Most players in the market are talking and thinking about paperless offices, paperless solutions, and processes. Well, you’ve always worked with paper and everything was all right until now. So, why change to a paperless office? Which are the main benefits of having a paperless office?
First of all, imagine how your reputation will increase for being environmentally conscious. Second, as a manual and error-prone process, if not accurately managed, paper has clear negative effects on business efficiency. If you still don’t know if it’s time to do something regarding this issue, check out the different signs that demonstrate the time is now.
Paperless solutions: where environment and business intersect
Regardless of whether a company approaches paper reduction from an environmental or economic perspective, businesses frequently find a high return on investment for their paper reduction efforts. As the examples below demonstrate, any scale of effort can result in worthwhile savings (Source: Business guide to paper reduction – Heather Sarantis – ForestEthics):
- General Electric estimated an up to $10 billion cost reduction in the coming years through digitizing many of its processes. This effort has already helped GE identify approximately $1.5 billion in potential cost-savings.
- Public Service Electric and Gas Company saved 100 tons of paper and $320,000 through the use of electronic communications.
- Legacy Health Systems saved $279,000 in reduced paper consumption by centralizing files, reducing distribution lists, and consolidating forms.
- Lockheed Martin estimates savings of eight million sheets of paper and $250,000 by putting a 100-page .PDF manual on the Internet.
- Bell Atlantic saved 29 tons of paper and more than $60,000 by expanding the use of electronic purchasing orders and invoices.
As these examples indicate, there’s no need for a distinction between paper reduction efforts that are good for the environment and good for the business. The two even amplify each other, while cost-savings will be the most tangible benefit, a reputation for being environmentally conscious is also good for the business.
The goal: a paperless office. Where to start: with a digital mailroom
Managing and searching for documents within organizations carries significant time and costs. Large amounts of content fill up mailboxes and desks every day, containing mixed information with different purposes and destinations. Capturing, organizing, collaborating, storing, searching, publishing and delivering all of it involves high levels of risks unless you count with a completely functional and dematerialized document management solution.
That’s why digital mailrooms are usually a great starting point for a paperless office. A digital mailroom is the automation of incoming mail processes. Using document scanning and document capture technologies, companies can digitize incoming mail and automate the classification and distribution of mail within the organization. Both paper and email can be managed through the same process allowing companies to standardize their internal mail distribution procedures and adhere to company compliance policies.
With a digital mailroom, organizations gain real and advanced capture capabilities that allow achieving long-term business goals more quickly and in a less expensive way. And the earlier in the process that content is scanned, the greater the benefits of electronic routing, process monitoring, and compliance logging. With modern systems, the digital mailroom can also be distributed to branch offices or remote operations, and extended across multiple inbound channels.
Several organizations are already benefiting from it. The latest AIIM study around paper-free processes and paperless solutions, shows that the biggest advantage cited by digital mailroom users is the faster turnaround to customers, eliminating days, if not weeks in the back and forth cycle of correspondence. Reduction or redeployment of staff physically handling mail is the next biggest benefit. The ability to invest in more sophisticated equipment that is shared between multiple operational units results in improved data capture quality for downstream processes, cited by 41%. Then comes immediate access for mobile, telework or outsource staff, able to see the day’s post even when not on the premises. There are also compliance benefits where the logging and tracking of customer correspondence are important.
Have you already started your journey to a paperless office and implemented a digital mailroom? Do you agree with these benefits or have another one? Share with us in the comments!
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