Counties across the U.S. are drastically reducing paper use through electronic document management for an array of benefits. As agencies deploy these solutions for more purposes, easier access to important records can drive efficiency and accelerated decision-making.
Pacific Business News reported that last summer, The City and County of Honolulu's Department of Permitting and Planning launched a digital building permit system that enables city departments to receive blueprints electronically for review, cutting both the time and the amount of paper required to process permits.
"The city continues to use technology to improve the services we provide to the public," Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle said in a statement, according to Pacific Business News. "The ePlans system will eliminate the need to visit the permit counter, which will save applicants time, parking, and gasoline. It will also eliminate the need to provide multiple sets of plans and make this process much more environmentally sustainable."
The Garden Island revealed that Lihu'e County building applications are also set to go paperless, and those submitted electronically will in fact be prioritized over paper-based applications. Division Chief Doug Haigh told the source that the digital system cut processing times in half and also saved hundreds of dollars in paper use and fuel to transport records. According to the county's Electronic Plan Review Applicant Guide, now only the final approved/stamped set of documents will need to be printed.
Greater collaboration, lower risks
An added benefit to the technology is that customers are now able to constantly check the status of their projects online and communicate with government agencies involved, The Garden Island reported. The Electronic Plan Review Applicant Guide revealed that the workflow solution makes the plan review cycle more efficient, because once plans and documents are submitted, they are automatically forwarded to all involved agencies simultaneously.
The guide pointed out that another advantage to the new system is that all electronic plans are stored in one location, reducing risks of these files being lost or misplaced. Additionally, since access is password-protected, there are minimal security risks with the technology. Mayor of Kaua'i Bernard Carvalho is optimistic about the initiative.
"Electronic Plan Review is long-overdue, and will help us in our continual quest to provide the best possible customer service to the people of Kaua'i, our businesses and our visitors," he stated in the guide.
Counties can greatly benefit both staff and citizens with electronic document management software, which allows for easier accessibility, storage and transferring of information.
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