Paper is a massive waste of money for businesses, and it has nothing to do with the actual cost of the paper itself. Companies are hung up on the average cost of printing per page, which is valid. They should also be worried about the cost of retrieving lost documents. Printing and retrieving lost documents are the two most prominent places businesses waste money.
Going paperless is an essential step in cutting costs. It removes all the tedious steps and wasted opportunities associated with paper. A document management system reduces the average cost of printing per page. It streamlines the document retrieval process to defeat lost documents forever.
No business can afford to waste money on paper documents. It’s bad for business and the environment at large. Here are the real costs of paper.
The Average Cost of Printing Per Page
Printing is a major expense. Studies by the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance found the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper each year. It turns out a lot of this printing is unnecessary too. Much of this paper is ultimately thrown away, accounting for 26% of solid waste in dumps, according to the World Atlas.
Different printer companies have different costs per page. The prices of toner and paper affect it, as does the amount of toner being used. A full-color print uses a lot more toner than a page of black-and-white text. It can cost up to $0.25 or more to print each page, especially without managed print services keeping resources in check.
Managed print services work in tangent with document management services to digitize and organize files. The need for printing is drastically reduced, and necessary prints are optimized to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Digitizing paper documents can save businesses millions of dollars in wasted spending each year.
As expensive as it is to print documents, it’s just one piece of the total cost of paper. All that printed paper must be stored somewhere, and that means it must be retrieved too.
The Cost of Document Retrieval and Storage
Once documents are printed, they need to be either sent out or stored. Postage for a parcel up to 30g costs $1.05. When compared to free email, messenger services, and cloud-based file sharing, there are no numbers to describe the exponential cost difference in sending physical versus digital documents.
Storing those documents doesn’t get any cheaper. It’s estimated that 50-70% of commercial office space is dedicated to document storage. To make matters worse, nearly half of the documentation is duplicated, and most of it is never reaccessed. This is a massive chunk of overhead that can be wiped out by going green.
That’s not even the worst part. Companies lose $14,000 in productivity each year due to lost documents. This includes the labor costs involved in document retrieval. If it can’t be found, it must be replicated, resulting in productivity slowdown in the entire supply chain. Giving up the search for lost documents causes another duplicate that grows the pile in a vicious cycle.
A document management system streamlines the document retrieval and storage process. Everything is digital and cloud-based, with organized metadata and keyword search capabilities. This stops the problem at the source, preventing duplicates and allowing employees at all stages of the supply chain to access documents and track their audit trails.
The Price of Lost Documents
Lost documents create a lot of chaos. Not only are multiple employees now wasting resources looking, but customers aren’t being served. Hold times are increased, satisfaction goes down, and the business starts bleeding money. It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
Lost documents create errors, and customers don’t get serviced. These problems quickly snowball out of control, leading to more customers down the line having problems. Losing documents means new ones must be created, and some documents, like a certified birth certificate with an official seal, can’t easily be recreated.
Paper-based documents can lead to assets being lost. Lawsuits and criminal court cases are won and lost on documentation. Failing to store documents properly has hidden costs that go far beyond the page.
Document management systems address these issues by securely storing and archiving all business documents. What used to take up half the building for an inefficient process nobody understood is now available at the click of a button. An intuitive UI enables search across years of documentation to find the correct data instantly and automatically.
Going paperless requires more than just digitizing documents – they need to be easily searchable to be of any use to the business.
Check out First Phase Data’s document management solutions to eliminate paper waste eternally.
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