Banking giant Wells Fargo has some 9,000 branches throughout the United States, the average of which is approximately 3,000-square-feet, according to The Washington Post.
That equates to around 27 million square feet of space nationwide, and the company has to manage every paper and electronic process within each of them. But what if there was a way to cut down on the required space?
That's exactly what one Wells Fargo branch in northeast Washington, D.C., did by utilizing paperless document management tools and wireless devices.
"It's a very efficient use of space for us," Jonathan Velline, executive vice president for ATM banking and store strategy at Wells Fargo, recently told the source. "In a 3,000 square-foot store, we would have an area for full-service banking, and a separate area for self-service banking. Here we fit it all in once place."
Employees no longer have designated computers or offices. With everything integrated into the paperless system, workers can access important applications and customer information from any of the mini work areas inside the store, according to the article. This has enabled Wells Fargo to construct a branch that's about three times smaller than the average location.
"We couldn't have been here without this format - there just aren't thousands of square foot of space available in many neighborhoods," Michael Golden, Wells Fargo's regional president for the Washington, D.C., area, told the news outlet.
The steps to a paperless office
Wells Fargo labeled their new branch the "bank of the future." However, for many organizations, the reality is that they can't afford to launch a new branch or completely overhaul their system.
That's not a problem.
There are several other steps these companies can take first, which will allow them to enjoy many of the advantages of paperless document management. A recent Forbes column outlined these initiatives, including:
- Storage: Any company that archives its files and documents will build up mountains of paper, the majorty of which are duplicates or never accessed again. Paperless document management software enables organizations to move all of those files online. Eliminating the need for file cabinets is one way Wells Fargo's new branch only needed one-third as much space before it was built.
- Internal documents: The source noted that incorporating email, invoices, billing and payroll functions into the paperless system saves time and money, and leads to more productive workers.
A recent Daily Monitor blog post discussed the productivity boosts in-depth, as it improves:
- The amount of time spent filing materials, which drops substantially.
- The time it takes to retrieve documents, which can be a nightmare with manual paper processes.
- Accessibility for employees across all departments, even when it comes to viewing important files.
- The sharing of documents, as it becomes a lot easier with everything online.
- Electronic document imaging: Some tools enable workers to scan documents directly into the electronic workflow, which are then captured and automatically converted into PDFs. As the Daily Monitor blog pointed out, this also makes searching for, viewing and retrieving documents easier.