Global Information Governance: Cross-border Records Management the Hard [copy] Way

A case study on new technology applied to persistent global records management challenges

Hard copy records continue to be a significant component of corporate information governance programs, particularly for global multinationals. In this case study, we demonstrate that historic challenges endemic to hard copy record maintenance — over- retention and non-defensible disposition, and the related financial and legal impacts — may have evolved to become more manageable. We start by discussing the scenario that one records management group faced, the overarching methodology used to prioritize and organize the records inventory, and then present how a technology-enabled process addressed the site-specific challenges cost-effectively.


The Setting

A multi-national company maintains operations for numerous functions (R&D, manufacturing, accounting, distribution, and sales) in different countries. The company decided to consolidate operations both within countries and across global regions. This required significant 

The project team discussed the appropriate way to address this need. Hiring laborers to review the records required significant time and travel expense, in part because of the logistics required but also because of the risk of improperly categorizing documents.

The Records Retention schedule is developed and maintained to capture the retention periods of all types of records in the organization. In a global records environment, an effective retention schedule should demonstrate the following key elements: 

The project team decided to perform a two-day assessment to physically examine the document storage facility and to gather available institutional knowledge pertaining to the move. As a function of that assessment, two key features of the document store surfaced: (1) most of the binders and other documents were externally labeled reasonably well, either on binder spine or on the first page of a document packet, and (2) the location of the binders on specific racks, shelves and in trailers was instructive to the binders’ content.

 With that information, the Records team helped construct a solution that addressed the majority of the documents and records that needed to be transferred, and that created a transparent records inventory at a lower cost than other available options.



Figure 3

Keys to success


John "Jack" Walker & Elizabeth Jaworski

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