Going paperless has a ton of benefits for operational teams. The most obvious one has to do with finances.
Simply put, managing physical documents is too time-consuming and expensive.
According to Formstack:
- US companies spend up to $120M annually on printed documents.
- It costs an average of $20 to file a paper document, $120 to find misfiled documents, and $220 to recreate a lost document.
- A simple, four-drawer filing cabinet with the capacity to hold up to 11,000 documents costs about $1,500 per year.
Then you also have to take into consideration the printers, toner cartridges, paper, writing tools, shredders, and so much more.
All this, not even talking about the opportunity cost.
So, going paperless clearly has a huge impact on your financial numbers within your operations.
But as you’re about to find out below, this is only one of the many reasons why you should go paperless.
Below, we’ll cover some other non-financial reasons to go paperless.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Switching from Physical Documents to Paperless Documents to Paperless Electronic Document and Record Management System (EDRMS)
- Top 6 Non-Financial Benefits of Paperless Operations
- Next Steps For Operations Teams To Go Paperless
Switching from Physical Documents to Paperless Documents to Paperless Electronic Document and Record Management System (EDRMS)
EDRMS is a type of software application that is used to manage electronic documents and records centrally throughout its lifecycle, from creation to destruction.
It involves the secure and systematic management of unstructured or semi-structured data, statistics, information, and documents.
Practical examples of EDRMS include tools you probably use daily, such as:
- Google Drive.
- Google CloudSearch.
- Microsoft OneDrive.
- Microsoft SharePoint, and so on.
For businesses and organizations seeking a solution that allows them to unite paper and digital documents, electronic document management systems (EDMS) are an excellent solution.
Although EDRMS utilizes paperless documents as one of its main features, you might not have to abandon printing entirely.
Core industries like healthcare providers, banks, utility companies, and more are still required to send documents by mail, depending on the industry and compliance regulations. Alternatively, they balance between paper and digital documents.
However, EDRMS could be suitable for companies looking to automatically process standard documents (e.g. Word, PDF, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) and optimize workflow management. This would ultimately help your organization quicken the process of Reviewing, approval, lockdown, and publication of documents.
All of which would be secure on the central system created.
Before covering some non-financial benefits of going paperless, here are some other document management concepts you should know about that help with your operations.
Document lifecycle management
Document lifecycle refers to the set of processes that helps any organization obtain, organize, classify, store and deliver information integral to its day-to-day operation effectively.
It is a strategy employed by organizations to see that all paper and electronic documents are easily traced and retrieved in the event of an audit trail or subpoena.
Document lifecycle management is split into various stages to allow for ease in its management. Some of which are;
- Creation: in this stage, documents required by your company could be identified and then written, edited and revised before its approval
- Categorizing or classifying and Metadata tagging: The document can now be classified in the right location based on its purpose and content.
- Storage: for easy retrieval, store in the right location.
- Delivery or sharing: this involves the dissemination of files to the right people
- Review, reporting, and destruction: After reporting on the information in the document, it could be archived or destroyed altogether to reduce clutter.
Industries that benefit from going paperless
Some industries incorporating paperless DMS include:
- Education: Surprisingly, high schools and higher institutions are swapping out paper files with online forms for taking assessments, turning in reports securely and also administering forms to be filled by students and guardians alike.
- Healthcare: With paperless operations, healthcare institutions can easily administer online forms and patient medical reports to the concerned bodies. For one, they can automatically generate patient information records, test results, insurance documents, informed patient consent documents, and more.
- Financial institutions: With paperless operations, it is also easier to pull out customer information form the archives when requested. This allows for fewer customers in the bank waiting rooms and smoother operations.
Top 6 Non-Financial Benefits of Paperless Operations
Apart from the ability of a paperless document management system to cut costs, it also helps in other areas, such as:
- Saving space.
- Convenient transfer of information.
- Environmental benefits.
- Better security.
- Better organization.
Now, let’s take a look at each benefit in detail.
Through the operation of a document lifecycle, organizations making use of paper-based DMS gather a whole lot of clutter in file cabinets.
A central document management system eliminates the need for huge file cabinets and folders that take up space with ease.
As a result, remote and secure document management is a must need for operational teams.
Convenience and easy transfer of information
Paperless document management allows for instant transfer of information to clients and between employees without retyping and reprinting the document.
This is also an essential stage of the document management lifecycle.
Contents on a document could be transferred from one device to another in a matter of minutes as a result of the advanced technology at the organization’s disposal. This allows for efficiency in performing tasks.
This convenience also extends to the customers. Online forms could be sent for them to input data and received as soon as possible.
A paperless environment means less energy consumption. This affects the environment substantially as your company’s activities could make the environment eco-friendlier.
Stats are even with recycling, the amount of paper used in the U.S offices increases by 20% annually.
On average, employees make use of 10,000 sheets of copy paper per day and swapping out your systems could make significantly help in preventing further ecological damage.
Paperless systems are highly beneficial in ensuring the security of company, customer and employee data. This ensures that all records and documents are protected via an encrypted system that restricts access to potential fraudsters and unauthorized parties.
Paper based files are more prone to extraction from the file cabinets, however, the access to data could be controlled with a more automated system.
When sensitive files are compromised, it could affect the entire running of the business and threaten customer relationships with the firm. In order to ensure that the customers or clients maintain unwavering trust in the system utilized by your company, enhanced security has to be integrated. Banking industries protect confidential customer financial information through the employed cloud-based accounting.
Also, documents could easily be retrieved from the backup files on the cloud in any event of loss.
For extra security, you can employ user roles and permission-based settings.
This simply means that only specific people with specific access features can view, open, or edit certain files.
For more information on document security based on roles, see our full guide to user role setup and management.
Maintaining paper-based records manually is incredibly time-consuming and stressful as the files are also prone to external risks of loss and destruction.
Research says the average person spends about 10 minutes a day looking for lost items, how much more organizational files that are timely in nature.
Documents saved in a paperless system are easier to maintain, manage and retrieve.
It takes more hours for employees to locate files within the folder. Companies could efficiently retrieve files saved electronically to be sorted and filed within the system.
Through a paperless system, employees can have collective access to information and perform their respective tasks simultaneously. In daily operations, situations may arise where an employee may not be able to attend to his or her tasks. When other staff have access to the files, the workflow would not need to be halted in the absence of any employee.
This in itself builds team work amongst fellow members of staff and increases the overall productivity for the benefit of the business.
Next Steps For Operations Teams To Go Paperless
To recap, going paperless helps operations teams in a lot of different ways. With benefits not being only financial, having a proper document generation and automation system is a huge help for team productivity.
In some fields, automated PDF generation is essential.
For example, healthcare documents you can automate include medical test results and reports, patient information records, financial statements, and more.
And the best part is you can automate document generation whether you need 10 confidential reports or 100,000 customer statements.
So, if you’re strongly considering going paperless, you should look into how a document generation system can help you out.
For more information on that, be sure to look into our full guide on document generation APIs!