There’s one problem that many of us have in common, regardless of our title, function, or industry: PAPERWORK!!!
Paper-based processes suffocate efficiency, reduce production, and even present security risks. Using antiquated paper-based methods often requires additional equipment and costs, like printers, fax machines, and mailing fees, to name a few. The waste produced by the use of paper is massive. Paper-based goods account for the majority of items that end up in landfills.
Despite the fact that we can see how paper negatively affects workflows, many businesses still struggle to eliminate it. Most sectors can’t seem to get away from paperwork, whether it’s a healthcare administrator manually entering patient data from paper forms or a government agency processing paperwork from printed PDFs.
It’s time to rethink your operations if you’re still moving papers from desk to desk, tracking down actual signatures, and correcting printer paper jams.
Here’s how to get rid of paper for good if you’re ready to become more efficient and free your company from the bondage of paperwork.
1. Consider WHY you’d like to go paperless
If you’ve had trouble persuading your company to go paperless, start by focusing on why you want to go paperless. If you can clearly explain why going paperless will benefit your company, you’ll have a better chance of gaining support from the top.
As with most business decisions, to successfully get the time, resources, and budget needed to eliminate paper processes and go digital, you must demonstrate a compelling ROI for going paperless.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear that going paperless is necessary to protect employees, customers, and everyone that interact with your company. The need to innovate and automate paper-based and in-person processes has accelerated dramatically as a result of COVID-19 in this current environment. And as with other Digital Transformation efforts aimed at successfully navigating the pandemic environment, the benefits of innovation and automation of paper-based processes will continue to reduce costs and improve efficiencies long after the pandemic subsides.
Here are some more reasons why automating your paper-based system could be beneficial to your company:
- Save time – Is your team being held back by paper-based processes? According to the State of Workflow Automation Report, 55% of workers spend at least a full day of their workweek on administrative duties.
- Preserve the environment – According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the paper sector is one of the world’s greatest polluters of air and water, as well as waste products.
- Cost reduction – Companies spend $6 on handling and distribution for every $1 spent on copying, and half of all documents printed are thrown away within 24 hours.
- Increase productivity – Employees spend an average of 9.3 hours per week looking for and gathering information, according to a recent study. By eliminating paper and centralizing data, this inefficient use of time can be drastically reduced.
2. Examine your procedures to see where paper can be found
You can’t fix a problem unless you have a good understanding of it and its impact. So once you’ve established why you want to eliminate paper from your workplace, it’s time to examine your processes and identify opportunities to reduce paper and paper-based processes. Then, communicate your findings across your organization and receive their buy-in.
You won’t be able to solve your paper problem until you know where it came from.
The first step to understanding the problem and its true impact is to conduct a process audit. Create a document or spreadsheet that lists all of your department’s workflows, processes, and tasks..
To acquire a complete picture of all procedures, you may need to work with coworkers. Gathering signatures on paper, storing paper documents in physical storage, and mailing documents, contracts, or receipts are all examples of paper-based procedures.
3. Collaborate across departments to gain a better understanding of requirements
This step can be done in conjunction with auditing procedures. While you’re focused on your department, find coworkers in other departments to do the same. This will ensure that your company is addressing the paper problem comprehensively and synergistically.
To avoid surprises down the road, it’s critical to engage in cross-departmental collaboration from the start.
Consider using design thinking to assist uncover possible solutions once you’ve worked out where paper is hiding throughout the company.
Design thinking is a one-of-a-kind approach to problem-solving and bettering experiences. It’s a method of involving all stakeholders in a structured procedure that can lead to the discovery of innovative ideas. This method helps you to acquire a variety of viewpoints, including all relevant stakeholders, and come up with creative answers to your most frustrating problems.
4. Conduct research into paperless options
Now that you’ve completed the process audits and identified all the paper usage and paper-based processes, it’s time to look into which products, procedures, and technologies can replace all that paper!
To begin, compile a list of all the software your company now employs. This can help you uncover items already in your tech stack that can be used to replace paper, as well as products you can replace with a more effective solution.
Begin looking into paperless solutions once you’ve identified the gaps in your tech stack. Online forms, automated document generation, eSignatures, and workflow automation are all things to consider.
If you’re thinking about buying new software, keep the following in mind while you speak with salespeople:
- Have a rough idea of how many users will be using the software
- Be aware of your budget
- Make a list of “must-have” features
- Make a list of “good to have” features
- Recognize the technological ability of your staff
- Make a schedule for releasing new software
5. Create a paperless transition strategy
The success of your new paperless solution will be determined by a few variables.
First, you must communicate simply, concisely, and frequently. It’s best to be as transparent as possible while launching a new process. Your employees will feel more at ease embracing new procedures or learning new technology if they are well-informed.
Second, there must be a clearly defined transition schedule. You don’t want errant paper procedures or unnecessary documents lingering for months or even years! Make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to expectations and timelines. You’ll need to give them plenty of time to adjust to the changes, which should be done in waves rather than all at once.
How can AUTOMATNG manual data entry processes help?
Data entry automation is reducing or eliminating data entry processes by using software-based solutions to enter data automatically.
Here are some of the advantages of data entry automation to consider when creating a paperless transition strategy:
- Significantly reduced data entry costs over doing it manually
- Enhanced security and fraud prevention
- Increased productivity of tasks that can only be completed by people
- Increased accuracy and fewer errors
- Reduced storage requirements and related expenditures
- The office is no longer the only place where business is conducted
- Eliminates paper usage at the source
- Increased visibility of your assets
- Enables and/or assists in developing new business channels
- Facilitates easy management of dispersed teams across time zones
- Consistent output as automated processes don’t get sick, tired, distracted, sleep, or go on vacation
How can Deep Cognition help in eliminating paper entry?
PaperEntry provides solutions for accounting and data entry automation. By automating your data entry process with PaperEntry you can save time and money while drastically increasing accuracy. To learn more, email us at email@example.com or visit our website.