COVID-19 crashed down overnight in March of 2020 and it was an eye opener for businesses still running on paper. Staff left the office to work from home, but they found themselves dead in the water. There was no way to access the paper documents locked at the office.
Companies in the digital document conversion industry were suddenly busier than ever as thousands of paper-based businesses converted to digital workflows overnight. Every process, from the mailroom to accounts payable to human resources to team project collaboration went digital to stay afloat.
Because a remote workforce depends on digital documents. And that meant the timeline for scanning paper to digital moved up—super fast. Document scanning was no longer seen as a necessary cost for efficiency’s sake, it became an immediate and necessary service to keep doors open. Period.
Here’s the thing though: you save money by going paperless—it’s a swallowable expense
Nevermind that paper-related supplies tally somewhere around $400 000 a year for an average company. And never mind that the energy required to run paper-based machines (printers, fax machines, shredders) and light and heat and air condition filing cabinet rooms the size of Kentucky costs a small fortune. It’s the revenues you generate thanks to staff productivity that make digital workflows a no-brainer.
McKinsey reported that “employees spend 1.8 hours every day—9.3 hours per week, on average—searching and gathering information. Put another way, businesses hire 5 employees but only 4 shows up to work; the fifth is off searching for answers, but not contributing any value. Assuming an average yearly salary of $80 000, the inability to find and retrieve documents costs an organization that employs 1000 workers, $25 million per year. ”—Xenit
Want to know the true cost of working with paper in 2020? Check out this list of prickly points about the price of paper that will put you in a paper-pitching mood.
In short, working with paper is like gutting the bottom of your piggy bank. Productivity poops out every time a search begins for a paper document. With digital documents, what may have taken half an hour—or a full hour if Brenden stopped to chat with Chet about Tik Tok on the way back from the cabinet room—takes seconds at the click of a button. The upfront cost of scanning is quickly absorbed by the end cost savings that come from eliminating storage space. Not only that, the time saved by each and every employee works out to thousands and thousands of dollars in savings every day.
Physical paper pieces are prone to going poof
That little magnifying glass at the top of your screen signals supercharged search functionality. If you can’t remember where you digitally filed your document—even though Google Drive, for example, displays all recent documents right at the top—you can always use a keyword to find what you are looking for. But with paper, if Harold haphazardly dropped that document you need into the wrong folder, or put that folder in the wrong drawer, or… left it on his desk and forgot about it (then took it with him months later when he left the company), you’re forced to start over. And you wasted a bunch of time in the meantime.
Better customer care
That scenario we just painted gets worse if a customer depended on that missing document. And things get really ugly if that customer is a patient in the healthcare system. Quick access to information not only helps staff do their job better, it improves the reputation of your company by delivering outstanding customer service. It also protects your company from compliance-related fines in regulated industries.
Better planet care
Paper isn’t green. It comes from trees that are green, but turning green trees into pulp into paper requires a lot of fossil fuels and chlorine bleach. A byproduct of paper manufacturing is something called dioxin. Dioxins contaminate earth and sea for hundreds of years. And when paper hits the recycling plant, it produces toxic methane gas as it breaks down. So not only did we support clear cutting of oxygen-making forests but we support a conveyor belt of chemical additions and releases that create a toxic stew of planet-killing waste. Who wants to chuck paper airplanes across the lunch room? Anyone?
The Cloud curbs clutter and cranks up security
Cabinets don’t just take up too much space, they also encourage clutter. And it just so happens that paper clutter isn’t flood proof or fire proof. Mountains of paper clutter are pretty unresilient. Even office servers don’t perform well with natural or manmade disasters. So another advantage of a paperless office is the ability to store digital documents in an off-site storage system.
That offsite system is called the Cloud. And Cloud servers are pretty amazing—even though they look nothing like clouds—at protecting documents. That’s because digital documents don’t take up much space, so they can be backed up on more than one Cloud server (until it rains)—ha! Just kidding.
Investing in Cloud storage saves your company from losing important data. Not just from natural disasters, but also from internal stupidheads, malicious Molly’s (less-than-above-board employees), and techno-savvy threat actors (hackers) who try to steal your stuff. Cloud Servers are guarded by powerful firewalls and encryption. And digital documents are trackable with revision histories and user signatures. The Cloud is a cost that pays for itself.
The advantages of getting rid of paper weight far outweigh the initial costs
Going paperless means changing how you run your business. Any change to process is going to require some adjustment, some upfront costs, and some company policies that keep your investment running smoothly. Luckily, you can keep things running smoothly by outsourcing your scanning requirements, which can automatically upload to your fancy new cloud server while the football field of half-ton filing cabinets get trucked away, and your customers (and tiny baby trees around the world) give winning nods of approval.
Speak to MES Ltd. today. We can walk you through how to begin your journey to paperless the way that makes sense for your staff and your budget.