The competition in the manufacturing industry is stronger than ever, making accuracy and speed all the more important. Teams working within the business must come up with efficient ways to improve accuracy and makes sure that products are processed and the services are delivered as quickly as possible. This dire need for speed is putting a lot of pressure on workers and employees and is one of the reasons why it has become so hard to find people with raw talent to complete the challenging task.
One way of ensuring continuous and steady workflow and improve efficiencies within the company is to reduce the use of paper. Going paperless streamlines operations, speed up delivery, and reduce errors.
The Value of Going Paperless
Though not all business find it ideal to go paperless, it is possible for every business to go paperless. To know if this strategy is a good fit for your business, consider the following advantages and find out if your office needs the transition.
1. Going paperless saves time
This is the first benefit if your business chooses to operate without paper. Instead of constantly printing, filing, and looking for these documents at a later date, you can simply retrieve what you need by doing a Ctrl + F on your keyboard. With what’s left of the workers’ time, they can use it for other tasks instead.
2. Going paperless saves space
A sheet of paper won’t take much space, but thousands of them in one spot are a cause for a major headache. Years and years of operation make way for boxes of files to accumulate. All these paper will have to go somewhere, but a common scenario is that they end up overcrowding one or more spaces. If you decide to go paperless, your business will have all the space you and your workers need.
Digital files can be stored in the cloud and take no physical space. You can access them from anywhere, meaning there’s no need to prepare physical file storage.
3. Going paperless allows for better access
Cloud storage has enabled a lot of organizations to be more flexible in a sense that you don’t have to manually retrieve a piece of document back at the office if you need it. Let’s say your business is in Los Angeles and you’re meeting a client in New York City. On Friday afternoon, you find yourself discussing a project with your client but you lack a file you need to show for reference.
So you call your LA office then realize it’s actually 7 pm in the West Coast. Would you wait until Monday to get that file, or ask one of your employees to come in Saturday and help you get the file you need? That’s very inconvenient right there.
If your office is paperless, you can just log in to your cloud account, do a quick search, and show it to the client. Going paperless gives you instant access to whatever you need regardless of where you are in the world.
4. Going paperless strengthens security
Keeping sensitive files in an office presents a lot of danger, whereas keeping them in the cloud means they are secured better. Digital files can be encrypted and protected by several layers of security and only accessible to very few people. This is very timely considering the CCPA deadline is nearing and consumers are very particular with their personal information. You don’t want a breach of any type these days.
If your files are digital, you’re essentially preventing them from getting lost due to fire or theft, which already has happened to a lot of businesses.
5. Going paperless saves money
The EPA says that a paperless office can save approximately $80 per employee yearly. This includes costs related to postage, storage space, toner, ink, and paper. Let’s say your business has 100 employees, that’s $8000 worth of savings in a year, which is already a huge amount for many small businesses.
6. Going paperless helps save the environment
A business has the capability to process more than 10,000 pieces of paper on a yearly basis. That’s like an equivalent of a small tree.
If every business decides to go paperless, we could save one whole forest. Going paperless is environmentally friendly – not only are you helping your business save time and money; you’re helping the whole world too.
How to Go Paperless
The benefits outlined above will definitely benefit any business, because really, what company wouldn’t want to save time, space, and money, while at the same time improving data security? If you believe it’s time for your business to go paperless, here are the things you need to remember:
Where and how will you get rid of old documents?
The transition to becoming a paperless office is challenging. First, you’ll have to ensure that all documents are turned digital. Second, you have to find a way where those old documents will go. You have several options:
- Mark the documents. Marked all the scanned files and organize them based on whatever category they belong in. You can start by checking the date of the document once you’re done scanning it.
- Offsite storage. After everything is scanned, move your files to an offsite storage for a month or two. This will give you enough time to check if everything has been copied and to check if there are any errors in the process.
- Shred and dispose. After you’ve made sure everything is on right track, you can start shredding the documents and dispose of them the right way. Start focusing on your digital storage and make sure that only the authorized people have access.
This approach is enough to give you enough time to recover in case there are errors made in the transition stage. Always double check and be hands-on during this time so you don’t miss a thing.
Let your employees understand
Your workers should always be informed to ensure they are engaged. Before beginning the transition, explain why you’re doing this and help them understand how it can benefit your business. Giving them the reason why you decided to go paperless will bring everyone up in pace with you and help the business transition faster and easier with fewer mistakes.
Be strict and be consistent
Once you decide to go paperless, stand by your decision and impose strict protocol. Be consistent in your efforts and help the team transition with you as well. It may take a while before everybody gets used having to work without paper, but if you’re willing to help your employees, it will be easier for them to adjust.
Make it hard for them to access paper
In your quest to make the transition to becoming a paperless office, ensure that paper isn’t very easy to get or access. Remove printers and fax machines from the office and try to set up dual monitors for each employee so they can access and load several documents at once. Remove printing options from the documents and encourage your workers to enroll in paperless statements. If they can practice the habit at home, they will likely take it to the workplace too.
Going Paperless to Transform Your Business
Of course, transitioning to become a paperless office is not something that can be achieved overnight. Reducing paper dependence can take a while, plus you’ll have to train the entire office to use the cloud to access their files.
But remember that going paperless isn’t a race. Take time to make the full transition and make sure everybody understands your efforts and are with you in the process. In time, the whole organization will see the benefits of going paperless and learn to appreciate it.
In business, time is valuable money. For this change, however, you’ll have to be very patient. You’ll get the monetary gains once the transition is complete.