drawer” could be tidied up in this way. After all, how often do you really need the key to the back door of your old house, or a takeaway menu from an Indian restaurant in town that has almost certainly closed down since you got it?

At least we don’t need to worry about paper cluttering up our homes and offices any more, right? There’s just no excuse for having endless shelves of invoices, receipts, statements and reports cluttering up the place when getting it all transformed into a digital archive is a piece of cake (well, we say that – it’s actually a pretty involved process for us, but for you it’s as simple as saying, “Hey, can you sort this out please?”).

To find out more about how the Scan Film or Store team can help you make the switch to digital – or store those paper documents you still need in our purpose built, climate controlled, 24-7 monitored and alarmed storage unit in Bridgwaterget in touch for a no obligation chat today.

Have you thought through your go-paperless process?

Paperless key on a keyboardThe paperless workplace movement has been around for a fair while now, and rightly so. After all, trees don’t grow on… erm… well, you know what we mean. It just isn’t sustainable to keep hacking down forests so we can scribble a short note on an A4 piece of paper and then toss it in the bin when we’re through with it. The environment will eventually go off in a huff and we’ll be left to try and survive an eternal winter eating nothing but foraged mushrooms or something equally unpleasant.

But while going paperless is great as a concept, it’s actually something which should take a bit of thought if you want to achieve good results. Especially if you’re running a larger or more established business where any change is likely to take a degree of effort to implement.

Here are a few things you’ll need to include in your go-paperless process:

Get staff on board with paperless

This is by far the most important part of any change management process. Get it wrong, and with all the will in the world you just won’t succeed. Even if you threaten to fire people for using more than 2.5 sheets of paper a day, how are you going to police that? The best way to ensure that your mission to go paperless succeeds is to make it everyone’s mission. Except more fun than that. Because if it’s going to be a ‘mission’, no one will do it. The point is, get buy in before you do anything else.

Invest in the right software

The best way to get people on board with something new is to make it super easy – ideally easier than what they’re doing now. Most of us are pretty lazy at heart. Or just super busy. If your paperless system involves new hardware or software – whether that’s tablets to replace paper order forms, a file-sharing system like Dropbox or GSuite, e-signature software, or something bespoke – make sure everyone understands how to use it so that they actually do use it. This might involve investing in some training. Do it. It will be worth it.

Set up a great filing system

Just like the filing cabinets of yesteryear (ah, nostalgia!), online filing systems need to be clever. It’s no good leaving everyone to rely on a search function. There needs to be a system of clearly defined folders and subfolders, with uniform labelling protocols for the documents they contain so no one gets confused. Again, there might be the need for some training on this and you’ll almost certainly need to circulate some guidelines otherwise people are likely to end up very confused. And confused people tend to lose stuff, even if it is in the Cloud somewhere rather than an archive room.

Put the message out

In order to make a paperless system work, you’ll need to have people outside the company on board too. Look at where your incoming paper is coming from. Can you ask your suppliers to send electronic invoices instead of paper ones? Are there any unnecessary circulars you can unsubscribe from? Have you gone for the paperless statement options on your bank account? If something doesn’t need to come to you in a paper format then make sure it’s changed to an electronic one. As a bonus, you’ll have a lot less mail to file.

Set protocols on printers

While your staff may be on board with the idea of going paperless, they’re only human. On those occasions where they do have to print something, they may well forget to tick the “print two sided” option, for example. By setting protocols on your printers, you can make sure that single sided has to be a deliberate choice rather than an absentminded mistake. Likewise you can use the analytics from your printers to see where the bulk of the printing is coming from, whether that be individuals or departments, so you can focus your efforts to reduce paper use in those areas.

If you’re looking at going paperless and you want to talk to someone about scanning your documents or even destroying the ones you no longer need, get in touch today to see how we can help.

Paperwork – what to keep and what to chuck

Man trying to decide whether to keep a piece of paper or throw it awaySometimes it feels like, despite the fact that we’re living in a so-called digital world, we are surrounded by really quite stupid amounts of paper. Receipts, invoices, records of all shapes and sizes, forms, statements – you get the picture.

It’s tempting to take a Marie Kondo minimalist approach to it all and get rid of anything that doesn’t “spark joy” (in other words 100% of the contents of most filing cabinets). But sadly there are times when it is important to embrace your inner hoarder and keep hold of stuff for a year or 40.

