Keeping it Real
Whether it’s a company brochure to hand out at during a trade show, the need to for a “wet signature,” or simply the fact sometimes, it really is more comfortable reviewing and editing a printed document. The simple fact is,, most organizations will never truly go paperless, or at least not anytime soon.
With this reality in mind, striving to become “paper-light” is not only a more realistic approach and strategy, but it eliminates the unnecessary over-reliance on paper as a primary medium for information management. It facilitates faster access to documents, it helps employees work smarter and more efficiently — and perhaps most importantly — it enables companies to make better decisions and provide a better service to their customers by enabling them to be more responsive.
It’s time we wake up from the pipe-dream of the paperless office, and put our energies towards creating an efficient “paper-light” environment that is attainable for organizations of any size.
Here are 5 ways to go paperless and increase the productivity of your business:
1. The 80s called... they want your fax machine back!
One of the first things you need to do is get rid of the stand alone fax machine. Start subscribing to a service like rightfax , which allows you to send and receive faxes without a fax machine. Or get some multipurpose use out of your copier and upgrade to a multifunction device MFD. If you already have an MFD, set it to forward your faxes electronically to an email or network folder.
2. Switch to digital
There's no reason you need to continue sending paper statements and notices or using pre-printed forms for business to carry on. Switching to electronic invoices, notices and statements frees up time used printing, mailing, and filling out documents--time that could be used more wisely elsewhere. Use a service like DocumentMall, Square 9, or Nuance that helps your business do everything from creating purchase orders to online customer satisfaction forms.
3. Collaboration tools are your friends
Instead of collaborating with colleagues around a desk with printouts of reports and budgets, use Google Drive, Soonr, or One Drive. You can see edits in made in real time and you can revert back to older versions of the document at any time.
4. Get a document imaging system
You need to take care of the documents you already have by scanning them and turning them into digital files that can be stored and archived electronically. It takes a lot of work to gather all of your company's documents, sort through them, scan and then destroy them. This could be a daunting task for you and your employees, so look into outsourcing it to a firm that provides that service. That way you can complain about it, but then it's all over and they leave.
5. Use Apps
Most of the things your business uses paper to do can easily be transitioned to the Cloud by using an app designed for the job. If you or your employees travel a lot for the business, switch to an app for reporting mileage and travel expenses. You can book hotels and airlines online, and use your airline's app for electronic boarding passes.