Wadih founded PairSoft and PaperSave, and he currently advises non-profits on business process improvement and technology.View all posts by Wadih Pazos
Wadih Pazos • December 15, 2015
Most organizations aren’t doing anything to address paper usage either. A blog post by Association for Information and Image Professionals President John Mancini said that a mere 35 percent of businesses have a specific plan in place to attempt to reduce paper usage.
This lack of institutional will to remove paper from day-to-day processes is causing companies to waste both time and money. This dependence also leads to mistakes and errors that could be corrected with a paper-free system.
Paper is expensive. Though one ream is not a tremendously large investment, it just scratches the surface of the cost of using paper as the foundation of workflow. A paper-heavy process means the financial burden of paying for – and maintaining – printers, fax machines and copiers. According to Referral MD, Chanel No. 5, one of the world’s most expensive perfumes is cheaper per ounce than the ink inside one of these machines.
It also costs money to keep and file all of the paper a business accumulates. The source noted that it costs about $20 per document for filing and storage, counting the employees and the office space needed to house it. As that paper keeps piling up, the costs associated with it go up as well. The source also estimated that for every 12 filing cabinets a business has, an extra employee is needed to deal with filing and searching through records.
An electronic document storage system that uses the hard drive of a computer, a network drive or the cloud is much cheaper and easier to maintain. Storage to hold tens of thousands of files costs only a few dollars per month. A business with a large number of stored records in filing cabinets can also save money by using less physical space once those records are transferred to electronic ones. Once the filing cabinets are rendered unnecessary, a company might be to capitalize better on the space they have.
The wasted money and employee time is not the only reason to consider switching to a paperless process in the office. Paper filing leads to more errors and security risks than the electronic equivalent.
Referral MD said that 15 percent of all documents are misfiled, and 7.5 percent of them are never found again. Those numbers might not seem like much, but for a company that deals with criminal records or health information, it is a scary reality that a percentage of their records will be lost to sloppy filing.
A computerized filing system will eliminate many of these issues. In a paperless office, documents coming into the business are scanned upon arrival and placed into the electronic database where they can be accessed by any employee that needs them. Files created in this way are stored automatically and alphabetically by the system, and are therefore much easier to retrieve.