As more people look toward sustainability and factoring it into their individual choices, owners and businesses are also looking for ways to go green. Although there are plenty of motivations for a company to go green, it is often good for their bottom line and makes them appealing to environmentally-minded customers. Significantly reducing the amount of paper used for business, by going “paperless” offers practical advantages as well. If you run a contracting business, here are some considerations for reducing paper dependence.
Improved Bottom Line
Think about any office you’ve ever worked in and all the materials, equipment and storage required for hard copies. Using less paper means less money spent on supplies and purchasing or leasing photocopiers and printers. This not only includes the costs of the machines themselves, but also costs on supplies and parts repair and replacement. Moreover, accumulation of hard copies requires storage. File cabinets are bulky and take up space. A reduction in paper storage saves you from having to acquire additional square footage in a building lease or purchase for file cabinets and other document storage furniture.
Better File Management
As a contractor, you understand that there are many documents that must be generated, shared and logged for the duration of one project, let alone several. In construction, managing documents is almost as important as erecting a facility correctly. You have to keep track of bid information, contracts, blueprints, specifications, payroll sheets, reports, submittals, requests for information, schedule updates, material delivery tickets, daily work reports, and change order requests, etc. An electronic-based document control system helps you keep track of all correspondence for better organization, indexing, recall and sharing. Look into specialized construction document management software to cut down on the paperwork and streamline project communications.
At Your Fingertips
Reducing paper through electronic storage and information sharing puts your information within easy reach. Whether you’re at the office or on the other side of the country, you can retrieve important files quickly. You don’t have to concern yourself with carrying files, exposing them to the risk of being lost or destroyed. A paperless filing system usually facilitates indexing and organization, which helps facilitate document recall. You don’t have to dig through a file cabinet or storage boxes trying to find an old invoice or receipt.
Using electronic communications and document control solutions helps make your workflow more efficient. For example, electronic daily work reports generated by a superintendent or inspector can be reviewed and approved quickly by a remotely located project manager or supervisor. This spares the time and expense associated with driving to and from a project. Electronic document management facilitates automation of work processes. It provides an opportunity to keep track of user access. You can see not only who has accessed a particular file, but also track what changes and edits have been made. In construction, a report may change hands from a foreman to a superintendent to a coordinator to the project manager to an owner’s representative and back. Keeping track could be very crucial to project completion.
The United States is the second largest consumer of paper worldwide. By reducing your reliance, you help to lower the environmental demand for paper production. This will also be important to your business as more owners and clients look for ways to go green. It will be helpful and potentially lucrative to have a company practice that aligns with that of your customers.
There are many advantages that come with going paperless. It saves you money by minimizing the need to purchase office supplies and expensive copiers and printers. You’re able to better manage important project documents at every stage of a construction project. Going paperless lowers the risk of loss or damage to important files. Information sharing and access is idealized in an electronic document system. You also support sustainability and eco-conscious business practices which continue to evolve as a growing preference among your clientele.