Old Ways Won’t Open New Doors
Does this sound familiar? You realize that transforming business processes from primarily paper-based to digital has many benefits: improved efficiencies, cost reduction and diminished loss of valuable information, but the comfort level of dealing with paper creates a strong resistance to change.
We understand that going paperless can be daunting, but looking at the context of document and process inefficiencies is the key to prioritizing and improving document management workflows. Below is a list of recommendations for how to stop document mishandling and create a list of processes inside your enterprise to start digitizing immediately.
Research Studies by Xerox, PWC, Gartner, and Others Make a Compelling Case
According to a recent survey performed by Xerox Canada 55% of organizations still rely on paper for the majority of their business processes.
U.S. offices use 12.1 trillion sheets of paper per year, according to The World Counts.
Around half of the average knowledge worker’s time is spent preparing, editing, and creating documents.
Storing, transferring, and retrieving paper files is expensive too, with £500 on average spent searching for and replacing documents, and over £1,500 a year just maintaining one filing cabinet.
How to Start Your Journey?
- Identify which paper-based processes currently drive up operational costs, what keeps the company from reaching profitability objectives and what business workflows are problematic in sense of efficiency.
- Bring stakeholders together to discuss the problem and potential solution: In order to develop effective paperless processes, it’s absolutely critical to talk to key members and management.
- Document the steps needed to begin streamlining processes (accounts receivable and payable, human resources, internal control or compliance) and key stakeholders needed for carrying out steps.
- Divide projects into phases and look for short and easy win segments. Do not try to do everything at once and on your own.
12 Paper-Based Processes Worth Digitizing in Your Company
- Searching documents: Searching for documents can be frustrating. Especially if important business documents get misfiled on a regular base, or when you search for a document and end up finding it on your desk in a stack of folders. By using electronic instead of paper-based documents, you never have to search manually for or inside a document.
- Passing documents back and forth: A lot of business processes hinge on the movement of paper. Decisions, suggestions, and approvals, that could take minutes, take days or weeks. Employees often sit at their desks waiting to receive approval forms with a lot of wasted time in between. Through the use of digital collaboration workflows, the move from one person can be accomplished not only faster but also with fewer errors. No more lost or forgotten documents.
- Purchase-to-orders: Each company has policies about who is allowed to purchase at what level and what permissions that person needs for specific purchases. And believe it or not, but all of this can be automated through paperless workflows.
- Onboarding: The process of onboarding new employees, vendors or partners onboarding is very paper intensive, and begins much sooner before those have not even been approved and chosen. By collecting the necessary information on electronic forms, relevant data can not only be used across all necessary documents, but also shared with all corresponding departments, whether inside or outside the enterprise. And of all of that in a regulatory compliant and secure way.
- Content approval processes: The process of releasing paper-based content can be one of the biggest productivity killers in business. The approval processes for paper-based content are usually linear. When an employee finishes reviewing a document, this document is forwarded to the next person in the chain. Remove the linear nature of this chain of documents, and all those in charge receive the same document in their inbox at once for faster, more efficient approvals.
- Regulatory compliance and quality assurance: Too often these types of documents are passed through the office with a cover sheet with names and appropriate signatures. However, digital workflows ensure that documents follow a correct process path each and every time before proceeding to final approval.
- Audit preparation: Being audited is a time-consuming process. Auditors tell you what they want to see and how they want to see it. In a paper-based process, this may mean that you need to go to an external facility to find each record for a customer or business unit. With electronic document management, these documents can be collected easily and electronically.
- Data entry: In some organizations – such as hospitals and communities – a person fills out a paper form and hands it over to an employee who manually enters that person’s answers into an electronic system. Similar processes can be found in each industry segment. Digital processes prevent multiple people from doing the same thing twice, bundling those efforts into a single electronic form and workflow.
- Document sharing: Many services like Google Drive, Dropbox, SharePoint and Firefox Send make file sharing as easy as dragging and dropping. However, all of these tools only have a certain amount of functionality and can often only be extended with complex coding. Therefore, a lot of companies directly jump from paper to professional document management systems.
- Purchase requisitions: Not so long ago, you had to fill out a paper form to order stationery, office equipment or anything else to do your job. This manual, paper-based process led to delays and too much or too little material purchases. Today, employees can easily use self-service portals to order the needed office materials and equipment.
- Keeping track of information status: Of course, before everything was digitized, keeping records was the best way to archive and store business information. But the more a customer base grows, the better it is to go paperless. Viewing the status of all relevant information in a user-friendly digital dashboard that can be accessed on the go is far more convenient and safer than searching and retrieving paper records in storage rooms, or having to follow up with colleagues each time you would like to know the status of a certain document.
Ready for Easy Automation?
If you’re ready to begin a business process automation initiative, Ecodocx can help. With our solutions, you can completely automate your invoice process, from data capture to approval, in just a few days; that’s how easy it is to get started.