It is common knowledge in the business world that the best way to turn a profit is to create a larger margin between the cost of running a business and the revenue brought in through the sale of products and services. One of the hidden costs of running any business is the high cost of paper.
Paper Associated Costs
Paper alone can be quite expensive, and studies are showing that businesses are producing 25% more documents every year. All indications show that this trend will remain in force for many years to come. With this torrential downpour of paper come other costs that are related to the ever-growing needs of paper. Toner, copying machines, highlighters, sticky notes, filing cabinets, and many other products can put a huge drain on the budget without you even realizing it.
In addition to these physical items, you need to consider how much is spent every year on machine maintenance needs. Fixing or replacing printers, copiers, and fax machines are also costs of the business that are directly linked to the paper usage in your office.
The statistics of how much a company spends on paper products will change between different companies and different industries. Obviously, all figures will change by the needs of a company, the size of a company, and the tech resources of a company among other ever-changing variables. That being said, the general statistics that remain fairly accurate for most businesses are as follows:
- To fill a standard four-drawer filing cabinet will cost $25,000 in paper, dedicated office space, folders, toner, man-hours, and the cost of filing all those documents.
- The annual cost of maintaining a full filing cabinet will run about $2,000 a year. This comes in repairs, man-hours of searching for items, and the need to replace lost or damaged documents within the drawers.
- The average office worker will use upwards of 10,000 sheets of paper in a year. This is literally 20 reams of paper per employee in the office, a cost that can add up really fast.
It can be helpful to look at the costs in this way as it makes it easier to see the overall cost and waste that is involved in a paper-based office. A single sheet of paper might not seem so sinister, but when that single sheet is joined by 9,999 of its friends, you can more easily see the push to become more paperless in business settings.
Paper-Based Communication is Pricey
The cost of sending information in paper format now costs 31 times the original amount. Between the rising cost of postage, paper, and the cost for the longer time of getting to the needed recipient, this has become a very inefficient way to do things in a business setting.
Communication is a vital need in companies; talking with clients, vendors, employees, and colleagues is important in keeping up the pace of production and sales. If you are still leaning heavily on paper to manage these communication needs, then you are losing money.
Not only is paper communication more costly, it will also take a lot more time. Society is moving at a more rapid pace than ever before, and the only way to keep up with the pace of the business sector is to find ways to integrate paperless technology into your systems. When you become a paper saver with communication needs, you will also be a money saver as well.
Steps to Becoming More Paperless
Gerard Hoyt with docSTAR shares the following 3 tips that can make your transition to a paperless office more smooth and manageable.
- Identify Documents that Can Be Maintained Paperlessly
Take some time to analyze the different documents you use on a daily basis. Think about the ones that could be utilized just as well or even better in a digital format. Some of the easiest paper documents that can easily be used and stored in a digital format are as follows:
- HR documents
- Memos and announcements
- Regulation checklists
- Payroll notifications
- Personnel files
- Client contracts
- Insurance information
With the use of storage programs and docu-sign technology, all of these things can be moved to a paperless format, greatly decreasing the amount of paper, toner, and machine maintenance in your office space.
- Encourage the Use of Online Resources
The Internet is an immense business tool that is not used as much as it should be. When possible, instruct the members of your business team to use online resources for communication, research, marketing, and other such necessary business tasks. This simple mandate can be a huge money saver for your company.
- Invest in a Good Document Management Software Program
Document management software (DMS) technology can be a huge help in allowing you to transition to a paperless office. A program of this nature will organize your needed documents in a virtual setting, and will store them in a way that does not require the use of a paper filing system. You will also be able to search for all of your necessary items with the click of a few buttons instead of searching for hours through paper dungeons of forgotten information.
The truth is that most of the documents floundering in the filing cabinets of your office will never be looked at again once they are filed. Some of them might need to be recalled and reviewed, which is why they are stored in the first place. Save yourself a lot of space, time, and money by figuring out which of these documents can be more safely and efficiently stored in a virtual file manager.