Reducing your reliance on paper is not an overnight transition but mastering it can be the key to improved efficiency in the workplace.
With this in mind, we thought we would bring together some simple steps that a business can take towards reducing its reliance on paper.
Planning is the first step It is possible to reduce paper usage in any organisation, large or small, and improve your business processes at the same time – but only if you have a clear plan. Take a close look at your business and how paper is used to see where you can pick "low hanging fruit" and achieve the quickest wins. In an organisation's effort to reduce paper, often processes are digitised one at a time or in phases that focus on departments in turn. For example, you might choose to start with accounts payable, sales order processing, purchase-to-pay, invoices or your mailroom.
Be pragmatic Paper remains the best tool for some jobs and sometimes a piece of paper is the best way to capture and/or share information. There are many systems and complementary technologies on the market that can capture and digitise data from paper. This means you don't need to keep hard copy documents and you can enjoy the benefits of electronic document management such as improved security and quick retrieval.
Tackle your over-flowing recycling bins A review of your print and copy strategy may unlock significant savings. Addressing wasteful and unnecessary printing can seriously reduce your paper consumption. Read our guide on print control.
Get employees involved early A senior management sponsor is a really important first step towards a less paper office, and sharing a vision across the business will generate support. End users who will champion your initiative can also make a big difference.
Security: the flip side to accessibility If you are implementing an electronic document and records management system (EDRMS), remember that electronic data can be lost or stolen in vast amounts. Build in appropriate security from the start, choosing an EDRMS with functionality for user logins, activity auditing and other security features as necessary.