Quitting paper might sound like a lofty, semi-unrealistic goal for a business — especially depending on your industry and senior management’s philosophies. But even if you start small (e.g., keeping your inbound and outbound faxes electronic) you’re sure to reap some major benefits that will establish a foundation to propel more and more progressive projects throughout your company.
Here’s what we’ve heard our customers say are some of the top benefits of simply quitting paper:
- Doing more with less.
Despite its reputation, automation is typically not a means to slash headcount. Rather, we often hear our customers talk about the ability to repurpose employees to more value-added activities. Instead of having your college (sometimes MBA-level) educated Customer Service Representative (CSR) manually entering your sales orders, they are just quickly validating electronically captured information which frees-up their time to actually serve customers!
- Reducing operating costs.
Hand in hand with the idea of doing more with less comes automation’s ability to reduce operating costs. When your employees dedicate more time to valuable tasks (e.g., serving customers, strategically managing cash or discount management), you’re already increasing the bottom line.
Don’t discount the physical cost of storing, moving and eventually destroying paper documents, either. Paper records cost between 20 to 100 times more to store and manage than their electronic counterparts. Factor in the time and effort spent organizing, retrieving and filing physical documents, you probably won’t even need to read benefits 3-5 to be convinced.
- Focusing on customer experience.
I’m glad you stuck around because customer experience is a huge differentiator! Unless you’re an enormous, multi-national corporation, you have to give your customers/prospects a reason to pick you. Murphy’s Law holds no limits when it comes to paper files. There’s no doubt that priority or rush orders will be located at the bottom of the huge stack in your presently-on-vacation-coworker’s cubicle. In an industry like manufacturing where your supply chain and inventory is changing by the minute, you cannot afford the delay of paper-shuffling.
- Increased security and disaster recovery.
Physical documents don’t have the same restrictions and access limitations as an electronic format. You never know who can end up in which storage cabinet and only be one cell phone snapshot away from crippling your security. Also critical to your company’s credibility and continuity is your Disaster Recovery Plan. I have yet to read a white paper or research article that cites physical document records as a best practice for document recovery. Your document automation provider should be able to prove their security certifications, downtime guarantee as well as redundancy information.
- Make “going green” a reality.
It might sound like a softer benefit, but in some industries, being environmentally friendly is critical to help meeting regulations or a great way to differentiate yourself to your customers. Quitting paper can go a long way in a short amount of time. A recent customer of ours cited they reduced their environmental footprint equivalent to saving three trees, 4,000 liters of water and 400 kg of CO2 by automating just one business process (sales order processing) equating to 30,000 documents per year kept electronic.
Still not sold?! Check out our guidebook that will help you kick your paper addiction. This guidebook is geared toward those financial folks, but is applicable to any department that needs help kicking their paper habit.