Industry Market Trends
Expert's Corner: How to Preserve and Recover Documents After a Disaster
November 26, 2013
In his latest Expert's Corner, Michael Keating outlines ways that manufacturers can preserve important documents after a disaster. This is Keating's fifth in a series on disaster planning and recovery. Future installments in his disaster series will cover disaster preparation training for manufacturers and web resources and disaster guides for manufacturers. After record-breaking rainfall sent floodwaters from the Cumberland River into downtown Nashville three years ago, a Tennessee state government warehouse stood in four feet of water. Thousands of critical documents archived by state's Supreme Court and various agencies were damaged or destroyed. Such a disaster could leave a manufacturing company reeling or even pushed to the brink of bankruptcy. It's crucial that documents be readily available to a business after a disaster, said Scott Byers, CEO of information management service EDM Americas. Every company needs to take steps to mitigate risk with their documents and other information to avoid major disruptions, expenses, and regulatory fines, he said. All businesses rely on paper documentation, said Tom McGuire, managing director/president of The Solutions Co., a Cocoa Beach, Fla., company that specializes in document recovery. Such documents as factory drawings, sales records, and personnel files could be critical to the continuing operations of the business after a disaster, he said. "There are more than 5 billion boxes of documents stored in North America, alone," McGuire said. "Will we ever truly be a paperless society? Probably yes, but not for decades into the future." In the meantime, manufacturing executives need to plan for disasters and vital document recovery, he said. "Not planning for a disaster is a disaster in itself," he said. "Having a disaster recovery plan is a key component in successfully navigating problems when they occur." McGuire recommends that a document recovery plan include:
- Finding a qualified professional document restoration company.
- Stabilizing the damaged materials by freezing damaged documents with a vacuum freeze-drying process. Freezer trailers or a freezer storage facility are employed in the process. Stabilizing the materials prevents further damage and buys time should the decision-making process require more input.
- Completing an inventory count of all damaged materials.