Senior management must push for paperless

June 1st, 2015 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Business Process Automation | Document and Information Capture | Document Management

Achieving a paperless office requires effort from a company’s management team. Despite the fact that many office workers today are tech-savvy, have mobile devices and may even support green causes, they still do not do their utmost to limit reliance on paper. If you want to encourage going paperless at your company, that effort should be clearly communicated. Sometimes, in order to get things done, a leader is needed.

Poor document management is the reason companies can’t go paperless yet

The Association for Information and Image Management recently issued a report which found that one of the reasons offices fail to go paperless is poor record management and poor document strategy development, noted CMSWire. If companies do not support technologies and processes that help reduce paper use, frivolous printing will go on. Doug Miles at AIIM explained the organization’s strategy to eliminate paper waste. In a report published this year, he argued that technology is making the paperless dream possible.

“We have been fighting the paper wars for a very long time,” said Miles, according to the news source. “These days the technological weaponry is cheaper, better, faster. The office troops are mobile, agile and highly computer literate. The rules of engagement have legitimized scanned copies and digital signatures.”

AIIM president John Mancini acknowledged that there is some progress, but it is not happening fast enough.

“One would think after 20 years of talking about paperless offices that we would have made more progress than we have,” said Mancini. “The truth of the matter is that while paper consumption – and paper infused processes – are decreasing, the rate of decline is still somewhat slow.”

Senior management must get involved with the paperless goal

Just because technology exists that can help companies transition to a paperless environment does not mean that employees will instinctively know to use it. That is why senior management must get involved and influence the company to purchase these technologies and incorporate them into existing processes. In the report by AIIM, only 35 percent of organizations said they had engagement from senior management on the paper issue, reported CMSWire. Alex Gorbansky​, CEO of a notable tech company, said one of the biggest obstacles to paperless offices is the lack of engagement by senior management.

“Significant disconnect between executive level corporate imperatives and the realities on the ground [exists] across many large enterprises,” he explained.

The problem is not a matter of incentive. Going paperless saves space, improves operations and limits waste. Unfortunately, companies continue to print recklessly.

“A very strong case can be made for all-digital processes in improved productivity and lower costs, but the biggest impact is on speed of response – response to inbound mail, response to bottlenecks, response to regulatory changes, but above all, response to the customer, citizen or client,” Miles added.

A clear incentive to go paperless

Manufacturing Business Technology advised companies to invest in ERP systems because of several advantages that they offer. The first and most important advantage is costs. Paper is expensive and unnecessary printing adds up. Eliminating this waste can lead to considerable savings down the road. Other reasons for going paperless are improved analytics – as a result of having more data in electronic form – and decreased errors. Having one central system for data storage beats multiple document versions being emailed back and forth.

Lastly, paperless offices embrace the idea of going green. Environmental issues continue to dominate media headlines, and realistically, everyone should do they part to adopt sustainable behaviors. Green companies will influence other organizations to improve, and with time, that will have a positive impact on the planet as a whole.

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