What do bank statements, purchase receipts, and (now) your own business records have in common? They can all be paperless. Not only that, but they can be improved by going paperless. Businesses have been converting their records to an electronic format for a number of years now, and it’s not too late to jump on board – in fact, it’s the perfect time! In this article, we’re going to go over not only the benefits of converting your business/warehouse/production facility to a paperless one, but also how to make the transition safely and effectively.
What are the Benefits of Going Paperless?
Space Saver: There are a number of benefits to going paperless, not the least of which is the obvious bonus of the additional space you’ll have when you’re not required to store file cabinets full of documentation. Office space becomes freed up and uncluttered.
It’s Green: “Going Green” is popular these days, and for good reason: doing your part to help the environment not only, well, helps the environment, but it can also do wonders for your own business. Consumers respond well to proactive and environmentally friendly business, and a switch to paperless can be a good PR bragging point for you to add to press releases and company signs (just don’t commit the irony of hanging up a ton of pieces of paper proclaiming that you’re paperless!).
It Saves Money: Over years and years, the costs of purchasing paper and ink add up, and the savings of cutting several thousands of printed pages from your budget each year can easily save you hundreds of dollars, if not more.
It Saves Time: Most businesses already track shipments and orders through an electronic system, so moving the rest of your record keeping and documentation to an electronic format should be fairly natural. Once moved over, everything is easily accessed in one place on your computers, eliminating the need to sort through stacks of paper or take time to organize and file them.
Keep Up To Date: While it can’t be said that computers absolutely never make mistakes, they lack human error and are therefore astute record keepers. Because information can be updated instantly by the system, workers can see changes in orders and shipments in real time. Furthermore, they can even respond to and alter these files as necessary in real time.
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Tips When Implementing a Paperless System
1 – Keep all of your paper records for a few months while you and your employees get used to the new system; in case you’re having trouble accessing something while you figure things out, you’ll have a back up.
2 – Speaking of a backup, you really shouldn’t destroy your paper files until you backup your system. To save money, this can be done by your IT specialist at the end of each day. However, if you can, it is worth renting server space from a company far away from your factory’s physical location or a cloud based service. Data can then be automatically backed up to their servers, meaning that you’ve still got all of your information should something go wrong on your end. People often worry about their records failing when switching to digital, but, done correctly, digital records can be much safer than stacks of paper that are one flood or fire away from disappearing altogether.
3 – Train and explain. Especially if they don’ use computers often, employees may be skeptical of a new, paperless system. To address these concerns, be sure that they are trained thoroughly on using the new system, either by knowledgeable management or by an external specialist who has worked with a similar system before. Furthermore, explain to workers how the transition will benefit the business in the long run; few people are happy taking someone’s word that “it’s better,” but most will respond positively to the same points that convinced you to make the change in the first place.