The PaperLESS Office™ - Easier (and More Important) Than You Think
Talk of the “paperless” office began almost as soon as the first computers and printers started showing up in offices. Document management and document automation were the promise of the future. That dream was never quite realized. In fact, as technology advanced, the flood of paper increased exponentially.
When typewriters and carbon paper were the rule, original documents were labor intensive. Words and pages were used reasonably sparingly, and edits were careful and few, because they meant recreating entire documents or at very least, pages. Suddenly it was easy to create a twenty page document; make multiple copies of it, and distribute it widely, and people did. When it got easy to share documents and collaborate by email, people began distributing drafts even more widely, and “cc’ing” almost anybody who might be interested. “Carbon” copy had practical limitations, the email version has almost none.
So now single document or manual can now exist in multiple versions on several individual computers and shared network drives in multiple businesses, with additional copies on portable devices, and of course…paper copies printed for use, or for filing, by any or everybody who receives it.
Reproducing and storing all of that communication in tangible form – paper in a file – for safekeeping and documentation is a very expensive and time-consuming habit, that is rooted in outdated notions of safety and reliability.
You are probably never going to eliminate paper entirely, but with a PaperLESS Office™, you can spend less time and money managing documents, safeguard your information better and find it faster.
Here are just a few ways a good electronic document management system saves you money:
- Paper, toner, files and printers are expensive. The more you print, the more tangible costs you have. Add envelopes, and postage, the costs go even higher.
- Paper is labor intensive. Opening mail, making copies, distributing, then finding them again for editing or filing, searching for files or documents in files…almost every piece of paper that comes into a business is handled multiple times, by multiple people – and only one person can use that document at a time, without making even more copies.
- Paper is expensive to store and retrieve. Filing takes time, and room. File cabinets, office space or document storage services cost money. Retrieving documents also takes time, and sometimes travel or delay, because to get them, you have to be physically near them.
- Paper is inherently vulnerable. Paper lost to theft, fire, flood or wind events may never be recovered or reproduced. Even smaller damage incidents like rodents, insects, roof leaks and lost files can be expensive and damaging. And if there are many files, a misfiled document is as good as destroyed, because you’ll never find it again.
How a properly designed PaperLESS Office™ serves you better:
- Scanning documents takes only a few seconds at the point of entry
- Scanned documents are filed and distributed at the same time
- Document management makes finding those documents and files easy
- Text searching makes it harder for a file or document to be “lost”
- Electronic documents can be safely backed up and stored, so a lost or damaged file is easily replaced
- Revision history can be stored with documents, so you can “roll back” changes you didn’t intend to make
- Files sharing via remote access, document portals, or cloud services saves time and travel, and may allow for employee telecommuting or faster client service
- Offsite backup and remote access to documents is invaluable for disaster recovery and business continuity plans.
- A buildings full of documents could be stored on a drive that would fit in your pocket – and backed up to a server somewhere else for safekeeping as well. So you can reduce or eliminate those filing cabinets full of dusty paper occupying valuable floor space in your business.
- Time not spent carrying, shuffling, copying, filing, protecting and finding paper documents is more time to improve your business (or more time you can spend not thinking about it)
- Reduced paper = reduced labor. If that time adds up to enough that you have even one extra full or part time employee because of it, reducing it can save you tens of thousands of dollars.
A PaperLESS Office™ is not a specific document management program. It might use a document management system like Worldox, or it might work just as well for you in a SharePoint library or a Windows file-folder structure.
A PaperLESS Office™ can be scaled to any size business and configured to work the way you do. Sometimes, it even eliminates parts of your business workflow and processes that are no longer necessary, freeing up time and money, so you can do what you do…better.