ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Document Management System - Is Yours Really a System?

Updated on May 18, 2013

Do You Waste Time Looking For Files?

Nothing wastes time more than a bad filing system. Say, for example, you need to look up a file on an insurance matter Do you look under “I” for insurance, “A” for Allstate, or “C” for claim. After 15 minutes, you have finally retrieved the document.

Everybody Has an Opinion on Where Documents Get Filed

There is no hard and fast rule that determines where stuff gets filed, although business schools have recommended methods. The fact of life is that each person in your office who files things uses his or her intuition. So the person who filed the insurance claim information did so because he had a gut feeling that it should go under a certain category. That is the problem with most filing “systems;” they are not systems but whim-driven opinions. Unless the person looking up the file is driven by the same whim as the person who filed it, you are in for a time-consuming journey.

The Problem of the Former Employee

When a person whose job included filing leaves a company, that person’s filing system goes with him. “We have our annual meeting next week and I can’t find where Joe filed the attendance list.” Have you ever heard something like that? Former employees are often scorned because nobody can find where they filed stuff. They shouldn’t be. They were just doing what most filing systems demand: file by whim.

Because most of our documents are now in digital format and are filed on a hard drive, the problem is less severe than it was a few years ago. Anything that is sent out from an office exists somewhere on the server or a local hard drive, and is therefore searchable. But the problem still exists for incoming documents. Some companies have a policy of scanning all incoming papers. The problem with scanning is that a good high- speed scanner is expensive and, for digital searching, you are at the mercy of the current state of optical character recognition—one smudge, and the document may never be retrievable. Even without smudging, a scanned pdf document is seldom searchable.

A Solution—Attach Keywords to Paper Documents

When I owned my own company my employees did the filing. What I never realized, because I didn’t have to, was that I had absolutely no talent for filing. After I sold the company I still had many business interests and activities. I set up shop in my own house. Filing was a nightmare! I was so bad at it that I took the path of least resistance: I didn’t file but just let stuff pile up in boxes. Then came the day of reckoning: I had to retrieve a document. I spent the day doing just that. This is poor time management. With the right filing system you are not just managing time, you are creating more time.

Pure serendipity saved me. As I was struggling with my increasingly chaotic office I received an e-mail solicitation for software that promised that I could find a document in “five seconds, guaranteed.” I ordered it immediately. That was 10 years ago; the software is The Paper Tiger; I use it to this day and can’t imagine doing without it.

How The Paper Tiger Works

First, be assured that you don’t need to learn a new theory or philosophy of filing: it’s a lot simpler than that. Once you’re done setting up the new system you can find any piece of paper in “five seconds, guaranteed.” They promised that 10 years ago and it’s true to this day. Here’s how to do it:

  • Numbered files replace alphabetical files. First you go out and buy a lot of hanging files, along with the clear plastic file name stickers. You then open the file drawer and start with the first file. Let’s say it’s called “Abernathy Fuel Company.” You replace Abernathy Fuel Company with the number “1.” Now you go to the software screen where you will be asked for the LOCATION of the file. You simply type in “First cabinet on south wall” or whatever appropriate descriptive name you come up with. You then type in a name for the file. You then go to the next screen—and this is the killer part of the software, and you list as many keywords as think may be helpful in retrieving the file. So with the Abernathy file, now known as file #1, you would put: fuel, oil, Abernathy and maybe utilities. When you want to retrieve the file just type on any of the keywords and you are told to go to file #1.
  • Local or cloud based. You can buy the software just for your computer or get a network version.
  • Does it take work setting up the new system? Yes, it does. It took me three full days converting over to Paper Tiger. For a company, depending on the size of course, it may take a week or two. It’s best done with two people. The Paper Tiger people will give you a list of consultants who will manage the project for you. But once you’re done, you’re done. If a new matter shows up that needs a new file, just pick a location and you will be told that the next file is, say, 322.
  • What about computer files? Paper Tiger now has a module that enables you to connect your Paper Tiger Online account to Google Docs. You can still index your paper files and other physical items such as books and manuals into Paper Tiger Online. Then you can use Google Docs through a Google or Gmail account for your digital file storage.

In a recent article I wrote about saving time by letting your desk clean itself. The paper Tiger makes this time management chore a breeze.

I have no business relationship with The Paper Tiger: I just love their stuff. Their website is extensive and informative. Check it out. (Don’t forget the “the”).


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • rfmoran profile imageAUTHOR

      Russ Moran - The Write Stuff 

      6 years ago from Long Island, New York

      The great thing is that it requires little or no thought, which is a great thing in my case.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestions! I may be one of the worst filers around; Bev does our filing and thank God for it. I will pass this on to her, and will use it myself.

    • lindacee profile image

      Linda Chechar 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      I spent a number of years in administrative positions (I also worked for a company that sold filing supplies and systems) and in each job, I invariably revamped the previous person's filing system to suit my needs. The Paper Tiger eliminates the personal preference method of filing and makes files easily accessible to everyone in the office. Great product and Hub!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)