In the extremely competitive business market, finding and eliminating inefficiencies can be the secret to getting ahead. One of the greatest sources of inefficiencies is also one of the most common things found in the office: Paper. An office with an effective paperless document management system can eliminate much of that waste, saving time, money and the environment.
An initiative by the Association of Information and Image Management declared Nov. 6 World Paper Free Day, asking individuals and businesses to go paper free for one day in the name of efficiency. The "holiday" can provide a company with the opportunity to examine its own paper usage and to make changes.
"The average office worker uses 45 sheets of paper per day."
According to WRAP, a non-profit dedicated to waste reduction and sustainability, the average office worker uses 45 sheets of paper per day. In a paperless office, that number can be reduced to as little as 16, a 65 percent decrease. Office supplies are not necessarily a major component of a company's bottom line, but a decrease in cost of that magnitude is significant.
Each sheet of paper costs more than money. According to the Sierra Club, the United States produced 20.7 million tons of paper in 2014, using between 55 million and 110 million trees. In an era where everyone is trying to go green and reduce their carbon footprint, cutting down on the number of trees used for making paper can be a big step.
With a paperless document management system, a company can become greener and save money at the same time.
Using a paperless office platform allows easy access to all documents by all employees. They can search the company database without opening multiple applications, or digging through messy, complex paper files.
Shifting to electronic documents and records management has saved the employees of Monterey County, California, time and increased the level of service they can provide, according to a release from the companies that helped with the transition. Electronic records mean that workers don't have to search for paper files, or take the time to physically send those files from one office to another.
The shift has also allowed Monterey County to serve citizens better by streamlining the time it takes to complete an action. This was accomplished by automating critical tasks associated with civic functions for land management, licensing, asset management, and public health and safety.
Space, the final frontier
An electronic workflow platform can also save space. Before PC World writer Christopher Null went paperless in his own home office he had a six-drawer filing cabinet weighing 194 pounds taking up space, largely full of documents he would never need again.
At an average of 45 pages per day, per worker, a company can fill up space in filing cabinets and other document storage solutions in a hurry. That much documentation takes up valuable space that could be put to better use. Electronic document imaging means that finding a document is as easy as a computer search rather than time spent digging through mountains of paper inside phalanxes of filing cabinets.