Driving Efficiency in the paperless office

If you think back to the late 80s and early 90s, you might remember that personal computer hype had taken off and nearly everyone in the office had a shiny electronic workstation to work from. This era was deemed a revolution in moving from paper to paperless; or so we thought. 

Despite the explosion in use of personal computers (remember Windows 3.1?), the office continued to use masses of paper. Statistics show that in 1988, offices were using on average 5000 sheets of paper per worker per year with an astonishing 52% of that being wasted. Not quite the paperless office dream. 

Fast forward to 2015 and you would expect this figure to reduce with advances in digital technology. Unfortunately this isn't the case and there is now more paper wasted than ever before. We are now at a figure of approximately 10,000 sheets of paper per office worker per year and 62% of this is now wasted. The reasons why aren’t clear but paper is almost becoming a throwaway commodity and with the price of printers and ink at their lowest in decades, people are thinking less and less about the impact of wasted paper.

Evidently the environmental argument is not compelling enough for senior managers to really drive the paperless office forward so what kind of factors are more important to business leaders? Our research shows if organisations have the technology and ability to focus on the business process efficiencies and therefore reduce paper use, they can save time and money. Let’s look a few examples of documents in a typical organisation:

  • Invoices
  • Purchase Orders
  • Policy Documents
  • Sales Orders
  • Purchase Contracts
  • Sales Contracts
  • Statements
  • HR Contracts
  • …the list goes on

Each type of document you have in your organisation will have a process around its creation and distribution. Often this process is very manual and inefficient. By focusing on streamlining the process of creating, approving and distributing these documents through an ECM solution, organisations can substantially improve process efficiencies. 

So why do it?

  • Save time by using standard business documents and sharing a central repository of information
  • Reduce costs by using less paper and requiring less storage space
  • Improve security by safely storing critical business documents
  • Reduce exposure to human error and focus those saved man hours on revenue generating activity

The first step for any organisation is to explore the different ways in which a content management system could be implemented. Businesses should focus on the following: 

  • Creating a paperless strategy involving stakeholders from all departments, not just IT 
  • Assessing existing paper use across the entire organisation and different functions including HR, Marketing, Sales, Accounts etc.
  • Identifying what can be digitised
  • Implementing a content management system to store digital content
  • Adopting digital signature technologies to streamline signing processes
  • Creating business workflows to streamline the process of creating and distributing those documents
  • Setting targets for paper reduction and monitoring the use of your content management system

In short, there are cost savings, productivity increases and efficiency savings to be made by implementing an electronic content management system. Our customers have realised these improvements through using THESIS. Download our Russian Maritime Register of Shipping Case Study see find out more or get in touch using the Contact form or 020 3214 5110 / 07909 337 556. Alternatively, e-mail us on thesis-ecm@haulmont.com