Here are a few examples of things you might have lying around at work or at home, and whether you can bin them or not.

COSHH records

Unless your COSSH records have reached the grand old age of 40, you’re going to have to keep them. It’s the law. You may not want to look at them all that often (and who’d blame you) but do make sure they’re secure. If you don’t have a suitable archive room, sort yourself out with document storage faclity that is alarmed, monitored and environmentally controlled like ours. We can even scan or courier documents back to you within a few hours if you’re desperate for something to cure your insomnia.

Photos of yourself from the 80s

We can safely say that unless you’re Kylie Minogue, Charlie Sheen or Eddie Murphy, the 80s probably weren’t all that kind to you. So if that particular photo album happens to catch fire, don’t be too quick to grab the extinguisher. Alternatively, you could put them up around the house as an example to your children, proving that the “sheer dresses” and “statement socks” they think are so TD (ie. “to die”, which is the modern, lazy form of “to die for”) are going to make them blush when they’re in their 40s.

Contractor time sheets

OK, so this one has two answers. Once they’ve been transferred to your accounting system, contractor time sheets should be kept for a year. However, if they’re needed for revenue purposes then you legally have to keep them for six years. If you’re likely to need to access to them quickly, you can either get them scanned and stored off site or make sure your document storage company offers a same day courier service (hint: we do).

Instruction manuals

So you got a snazzy new camera / phone / George Foreman grill and it came with an instruction manual as thick as an average bible. Do you shove it in a filing cabinet so that, should the fuse blow, you know exactly how to replace it? No, you do not. This is 2018 folks. Instruction manuals are accessible online. Just Google the model number of the item in question and you’ll find either an official copy on the brand’s website or, at the very least, a scanned version that some do-gooding soul has thought fit to post as a PDF somewhere.

Quotes

This is another one with two answers. If a quote has been successful then you need to keep hold of it until it’s paid and has been audited. But if it’s been unsuccessful, you should hang on to it for a year. Which seems unfair really – kind of making you relive that failed bid for 365 days. “You lost, sucker – someone else got the deal!” Not nice.

Old love letters

Well now this is a tricky one. On the one hand, if they’re from a previous relationship to the one you’re in now, you might want to ditch them. Having said that, they could form the basis of that romantic novel you’re planning on writing in your retirement under a flouncy pen name, so perhaps it’s worth hanging onto them. Just make sure they’re hidden discretely away.

Whatever documents you need to keep, we’re happy to help. Just call one of the team for a quote – we’ll do all the rest, including providing the boxes, doing the packing and transporting everything to our Bridgwater site.

3 catastrophic business disasters and how to avoid them

No one ever expected the Spanish Inquisition, or so they said. Which is silly really, since the Spanish Inquisition were clearly renowned for popping up out of nowhere and causing mayhem. They may not be around today but there are plenty of other dangers to watch out for if you’re in business today, and in this week’s post we thought we’d work through just a few – and add some ideas about what to do to ensure you don’t face them. Because the best way to deal with disaster is to avoid it. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Deadly data breaches!

Ok so this has always been a thing but since the advent of GDPR the results can be even more catastrophic. These days if someone harvests data from your old tech equipment (not just computer hard drives but things like photocopier and scanner drives), breaches your online security or breaks into your archive room like an old fashioned sneak thief with a bag of swag, you’re looking at a fine that could reach into the millions.

The solution: Store your data securely – for example, in an off-site facility that is alarmed and monitored 24-7 (why yes, we do know of such a place!). And be sure to destroy your data securely, including any sensitive microfiche and microfilm documents, which need special measures to ensure they burn safely.

Crushing cash flow blocks!

We may do most of our transactions online these days but the old adage “cash is king” still holds true. Except we’d probably go with “cash is king or queen” because, you know, equality. For most small businesses – and even a lot of the larger ones – cash flow is a real challenge. Things might look rosy on paper but if the bank manager is on the phone telling you he’s about to cut you off because there aren’t actually any pounds and pennies in your account then you have a problem.

