I have always felt that one way records & information managers could enhance
> their value to the organizations they serve is to move from being a cost
> center to a profit center.
There is some value to this proposition, but a lot of it depends on the
"business of the business" you're in. Another way to think of this is not
to consider RIM as a "cost center" or a "profit center", but rather a means
of cost avoidance or risk management. If there are known requirements to
retain records for certain periods, AND business needs that exceed those,
RIM can offer a centralized location for the storage of these records in
whatever form or format they exist. In most cases, this can be done at a
reduced cost, as the location can be remote from the higher per square foot
cost of typical office space, allowing for reuse of that space. It can also
be accomplished in a denser storage environment, designed specifically for
storing records. This may include the use of compact shelving systems, box
storage to greater heights, media safes designed to offer higher levels of
protection in smaller areas, or any number of other options. It can also be
done by staff specifically trained to manage records and dedicated to
providing this service to an entire organization, rather than as a piece of
a job of a number of people distributed throughout the organization.
One way to do this might be to offer to maintain records for the clients
> they serve re: the core service they have provided that client. For example,
> I have seen architectural/engineering firms list "recordkeeping" as one of
> their services.
And if you consider doing this, you need to consider the risks associated
with it. You need to have clear, concise contracts detailing the types and
levels of service being provided and the liabilities both parties accept as
a part of this agreement. There are privacy concerns, commingling of
records of numerous clients, fire, theft, damage and hazard protection,
after hour service, delivery, copying, and a host of other issues. Serious
concern needs to be given to the potential return on investment of offering
the storage of records as a business proposition before entering into it,
especially if its not your primary line of business.
I was wondering if any of the list members have added "recordkeeping" as a
> billable service to clients, and how you accomplished this.
When I was operating a consulting business whose primary line was business
process analysis, records management systems and vital records programs
design and business continuity planning, I offered record storage as a
service to my clients. I stored media in safes offsite (vital records
protection), had warehouse space for boutique storage (up to 500 boxes per
client) and also did folder level storage in locked cabinets for semi-active
records. It wasn't the "meat and potatoes" of the business, but it provided
a solid, routine, income component. But, as mentioned, it wasn't without
some risk. Fortunately, I had a good tracking system and could prove when
records had been delivered to a client that hadn't been returned, because
with one client, they were constantly re-requesting files that had been
removed from storage and returned to them.
RIM Professional since 1972
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