For centuries, businesses across the world have relied on paper and pen (or quill) to function on a day-to-day basis, whether that be to document details of a client, internal processes or legislations, or business transactions, or even to help people jot down and remember their big business ideas. It’s fair to say that paper has been the lifeblood that has allowed businesses to operate for a long time, and as a result, paper-based processes have become deeply ingrained in many business operations. But, at what cost has this reliance come?
At present, 7 million hectares of forest are lost annually (just under half of the size of the UK) to the agricultural production of commodities like paper, which just goes to show how much damage paper production is having on the environment.
But, it isn’t just the planet that is being affected because of an over-reliance on paper. Businesses are also losing thousands of pounds each year because of how much paper they regularly use.
Our ‘Death of the paper trail’ report, which looks into how companies are using paper, found that two-thirds (67%) of businesses are wasting at least £2,000 per employee because they are relying too heavily on paper-based processes within their operation, such as paper documents and posting mail. Almost a third (30%) of employees are printing out documents on a daily basis, while 60% are printing out documents three or more times each week.
For UK businesses, the cost of processing all this paperwork, including the cost of ordering paper and ink, transporting documents, data entry and storage, is racking up a yearly average bill of £2,103 per worker. This is a colossal amount of money that businesses could reassign and put to better use such as improving products, services or even investing further with regards to staff training.
But aside from the initial costs of buying stationery supplies, relying on paper is also negatively affecting workforce productivity and efficiency. Our research found that over half (53%) of employees admit that they find it hard to store paper files and also to keep them organised. This means that employees are spending more time on file handling and less time on their actual workload. 43% also stated that it takes them too long to fill in paper forms and documents, and 30% admit they are wasting too much time sending documents to the correct recipients.
In recent years technology has come on leaps and bounds with the likes of the internet and mobile devices meaning we can reduce reliance on traditional paper processes, such as posting mail or printing off physical documents.
We’ve also started to see the rise of digital data capture solutions, which can also be used by businesses to reduce the amount of paper they use, thus saving money. Our own solutions, for instance, allow paper documents to be completely transferred into digital format so that they can be stored in the cloud. One benefit of cloud storage is that employees can save, edit and access documents from anywhere and at any time via a mobile device. There’s no need for employees to spend huge amounts of time searching for misplaced documents or filling in paper forms, as their digital counterparts can be captured, stored and accessed in an instant.
Using digital forms will also help businesses save money as employees won’t have to continuously print out documents, which will reduce the need for printing equipment and paper-based resources. Instead, digital documents can be edited digitally via mobile devices, laptops, PCs or tablets.
In today’s competitive marketplace, companies need to be looking for ways to tighten up their bottom lines. But, wasting thousands each year on paper isn’t going to help them achieve this aim. Ditching paper for good is one easy way of saving huge amounts of time and money that can be invested in securing the future of the business. The time to switch to digital is now.
For more information, please visit: www.workmobileforms.com/