With global warming a constant hot topic in the news, the buzz words “go paperless” show up often as a good way for individual businesses to help the environment. What we don’t hear, however, is how great this move can be for your business’ bottom line.
Before you become anxious at the idea, going “paperless” does not mean that you are removing all paper from your business operations. It is instead an ongoing effort to gradually eliminate paper usage when it is less efficient and less costly than newer paper-free options. Small changes like not printing out emails to read them, or emailing out invoices instead of mailing them, can make a huge difference on your company’s overall efficiency, without dramatically altering the way you run your business.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers posted the following statistics about going using paper in your office:
1. On average, organizations spend the following in labor costs:
• $20 to file a document
• $120 to find a misfiled document
• $220 to replace a lost document
Think about how many lost documents you’ve never found in your office. Now multiply that by $220! Even if you only misplaced 2 documents per week, that still adds up to over $20,000 in loss each year.
2. Think #1 does not apply to you? An average organizations loses 7.5% of their documents, and 3% of the remainder get misfiled.
3. The average person spends 5-15% of their time reading the information on a document, and over 50% looking for it.
4. The average cost to produce and mail one invoice is $24.
PAPER AND THE ENVIRONMENT
According to the EPA, paper consumption has tripled since 1960, and Americans alone generate 85 million tons of paper into the waste stream each year. It is estimated that more than 400 million ink and 100 million toner cartridges end up in landfills each year, and that the average US office worker prints over 10,000 pages a year. Then there’s all the resources needed to make that paper. To make 10 million pages the following is used:
• 2,500 trees
• 56,000 gallons of oil
• 595,000KW of energy
These numbers don’t include materials for the truck that needs to deliver the paper, or the gas used by said truck.
Even by cutting your paper usage by a small percentage each year you could be making a very tangible impact on our environment.
OK I AM CONVINCED, NOW WHAT?
Modern technology has provided us with a lot of options for eliminating paper waste. Here are a few I would recommend to get started:
1. Cloud base storage of your documents. Put an end to lost files. Find a provider who offers good security and backup of your data. There are different providers who offer different services, so find the one that works for you. Using a cloud storage provider will also limit the damage done if something serious happened to your office.
2. Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. There are so many apps out there that let you work on these documents. Anything from mobile Office to work on Word or Excel documents, to SignMyPad for PDF signature capturing. Some cloud storage companies have their own apps, so you can find a bundled solution to solve issues in your office.
3. Email Management. Let’s face it, more people are buried in their email than they’d like to admit. Using email is a great tool to keep the paperless office moving. Email a document that needs a signature, or grammar checked, and get it emailed back. No more printing, mailing and wasting time and money.
Another great reason to go paperless is that you will take up less space in your office. How many filing cabinets do you have of documents that can exist virtually online? Maybe you’ll realize you can actually get a smaller office since you won’t need all those cabinets. More savings!
The key to “going paperless” is going slow. Make one transition at a time and watch your savings increase. Armed with the facts and the tools available to limit paper waste, start off the new year right with a declaration to go paperless in 2014!!
Are you already going paperless? Leave a comment below and let us know what you do!