Why the Retail Industry Is Turning to Document Management
The retail industry is turning to document management for a number of reasons, but the worst We usually tend to think of electronic document management systems as a means of helping offices go paperless.
The paperless office is no longer out of reach for technological reasons, but rather behavioral reasons, which means that any organization that decides to get a leg up on the competition through proper training and throughput will gain significant advantage over competitors in the retail industry.
However, even businesses that you might not think of as having extensive document management needs might be able to gain something from DMS software. One example is retail: while most people are only familiar with retail stores based on their product showrooms, those businesses have files and back office tasks just like any other business.
The Benefits of Document Management for Retail
Indeed, retail stores can probably benefit just as much from DMS software as most offices can. In this article, for instance, KnowledgeLake—an enterprise document management solution based mostly around Microsoft Office programs—discusses how document management software can help retail businesses reduce waste, increase profit, and ensure more productive employees.
Specifically, the KnowledgeLake article discusses the following three points as a means of explaining why retail stores are beginning to adopt DMS software—and why more of them should start following the trend.
Cutting Down on Paper Usage and Costs
For any business considering the adoption of document management software, the thought of going paperless is a major draw. From companies that simply don’t want to deal with filing cabinets anymore to those pursuing green or sustainable initiatives, paperless practices make a lot of sense.
The Knowledge Lake article argues that going paperless makes just as much sense for retail stores. The retail world is an extremely competitive one, made only more so by the continued rise of online retailers like Amazon.
As such, any option that retailers have of cutting costs is worth pursuing, and paper usage is often an unnecessarily large expense. Between supplier invoices, shipping forms, employee files, receipts, inventory forms, and other files, the average retailer uses a lot of paper. A DMS offers digital alternatives for most of these items, giving retailers a chance to cut down on paper usage and the costs associated with it.
Business Process Management (BPM)
Next, the KnowledgeLake article tells a story about how, by automating processes related to accounts payable, weekly payroll reporting, safety inspections, insurance policies, cash management, and more, nationwide convenience store chain E-Z Mart was able to “save thousands of hours in staff time.”
Not only do those hours reduce costs for the business, but they also free up employees to spend their time more productively—perhaps working with customers to improve the overall shopping experience in the store.
DMS software can be an aid to implementing automation throughout an organization. For instance, with document retention and archival features, document management systems can be set up to delete files, move them to new storage locations, or email them to intended recipients automatically.
Improving Employee Productivity
The point put forward in this section of the Knowledge Lake article is that to support customers, help them make purchasing decisions, and create a better shopping atmosphere overall, retail employees need to have a way to easily access information about products, brands, shipments, and more.
Entrepreneur reports that performance management is becoming an increasingly important facet of every business model over the traditional “hours worked” variable. Although people are yet to claim this has given them demonstrable value, the reasons behind a lack of value in this process stem primarily from lack of proper technology use.
Often this information is either stored in filing cabinets (and therefore not quickly accessible) or stashed in confusing corporate databases (which aren’t accessible to the average retail employee anyway).
As a result, the employee either needs to sacrifice productivity and response time to go find the relevant information or is forced to provide a less satisfactory service to the customer. This dilemma can result in lost sales, a less efficient staff across the board (in turn leading to higher operating costs), and other issues.
Although productivity is hard to scale and difficult to measure, it can be made manageable and pinpointed through the right document management system, and that’s why the retail industry is turning to document management in mass.
A document management system with a full-text search function can solve all of the problems described above. By giving employees a central hub where they can find information about products or locate answers to other customer queries, retail stores are also giving their employees the tools they need to better serve customers.
Needless to say, this improved customer experience positively benefits the retail business on every single level.
Other Document Management Benefits for Retail
There are numerous other benefits to electronic document management that should encourage retail organizations to adopt DMS. For example, file encryption and secure storage make eFileCabinet the perfect place to store sensitive employee information.
Although file sharing capabilities aren’t necessity in the retail industry, exchanging important information via email is no longer a safe way to send anything that is remotely sensitive. Any viable solution will ensure continuity in the transaction context inasmuch as the repository and assemblage context.
Since employee files often include names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, and other key identifying information, they could be abused for identity theft purposes if they ever fell into the wrong hands.
A physical filing cabinet—particularly one that isn’t protected under lock and key—is the not the most secure way of storing this information. An encrypted digital filing system, on the other hand, is a much better option.
Are you interested in learning more about eFileCabinet’s program features and how the software can help your retail store go paperless and boost profits and employee productivity in the process? Schedule a demo with one of our business efficiency experts today or visit our page on how we can solve your common office problems.