Case study

Reorganization of the archives at the Agraria Koper Agricultural Cooperative

Many organizations face problems with managing and storing documents. They often lack suitable archive premises or they are not suitably set up and no one spends time on them, the documents are deposited in an unsystematic way and no records are kept of the stored documents. Over time, this leads to problems with document retrieval or worse – loss of key business documents, which can slow down or even endanger the organization’s business operations. Agraria Koper Agricultural Cooperative, the second largest general agricultural cooperative in Slovenia by the amount of fruit and vegetables purchased, faced similar problems in the past.

Since 1947, the Agraria agricultural cooperative has brought together producers of fresh fruit and vegetables from three coastal municipalities and today employs over 100 people. It faces an increasing amount of paper documents on a daily basis which are then stored in their own archives in their office building.

Today these archive premises are suitably organised, but a year ago, this was not the case. In three offices, paper documents (accounting and HR documents, contracts, real estate documents, etc.) were stored without a plan or being recorded, as well as old computers and monitors. Because of this organization, or lack thereof, it was difficult and time-consuming to retrieve documents and no-one had a clear overview of what was being stored there. Alenka Teraž from the Agraria Agricultural Cooperative remembers how impossible it was sometimes to find documents.

The disorganization of the old archives was causing headaches

Archive premises before the reorganization

With Article 14 of the Slovenian Farm Land and Forest Fund Act, which touches upon the organization of property regimes between the Fund and owners of agricultural land and forests, the Agraria Koper Agricultural Cooperative had to begin proving ownership of its plots of land. Since the documents in the archives were not well organized, it was extremely difficult and time-consuming to find and retrieve any of the documents needed to prove their ownership.

Agraria was well aware of the problem of archive organization and had been for some time, but it took this particular issue for them to make a thorough change. Robert Fakin, acting as managing director of the Cooperative, was the main initiator behind the reorganization of their physical archives to avoid any further problems. They decided to entrust Mikrocop with the reorganization of their archives.

They followed Mikrocop’s expert advice in the reorganization of their archives

The archives after being reorganized

Our documentarists, experts for working with documentary materials, examined the existing state of the archive premises at the Cooperative, created an inventory of all the documents and proposed a new means of organization. “In the reorganization of the archives we followed Mikrocop’s expert advice and let their professionals take charge,” said Alenka Teraž.

The reorganization went smoothly and the documents are now stored in binders in three separate spaces, whereby a detailed inventory of all the materials was created for each individual space. Roughly, 5,000 binders with documents were identified during the reorganization. After the reorganization was complete, a fifth of the documents were immediately and securely destroyed, as they were no longer needed and their statutory storage period had expired. By organizing the archive premises and removing materials, adequate capacities were freed up to meet future storage requirements.

Now, whatever they look for, they find

Following the reorganization, the archive premises are organized, clean, and all archived documents are easily available. They take great care to uphold the organization, security and accessibility of the archives and documents, while employees can only access the archives when accompanied by the archive administrators.

The creation of a detailed inventory of documents means that is easier to meet archive deadlines and destroy expired documents in a timely manner. The removal of documents takes place once per year in collaboration with Mikrocop, which then ensures the secure destruction of the documents. Furthermore, once per year Agraria adds new documents to the archives that employees have stored during the year in handy archives at their offices. At the same time, they create an inventory of materials that were added to the archives. This ensures that only valid documents are stored in the archives. “We were very happy with the service Mikrocop provided. They always responded quickly and professionally, and the service rendered was always of high quality,” added Alenka Teraž.