Waste at Work - Paper Usage in the Office


U.S. businesses use a lot of paper every year, consuming more than 5.2 million tons in 2010. And all of that paper has to go somewhere – in file cabinets, through the mail, to billing firms or out to clients. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that managing paper is a costly process for a lot of companies, as organizations with 10 locations accumulate more than $10,000 per year on shipping costs alone.

From manual labor to fees for lost files, managing paper documents is typically both time-consuming and expensive. Companies spend an average of $20 in labor to file every document away, and 80 percent of those papers are never looked at again.

Despite the technology that exists today, file cabinets and document storage account for more than half of office space in the United States. An average employee uses approximately 10,000 pieces of paper every year, more than 1,400 of which aren’t even needed. For companies, this leads to an additional $80 in expenditures per individual, money that for both large and small companies could be better spent elsewhere.

Businesses are also building up massive fees due to lost documents. On average, organizations misplace one out of every 20 paper documents. This leads to an extra $20 in labor costs searching for each lost document and 25 hours spent recreating the lost file. Over the course of a year, every worker spends a total of six days simply looking for misplaced documents.

So how exactly can document management help? For one thing, it can save an enormous amount of time. Through the electronic workflow, employees can quickly find documents, and they won’t ever have to recreate lost files again. In addition, these systems cut down on office space needed for storage while boosting security.

All of these factors can combine to produce massive cost savings for businesses, making document management a no-brainer.