The solution: Because sending the boys round to your debtors with baseball bat is frowned upon in traditional business circles, it’s important to be on top of every penny. Make sure you have all the necessary systems in place and that you can access financial records instantly. That could mean scanning paper documents to create an online database or storing them with a document storage company like us – we barcode all our clients’ documents so they can be found in minutes, and can scan and / or courier hard copies to you straight away.

Fatal fire and flood!

So you might have noticed by now that we get a fair amount of rain in this part of the world. There are pros and cons to our weather, of course. The grass likes it, for a start. And the crops, which is good because it means we have plenty to eat. But there are downsides. Like soggy barbecues, wet dogs and flooding. It’s the latter you’re most likely to be concerned about as a business. And other ‘natural’ disasters like fires, earthquake, volcano eruptions and invasions of killer ants.

Look around your office and imagine it sitting in a meter or more of dirty river water. Or smouldering ash. Or lava. What would be lost? The carpet certainly. Maybe a pot plant or two. Your favourite chair – the one that supports your back in just the right way. And what about your paperwork? If you only have hard copies of your archives then a flood / fire / earthquake can strip you of years of records and make life really very difficult indeed.

The solution: Get them scanned and stored on a secure cloud based system. That way no matter what happens to your office building, your records will be secure. And if you need to keep the hard copies, make sure they’re stored securely in a purpose built unit like ours, which is designed to create as secure a environment for paper documents as is humanly possible.

For help securing your data against potential threat, give one of the team a call today to find out how we can help.

5 questions to ask before choosing a document storage company

Document storage - Scan Film or StoreChoosing a document storage company isn’t a particularly glamorous process. Not like picking out your next sports car or deciding on where to go on a family holiday. But it does require a degree of thought because, let’s face it, boring as it may be to some (not us, obviously) it’s an important decision to get right.

That’s why we thought we’d put together a list of questions you need to be asking any potential document storage provider before you sign on the dotted line. The last thing you want is to finally sort out the clutter in the office only to find you’ve got yourself into a situation where you could have a data breach or can’t get hold of vital documents for weeks at a time.

1) What’s your security like?

This is clearly a pretty fundamental question. After all, the reason you want to store your documents is surely because you want to keep them safe. This is especially true of confidential information, whether that be customer data (you don’t want to annoy the GDPR police!) or top secret company plans that your competitors would be gleefully happy to get their hands on.

At Scan Film or Store our facilities are monitored and alarmed 24/7 so you can be sure that even James Bond himself would have a hard time gaining access to our clients’ documents.

2) Is your storage facility climate controlled?

The thing about paper is that it’s not exactly the most sturdy stuff. Not only can it go up in flames pretty darn quickly, it also has a natural aversion to water. Even air that’s too damp is likely to cause a problem with mould. Then there’s light, which can fade ink, and rodents of all kinds, from rats to wasps. Your documents need to be protected from all of these.

Our purpose built storage unit at Scan Film or Store HQ is specially designed to create the best environment for housing large volumes of paper as well as microfilm, microfiche and so on.

3) How quickly can I get hold of one of my documents?

One of the benefits of having your paperwork in an archive room down the corridor from your office is that it’s relatively easy to get hold of a file at any given point (even if it does set off your dust allergies). If you use an off site storage facility, will you have to wait days to get important documents sent across in the post?

With our barcoding system, finding your files is a piece of cake and we can either scan them and email them across within a couple of hours, or get hard copies couriered over.

4) Is your team security checked?

It’s no use protecting your documents from spies and wannabe thieves if the storage company staff are going to interfere with them directly. It’s vital that the entire storage process is secure from start to finish, from the moment the files leave your office until they’re either returned or securely destroyed.

The Scan Film or Store team have all gone through DBS checking, plus we’ve been security vetted to BS7858 and signed the Official Secrets Act! It doesn’t get more secure than that.

5) Will you come and collect my documents?

This isn’t strictly essential, assuming you have the time, inclination and resources to pack up all your documents and trundle them over to your chosen storage company. But really, why would you bother if you can find a company that will do it all for you? After all, if you’re paying money for storage then you might as well enjoy the process.

We’re old pros when it comes to packing and moving, so let us come over to you and get everything boxed up – we’ll even bring the boxes and tidy up after ourselves. 

If you’re looking for a trusted and reliable document storage company, why not give us a call? We offer a free consultation and quotation service so give us a ring today to see how we can help.

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