The Case for the Paperless Office: Justifying Your Purchase
Buying Software Solutions to Eliminate the Pain
We work with many organizations that initially struggle with spending to eliminate their paper. Many low to mid level managers just see it as a cost of doing business, and they don’t dig deep into the true costs of running paper-based business. In reality, they are not alone. Below are some fantastic stats from the AIIM Paper Wars Study that took a deep, deep look into the problem:
44% of surveyed organizations cited they were only a mere 10% of the way to paper-free process.
23% cited they had made zero progress towards a paper free environment.
17% were chipping away at 5 or more processes per year.
So, why the lack of progress? Below are the top reasons:
- Lack of management initiatives or mandates
- Requirement for physical signatures
- Staff prefers paper
- Lack of understanding of paperless options
- Suppliers still work in paper
- Notion that legally, they still require paper
These are the top reasons, and they were many more.
So, if you are tired of the paper mess, and looking to justify a move to the digital office, what do you do? First off, let’s look at some costs associated with paper-based business, with some stats from AIIM:
- It costs an average of $20 to file a document
- It will cost you $120 in labor to find a misfiled document
- It will cost you $220 to reproduce a lost document
These costs incorporate labor and materials. You can outline many more costs, like mailing, searching for documents, manually entering invoice information, etc. These costs are well documented, and can be the crux of any justification. For specific departments or industry verticals, you can also drill into additional costs that might be associated with service level requirements, fines, and the impact of slow operations. So, take an organization that processes 10,000 documents per month. Let’s make an assumption that 3% are misfiled, and 1% are lost. Below is a tally:
- Filing of these documents will run $200,000
- Misfiled documents will run $36,000
- Lost documents will run $22,000
So, you are running a $250K+ operation just in paper $$ for every month you push pulp. Let’s say you have a rockin’ staff that are immune to paper cuts, and they can do it at a 1/5 of the cost. You are still at $50K per month. Now some may argue those staff need to be paid regardless of paper or not. But the big loss here are opportunity costs. What if those staff members could use that time for other tasks focused on growth, and not paper administration? You can see the true advantage of moving to a more efficient digital workflow and using document capture and scanning to facilitate the paperless office..
So, the next question is where to start? In my next post we will examine success factors, and give some tips on how to ease into the paperless world. Can’t wait? Want to read more? See our frequently asked question pages below for more info: