Make no mistake about it...insightful and visionary records management business leaders, like James Hill, Managing Director of The Hill Company, based out of the UK, have disruption on their minds.
Every day he asks: “How can our company continue to remain successful and achieve even greater levels of revenue and profitability in a very competitive environment? How do we keep from getting left behind when the next technology shift happens? What can we do to stay ahead of the curve and become even more innovative, efficient and competitive in the marketplace?” These are some of the tough, but necessary questions every record center owner or manager needs to ask on a regular basis, as they look towards the future.
James Hill (“The Disruptor” in this particular case) continues to respond daily with his own records management transformation journey. And while each record center’s transition will be unique, it may be helpful to share some of the challenges James has faced that are consistent across the Records and Information Management (RIM) industry.
The Hill Company, a recipient of O‘Neil Software’s Strategic Partner of the Year Award, provides a wide range of complete storage, retrieval and delivery services for all types of business records, tailored to their customers’ specific requirements. Business records and/or files are accessible to their customers, across a broad market spectrum no matter how small or large, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and can be delivered back to them within 2 hours, if required. Other services offered include deep storage, wills and deeds, scanning, digital media, electronic document and records management, file tracking solutions, consultancy, staff implants, secure confidential destruction and crate rental. The Hill Company has been in the records management business since 1987 and currently stores approximately 2,000,000 plus boxes.
Challenge 1: Anticipate Change
Market requirements change and if record center owners and managers aren’t anticipating change and evolving, they’re stagnating.
The solution? Anticipation.
James notes: “Watching technology trends and getting ahead of them is what has driven our company’s constant evolution, as well as being prepared and agile enough to act when the time is right. It’s the name of the game when it comes to technology. To anticipate and innovate is how companies in their respective industries make a name for themselves. You must be willing to adapt when changes present themselves. This is why we originally chose O’Neil’s records management software, when we decided to automate our record center operations. At the time, we were looking for a robust and proven system within the industry and, in fact, we were the first record center in the UK to utilize O’Neil’s cutting-edge technology.”
Challenge 2: Capitalize on Change
Anticipating isn’t the only challenge Disruptors in general face within their respective industries. They have to take action, change and lead. Without decisive leadership, they’re not going to move their team forward to achieve technological success.
How does a record center know when the time is right? Record center customers are the best barometer for knowing when to explore and invest in change. Record center owners and managers need to pay attention to what their customers would like to see in the way of improving their records management experience, which may require an investment in new technology.
James explains: “The Hill Company started out utilizing O’Neil’s RSWin. Over the years, I noticed the need for us to have an even more powerful and flexible, feature-rich record tracking software that lightened the load on our internal staff and gave our customers more control and access to their offsite records, while still keeping their data secure. Because we wanted to be at the forefront of records management technology, we then upgraded to O’Neil’s RS-SQL®, RSWeb®NET, and RSMobile®.”
James continues: “Utilizing RS-SQL helps us locate our customers’ records when we need them, guaranteeing 100% service accuracy and efficiency, as well as ensuring correct billing and service charges.
By recognizing increased demand for priority deliveries, we also knew we needed to increase the productivity of our warehouse staff. We were the first record center in Europe to have a 100% wireless process, cutting down on trips to a workstation and giving our staff instant access to the information they required wherever they were in the warehouse. This was only possible because of O’Neil’s RSMobile software. We were also the first record center in Europe to use RSMobile scanners in conjunction with GPRS capabilities allowing us to give instant updates to customer‘s records after making deliveries and pickups at their facilities.
Finally, RSWeb.NET has made our record center a true extension of our customers’ operations and provided them with fast, flexible and real-time access to all their business information at any time. This has enabled our customers to take on more responsibility for their records. It also has enhanced their decision-making capabilities, which is what they like and were looking to do.”
He further adds: “Utilizing newly developed tools such as oneilBridge™ has made an impact enhancing the ability of our customers to seamlessly make service requests for pickup and delivery. Even adoption of electric vans within our fleet and the installation of solar panels at our headquarters shows the willingness of The Hill Company to utilize technology to make an environmental contribution.”
Challenge 3: Avoiding Complacency
James recognizes the inherent difficulty of keeping up with the latest technology innovations. It is very easy for organizations to become complacent with the status quo. Being comfortable is the enemy of disruption. On the surface, processes, equipment and technology that appear to be doing a good job can become dated quickly. The result of these difficult to detect shifts can be decreased customer satisfaction, decreased profitability, and lower employee morale.
James summarizes his unique leadership skills to this age old challenge: “Taking the time to stay in tune (especially with technology) requires me to be inquisitive, to study trends, and learn how things are changing. I can’t take anything for granted since our customers and employees are looking to me to set our future path. It really is a matter of relentlessly continuing down the road of disruption in order to provide the highest value possible for our services.”