Reducing Paper Consumption and Reliance Through Automation and other Web-based solutions

In our a previous post we discussed the savings and benefits to efficiency that a paperless office can bring. By, digitizing your business processes can not only help to green and simplify your workplace, but it could also potentially save you thousands.

Benefits of a Paperless Office

One of the most significant advantages to reducing your paper consumption, through automation, is that if, for example, your company has multiple locations, you can eliminate the need associated with storing and filing documents on-site, through an online document management program which can ensure that all of your branch offices has access to the latest version of the document or file; all of which can improve your company’s efficiency and productivity. Now, even if you have only one single location, electronic files can still be beneficial by allowing your remote employees the ability to retrieve any of the same files. Another reason why paper files are a thing of the past is that they hurt your bottom-line. This is because, unlike automated files, paper documents are not free and are more difficult to be kept safe and secure, not to mention can take up a lot of space; all of which can affect costs.

Now here are some ways that you can start eliminating paper usage and reliance:  

1) Electronic Document Management Systems:

Is a software that can be used to store files in electronic archives; saving you on filing cabinets and floor space. Such practices will also ensure that your information is kept organized, secure, and available at anytime from any place to anyone (that has permission). With a document management system software; indexing, storing, retrieving, distributing, collaborating, searching, editing, and publishing can all be made more easy, conveniently, and cost-effective.

2) Online Post Offices or Digital Mail Solutions:

Digitization of postal mail – provides online access of scanned contents and can save you a vast amount of money by reducing your need for paper, envelopes, stamps, and so on.

3) Ask vendors to invoice you electronically

Electronic invoice and presentment and payment, also known as EIPP, is not only an environmental alternative to paper-billing, but it is also more secure and cost-effective. Issuing and receiving payments on invoices over the internet can make your business processes more efficient, flexible, and productive. 

4) Have staff use a service such as justthebill.com when preparing expense reports

Instead of having to search through piles of paper for receipts and/occupying your precious time with time-consuming data entry, you can now have every one of your expenses organized and managed in an online dashboard like this one. At the end of the day, a digitized system like this can even make your accountant’s life easier.

5) Scan Contracts & other Important Hard-Copy Documents to PDF.

PDFs are great tools for reducing paper consumption and dependence. PDFs make document sharing, creating, editing, storing, and retrieval at a later date, much more convenient. However, you may want to store both the converted electronic and paper version of the document, for the first little while, until you are confident “letting go” of paper.  

6) E-Fax

By setting up an e-fax account, you can have your faxed documents come conveniently to your email account instead of your office. This way, not only do you save paper, but you also save money from not having to purchase/use your business’ fax machine, ink, and so on.

These six examples are a few of many different methods of reducing paper consumption in order to streamline your business. As a general rule you should search for automation systems that you think can help your business, Gravit-e Techonolgies can help with this task.

As a final though, here are some facts derived from ForestEthics.org, a nonprofit environmental organization, who which sheds some light about moving towards a automated paper less system.

  • an average mid-sized firm spends between $40,000-60,000 just on filling cabinets.
  • Office misfiling averages around 3% for all paper materials–incorrect filing can cost a firm around $120, depending on the document.
  • More than three-quarters of all printed materials get eventually misplaced or lost.
  • Posting documents can be a huge expense especially if you are dealing with larger files.
  • A Lawrence Berkeley Labs study estimates that the cost per ton of handling paper is 20 times the cost of purchasing it and 200 times the cost of throwing it away.
  • In 2001, General Electric announced that due to their recent efforts to replace their paper consumption with automated processes, they expect to save to $10 billion in the following years.

 

Have other creative paper-saving ideas? We want to hear about them.