The Probation Department in Sherburne County in Minnesota is unlike any other local government office, except now it has much less paper lying and flying around. Jim Boyle, editor of Star News, writes about why there is suddenly an abundance of space where there previously was none, thanks to scanning services.
File cabinets have been disappearing from the probation department at the Sherburne County Government Center.
No one is worried, though.
The culprit has been the department’s successful transition to a paperless document management system, which was approved last November by the Sherburne County Board and has resulted in mass shreddings ever since.
Eventually, all old files will become electronic. New documents coming into the department are being entered and scanned straight into the paperless management system to conserve on time, energy and money.
Riding the winds of change
After Anoka and Dakota Counties went paperless some years ago, Sherburne County decided to give it a try. They have already spent more than $70,000 to migrate their existing detainee files to digital. There was some resistance and a lot of “what ifs” at first, but once the system was up and running, the deputies and clerks started to sing a different tune.
Not missing the old days
Deputies reminisced how they had to pile up stacks of paperwork before being able to process a detainee. Now they just fill in a few fields, hit “send” and everything they need is on screen. What’s even better is the fact that deputies can pull up the information from their laptops out in the field or from their desktop at home. Operations have definitely been streamlined.
Less use for paper
Since new documents are scanned and indexed, and are accessible from their workstations, the county clerks are glad the shuffling of papers is a thing of the past. Everything is backed up and stored offsite and online by a tech service provider in case of emergencies. Paper supply budgets and postage costs have gone down drastically.
There are still more counties in the state and in other states that haven’t made the change yet, but efforts to spread the advantages of scanning and the benefits of a paperless operation continue. Document management companies like Spectrum Information Services are the key firms to approach to attain a paperless environment.
(Source: “Paperless system saving money, creating space”, 03 October 2014, Star News)