Between storage obligations, paper chaos and office frustration – Can a digitalized agricultural office help? topfarmplan explains what constitutes a digital agricultural office, what the advantages and disadvantages are, and gives us tips on how to implement it.
… but does that make the agricultural office digital? No, because only a (small) portion of daily mail comes and goes by mail. Standard office processes continue to rely on paper. The idea of the digital agricultural office, on the other hand, wants to get by without paper chaos as far as possible in the work processes by doing almost everything on the PC or smartphone. The technology used by topfarmplan is based on a document management system, or DMS for short, which keeps all documents and processes organized and makes them easy to search. This saves time and, of course, money.
Smartphones and tablets also turn the digital office into a mobile agricultural office. This means that work can be done quickly on the road, saving a few trips to the office and enabling many tasks to be completed on the side, for example directly on the tractor. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?
‘Isn’t there a catch too’ you ask?
Of course, you have to set up such a system first and start filing receipts digitally. Old receipts are often left untouched by this, so you’ll still need to refer to folders from time to time. However, if you continue to work with the digital system, you will quickly notice how much easier it is for you to do your office work. And when old documents aren’t subject to retention, you’ll eventually have everything in one place and searchable. So over time, the benefits of the digital farm office quickly outweigh the paper clutter. We’ve written a blog post about more pros and cons before on our site – feel free to stop by here if you want to dive deeper into the benefits consideration: More advantages and disadvantages of the digital agricultural office.
If the documents are filed digitally, however, they must not be disposed of afterwards by any means. So-called “replacement scanning” can only be carried out under the strictest conditions and is not really feasible in practice under these conditions. It is recommended that paper originals continue to be archived in compliance with the statutory retention periods (for an overview, see here: Retention obligations in agriculture). When filing, the use of a Paginier stamp can be useful, as it creates the link between the original and the digital document.
The path to a digital agricultural office is easier than you might think. The important thing is to take the plunge and get to grips with the issue in the first place, and then to keep at it. After all, a new work process must first become established.
We wish you every success and are happy to answer any questions you may have. You can find more tips on office organization and digitization on our blog.
Your topfarmplan team
In an interview with the german magazine Agrarheute, NDL project manager Luisa Möller and journalist Norbert Lehmann discuss what the challenges are in terms of usability, obstacles to digitization, data protection hurdles and how widespread the acceptance of farm management systems is.