For at least 30 years, the so-called paperless office has been “just over the horizon.” But as many of you can attest, the opposite has happened in many businesses, with paperwork proliferating. A number of factors play into the increase in paperwork, including compliance with regulations, and work processes that require documented approval steps. But there are powerful ways to dramatically reduce paperwork without foregoing the compliance, security, or approval steps you need.
The average American office worker uses around 10,000 sheets of paper annually, so even a small business can invest a significant sum of money in paper and printing supplies. And speaking of printing, the average cost of printing a page is just over three cents, which can seriously add up over a year. You also have to store all those documents, and filing cabinets can be expensive and take up valuable office space that could be used better for other things. Workflow management software is a proven, practical solution to excessive paperwork.
Workflow Management Software and Paper Reduction
With the right workflow management solution, you can make your paper forms electronic. Moreover, when several forms are involved in a process, you can use your workflow management software to create workflows that ensure all forms and steps are accomplished and all approvals are logged. In addition to cutting down on paper usage, making forms and workflows electronics reduces your need for paper storage, since virtual documents are stored on servers, either on your premises or in the cloud. And when forms are made electronic, worries about lost, coffee-stained, or illegible forms disappear.
The Positive Effects of Reduction in Paperwork
What happens when you use workflow software to reduce paperwork? One survey found that switching to digital forms allows business owners to focus more on revenues since they and their workforce spend less time handling physical documents. Filling out electronic forms is faster, you won’t run out of copies of electronic forms, and filing electronic forms digitally is significantly faster than doing so physically. Additionally, finding completed electronic forms for review is significantly faster. On average, making forms digital saves employees 11 hours per week and saves business owners six hours per week.
Where Can You Start?
It may not be the best idea to take all of your forms and workflows electronic at once. Most companies have a better experience when they identify one form or workflow to make electronic, implement it, and then monitor and measure results before developing more electronic workflows.
For example, you might make the forms you use for on-boarding new employees electronic and create a workflow that automatically routes completed forms to the proper recipients. Once you get used to it and see benefits, you can then expand your workflow automation to other forms and departments.
What Are the Possibilities?
The possibilities offered by good workflow management software are almost limitless. And it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, or what your main product is. Companies of all sizes have used workflow management software to improve the IT help request system, streamline building maintenance procedures, and ensure regulatory compliance. A highly customizable workflow software system with an intuitive user interface can be customized to meet each business or department’s specific requirements for reducing paperwork.
Workflow Management Software With Power and Flexibility
ProcessMaker is open-source workflow management software with an interface that allows non-programmers to design custom forms and workflows, reducing paperwork and accelerating document-intensive processes. These processes may be contained within one department or maybe organization-wide. The results include a drastic reduction in paperwork, smaller environmental impact due to decreased paper usage, and faster, more accurate, more effective workflows. We encourage you to try out ProcessMaker Enterprise Edition for free or download the ProcessMaker Community Edition. It’s a great first step to getting paperwork under control instead of letting it control you.