Four Pain Points to Look out for When Going Paperless

Wadih Pazos October 1, 2021

Four Pain Points to Look out for When Going Paperless
Document Management
Blog
A paperless office is an ideal to strive for, and many businesses could benefit from a more paper free environment. The advantages of a paperless office are myriad and allow a company to save time, money and be better for the environment.

Reducing paper around the office can save a company a great deal of money. Between purchasing paper and ink for printing, paying employees to file and retrieve documents created both internally and externally, and paying for the space to store it all, JP Morgan estimates that using paper documents costs a business more than $1 per sheet, according to a GreenBiz.com report.

Paper documents cost a company time as well. Manually searching through filing cabinets for a document is a labor-intensive process that makes workers less efficient at their assigned tasks by taking them away from the things they are supposed to be doing.

Lastly, paper is bad for the environment. Each piece of paper comes from a tree, and so paper wasted means more trees cut down. But paper processes hurt the environment in other ways, like emissions from vehicles used to transport paper documents from place to place, and the energy used to light and control the temperature in office spaces that do nothing more than house rows of filing cabinets.

Clearly going to a paperless system is the future of business, but it’s not as simple as declaring yourself paperless. Companies looking to make the jump should be aware of a few pain points that can slow down or derail the process of moving from a paper heavy office to a paper light one.

Equipment upgrades

Going paperless will potentially involve a lot of new technology around the office. A paperless process requires document scanners, mobile workstations like tablets and smartphones, and a computer based system to digitally store and manage all the formerly hard-copy files.

Upgrading the office can therefore be a high cost process in the short term as those hardware and software systems aren’t free. Though the initial costs may be steep, there will be ROI as the paperless processes take hold and cut down on business costs.

Training on the new systems

Moving from a document-heavy process to a paperless one is not as simple as merely replacing the steps of the manual process with digital ones. The way in which various business process are performed will fundamentally change. If employees aren’t properly trained on the new systems when they are brought online, they will inevitably end up costing more money through errors and inefficiencies.

Take the time to make sure everyone is on the same page before updating business processes to paperless ones. Employees that aren’t maximizing the new systems don’t help the office get more efficient, which should be the goal of any paperless system.

Digitizing current files

Often the first step in going to a paperless system involves clearing out the existing files and digitizing them. That can be a very time intensive process, especially if a company is paper heavy to begin with and has lots of documents on file. Taking up employees’ time with the scanning and sorting of digital files can be inefficient and cost a company money in the short term according to a post by Andy Morley on Business 2 Community.

To mitigate the issues, invest in a high speed scanner that can churn through documents. There are also companies that specialize in digitizing files that can be engaged to allow a business to keep its employees focused on their tasks and not scanning and inputting new files.

Too much at once

Going paperless will be a major change to how every facet of an organization works. If a company tries to move every department to paperless simultaneously, the resultant upheaval can paralyze an organization.

Roll out your paperless processes in stages. Start with one or two departments and be sure that they are up and running on the new systems before you branch out into other parts of the company. Bringing everyone along slowly will allow for the fewest mistakes and issues as the team adjusts to the new way of doing things.

Wadih Pazos

Wadih founded PairSoft and PaperSave, and he currently advises non-profits on business process improvement and technology.

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