Your Documents Your Trust

Facts About Files

Following are some eye-opening facts from various reputable industry sources regarding document handling costs that will assist you in building an ROI for implementing a Document & Data Management Solution (DDMS) in your organization. These facts serve as great reminders of the value of DDMS and are notably relevant given the ongoing tightening of corporate resources.

  • The average office spends $20 in labour filing or retrieving a single document. $120 in labour is spent finding a single misfiled document. $220 in labour is spent recreating a single lost document!
  • 7.5% of all documents get lost, 3% of the remainder get misfiled!
  • The average business document is copied 19 times – over 81 billion sheets of paper are copied each month!
  • There are over 4 trillion paper documents in North America – growing at a rate of 22% per year!
  • Banks have over 16 billion paper documents on file, growing at a rate of 4% per year – 80% of the documents are suitable for imaging!
  • Over $5 billion each year is wasted on printed materials that become obsolete before they are ever used!
  • For every 10 printed pages, only 1 is ever consulted!
  • Only 10% of corporate information lies in structured databases. The remaining 90% – often critical to business processes – lies unmanaged in chaotic file system structures!
  • Professionals spend 5 to 15% of their time reading information, but up to 50% looking for it!
  • A Price Waterhouse study required a paralegal to find 20 documents out of 20,000. After 67 hours of searching, the paralegal found 15 of the requested 20 documents. Given the same task, a Document Management System found all 20 documents in less than 3 seconds.
  • An optical storage device occupying less than 1 square foot, can hold what 200 four-drawer file cabinets can store in 1,000 square feet.
  • Forty to sixty percent of an office worker’s time is spent handling paper, which translates to 20-45 percent of an organization’s labour costs and 12-15% of an organization’s expenses.
  • Studies show that managing digital documents using a service bureau costs substantially less than managing hardcopy documents.
  • A single FAX machine costs $6,200 per year; the average time to manually FAX a document is 8 minutes.
  • The cost of office space has increased 19%.

*sources: Coopers & Lybrand, PC Magazine, AIIM, Imaging Magazine, Inform Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Ernst & Young, Profitability Bulletin, Captaris, Office Space Across the World


Description Paper Digital
Average time to retrieve one file 7 min. 4 sec.
Average time to refile 3 min 0 min
Average total cost of retrieval and refiling $ 2.00 $ 0.20
Average cost of an unavailable file $ 120.00 $ 0.00
Average annual cost of maintaining a file $ 3.44 $ 1.81

(Includes materials, space and labour)

(Information from the Dartnell Institute and ODDSAR Publication. Dollar amounts based on a US $12.00 per hour wage, includes salary, fringe benefits, overhead and taxes.)