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Paper Isn’t Dead, but It Is a Productivity Drag

Paper Isn’t Dead, but It Is a Productivity Drag

The more times a document is touched, the greater the loss of productivity.

In our personal lives, paper is usually a passive form of information media. Paper documents such as wills, deeds, and birth certificates are carefully filed and only rarely accessed. Productivity isn’t really a consideration.

But in business, paper documents operate differently. Paper is a highly active medium in any paper-reliant organization, going in and out of file cabinets, across desks, through many hands.

Paper-based processes kill productivity in three ways:

  1. Movement – Inputting information by hand (a form, for example), and walking a document from one place to another (an approval process , for example), all happen at human speed. And if the recipient isn’t present to immediately handle the document, or the document travels via the USPS or another carrier, the process becomes even slower.
  2. Loss – DeLoitte & Touche have calculated that the average U.S. manager spends 3 hours per week looking for lost documents. That’s roughly 150 hours per year, per person, in lost productivity.
  3. Security – It is estimated that 70% of businesses would fail within 3 weeks in the event of a catastrophic loss of paper records due to fire or flood.

The explosive growth in work-from-home (WFH) adds a fourth productivity challenge. WFH staffers need access to papers locked away in the office. When staffers travel to the office, the commute time translates to lost productivity. And when documents are taken out of the office, there’s an increased security risk. 61% of data breaches in small businesses involve paper. Productivity plummets while damage is assessed and repaired.

The solution to paper’s productivity-killing tendencies is digital:

  1. Imaging (document conversion) of paper documents creates secure, accessible, searchable digital documents. Instead of moving at human speed from one desk to another, imaged documents move at near-instantaneous internet speeds. Imaged documents never get lost under a bookshelf or left in the copier. Usage authorization is managed and monitored for improved security, giving remote workers the access they need to be productive.
  2. Enterprise content management (ECM) software helps businesses move many of their paper-based processes to a digital format. Documents originate digitally, and remain in that medium throughout all operational processes. Errors are reduced, and, like imaged documents, these digital-origin documents move quickly and safely through the pipeline.

Even when businesses convert to ECM, however, paper is still generated. Signatures may be added, hand-written revisions can be made, notes may be added. An imaging program works alongside an ECM system to preserve a record of those document outputs, in digital format. Can your business gain efficiency and productivity by going digital? If you have paper-based processes, the answer is Yes.


Photo © StockPhotoPro / AdobeStock

Who’s Here? RFID for Hybrid Workplace Safety

Who’s Here? RFID for Hybrid Workplace Safety

We don’t like to think about it much, but workplace safety is just as important to a company’s strength as fiscal soundness or modern operating equipment. Prudent business managers have a disaster management plan that includes employee safety: evacuation routes and responsibilities, mustering locations, and safety alerts and communications.

The hybrid workplace, however, has thrown a monkey wrench into the orderly emergency-management process.

  • How do managers maintain an accurate headcount of occupants when people come and go on independent schedules?
  • Who is in charge of evacuations if the designated emergency captain is working remotely?
  • How are employees’ emergency contacts found when the HR department is working from home?

Risks increase whenever accurate information decreases. This is true in any aspect of business. And any wise business manager knows that employees, like any other business asset, can be protected by the application of good information.

RFID is an information technology that your business may already be using to manage inventory and locate assets like equipment and documents. RFID excels at answering the questions of What, Where, and How Many. It is fast and accurate, and a proven productivity and asset management tool.

In some industries, particularly manufacturing, mining, and chemical processing, RFID is already in use to track personnel as well as products and equipment. Some industries use RFID in process management, tracking parts and products through the manufacturing process, and tracking workers to determine efficient and safe process paths.

With the advent of hybrid workplaces, office managers are extending their RFID capabilities into emergency management. Paired with doorway readers, RFID-enabled personnel badges or wearables keep a tally of who’s in the office, and where they are working – particularly useful in hot-desking workplaces. RFID tags can contain vital health information such as allergies, medical conditions, and emergency contacts, without compromising privacy.

Every gain in speedy, accurate information delivery represents a reduction in risk, not just for a business’s productivity, but for its personnel too. Employees are a company’s greatest asset. Doesn’t it make sense to protect them with the reliable information technology of RFID?


Photo © PixelShot / AdobeStock