International Door & Operator Industry

SEP-OCT 2012

Garage door industry magazine for garage door dealers, garage door manufacturers, garage door distributors, garage door installers, loading docks, garage door operators and openers, gates, and tools for the door industry.

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LEGAL&LEGISLATION Going Paper-less as a Door Dealer My offi ce is a mess. I have various stacks of papers and notepads on my desk, on a secondary desk, on book shelves, and on top of fi le cabinets. Ever so often, I have to spend an hour or so fi ltering through the paper, which has accumulat- ed over weeks or months, to fi gure out what still needs to be saved, and what can be discarded. If I had to rely upon my organizational habits, as refl ected by my offi ce, I wouldn't be able to perform my job as well as I do. The reason why I am able to be so blithe about the state of my offi ce is because of a decision made at our fi rm seven years ago. As the fi rm's copy machine was approaching its last days, the management made the choice to get a new machine that included scanning as part of its functional- ity. Since that machine was installed, the amount of paper being generated and kept in our fi rm has been reduced dramatically. Instead of receiving a stack of paper after the mail is delivered, I get all correspondence, all pleadings, all discovery, and any other document that comes into the fi rm e-mailed to me. The effect of this reduction in the amount of paper being dropped on my desk has been substantial. I am able to carry over seven years of documentation on my laptop, so that no matter where I travel, I have virtually my entire offi ce with me. The costs for our fi rm – less paper, less toner, less storage – have gone down substantially. And I am certainly better organized in terms of fi nding the documents that I need, be- cause of the digital tools that we have implemented. While the tools for law fi rms may be different from those for door dealers, there is no question that the transforma- tion of Safran Law Offi ces into a less-paper business can be achieved by IDA members too. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the tools and methods that could work for you, and the reasons for using them. 14 International Door & Operator Industry™ Making Mail into E-Mail The simplest step for reducing the amount of paper is to digitize the documents that come into your offi ce. A net- worked copy machine with scanning capability can digitize the pages, and then those documents can be delivered and stored electronically. The current multi-function printers can even handle the e-mail distribution of scanned documents directly from the copier control panel, rather than having to go onto a computer to distribute them. Similarly, any mail going out of the offi ce can be processed the same way, so that rather than maintaining paper copies, you can store those copies electronically. In order to make this system work, though, it helps the most if someone is tasked with the unenviable job of organiz- ing the scanned documents – a "document Czar" if you will. In our fi rm, all scanned documents are run through an OCR (optical character recognition) program, so that the contents of the records can be searched by key words. Some modern copiers even have OCR features built in. However, we also have the "document Czar" manually organize the docu- ments into folders on our server, so they can more easily be located by anyone in the offi ce. In our offi ces, this person is the fi rst person called when a document needs to be located, much like a librarian, so those with more basic computer skills don't get frustrated and abandon the digital world. This job should not even require a full-time employee. Rather, the person can be the same person in the offi ce responsible for document retention policies, and who can provide a gentle nudge to those that forget. For a dealer, the organization system may be done by cus- tomer, or by document type. In a given client's folder, they may be subdivided into estimates, invoices, delivery tickets, service records, and the like. The system you use should be Continued on page 17 By Brian J. Schoolman Safran Law Offi ces

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