FILE vs. FILE: Funny, It Doesn’t Look Like a Mercedes Gullwing

The $25,000 4-Drawer File CabinetMercedes Gullwing

There are more than 4 trillion paper documents in the U.S. alone, according to a recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Most are still stored in standard file cabinets.

We’re guessing some of these 4 trillion documents are yours. That’s why we’d like to share a simple breakdown of what that lowly storage file actually costs.

Files seem cheap: you can get a standard new 4-drawer for somewhere around $200.

But that’s not your real cost. The PwC report reveals that companies spend $25,000 on average to fill up one file cabinet, and an additional $2,100 a year to maintain it (factoring in staff time, materials and office space.) To add insult to injury, 80% of these now very expensive documents are never accessed again. In fact, and many as 45% of them are duplicates.

4 Drawer File Cabinet

The cost of retaining excess paper is particularly pronounced for manufacturing and distribution companies, who save truckloads of files for legal liability, backup, compliance and to support quality and safety audits.

So, what would happen if you replaced the 4-drawer file with electronic files, managed with Document Management Software?


The Much-Less-Than-$25,000 Document Management Software

E-filing with auto-archiving is perhaps the best reason to invest in Document Management Software.

Electronic document archiving does all the work of the 4-drawer file cabinet, without the cost, labor and duplication. This feature, central to most Document Management Software like our Dash DDX™ platform, automatically pulls your most common documents and files together in one organized central place. And, it stores and archives them independently from your ERP system.

Documents are instantly captured and categorized; encrypted for security and compressed. You can house up to 1,000,000 documents in as little as 70GB of space—and store them (with backups) on your own server or to a designated off-site service in the cloud. A standard 4-drawer cabinet holds about 10,000 documents. So, it would take 10 file cabinets to physically store the same documents…about the cost of a tricked-out Mercedes Gullwing.

One customer, a CFO from a manufacturing company, can prove the point. He has been tracking the data and reports his company has cut paper usage and filing by 75% in less than a year. (Note how well his actual bottom-line impact aligns with the PwC research.) In addition, the firm has been able to do away with all but one of their file cabinets, thanks to Dash DDX software.


And the extra room? Let’s just say it’s room for growth.