By: Klaus-Dieter Wurm - November 2, 2012

As someone who has spent his life thinking about and working with numbers and metrics on a tight schedule, I like to get straight to the ROI, so here are 3 simple metrics to estimate what your current document storage system may be costing your company.

These metrics will help you measure the effectiveness and economic impact of your existing storage system, and help you budget towards the changes your company needs.

Distance to Files & Documents

Distance is time, and time is money. How far do your employees need to move to search and file the documents they need? You can estimate the time used every day: take the average salary of your company’s office employees, and calculate the money your company pays for employees walking around the office.

Time to Access Files & Documents

Maybe your document storage system is physically close enough to your company’s employees and they are able to reach the storage system quickly. But how long does it take to reach the needed files? Do they need to move multiple boxes to get to the right one? Do they need to search through multiple folders to find the file? Do they need to go up and down stairs to access certain storage areas? Again, we are talking about time, and time is money. You should perform the same exercise again and estimate this cost to your company.

Now that you know the economic impact these two metrics have on your company, you can begin to research superior methods for the storage of document files. And based on the time and money that could be saved, the budget follows.


How much space are your files taking up? You know the cost of each commercial square foot of space, so now calculate the cost to your company to store those files.

But how can document storage space be reduced when the volume of the paper can’t?

In the era of electronic files and paperless processes, why is your company still generating so much paper? Calculate the total cost of your document storage system - including transit times, storage times, retrieval times, space, print, paper and boxes - and compare the cost against the electronic solutions. Don’t forget to include the time it takes to scan and upload the electronic files for a true and real comparison!

A properly designed document storage system can greatly benefit any company. It becomes a powerful tool for every company, allowing employees to stay organized, prioritize their work, and successfully complete their tasks in a timely manner.

Now it’s time to start measuring the efficiency of your Document Storage System!

Klaus-Dieter Wurm, VP and Managing Director of Materials Handling Division at SSI Schaefer, is a Leading Expert in Supply Chain. He can be reached at