What is Paperwork Processing and Storage Costing Your Business?

Paperwork issues are  encountered in many businesses.  We hope you can use this list of top ten issues to review your business and discover how much time and money is being wasted every day. Digital document management solutions such as document scanning, off-site archive storage, digital mailroom and intelligent data capture can create some real efficiencies for your business.
Paperwork Problems

1.  Wasted Office Space

With office space costing as much as £141 per square foot in some City Centres, business owners should consider the amount of prime city centre office space taken up by documents, filing cabinets or archive boxes.  Re-utilising space for more profitable activities could make a valuable difference for your organisation. Scan your documents or outsource your archive storage to achieve this.  Replace filing cabinets with additional workstations, fit in those extra employees and avoid  unnecessary re-location costs to expand your business.

2.  Lost Time & Employee Costs

How much time do your employees spend looking for information?  Searching through lever arch files or archive boxes for that vital piece of information or travelling to the archive room/other office sites can take up valuable time for your staff.  If your business is operating with paperwork systems, this will be incurring time for all levels of staff, from your admin team through to senior managers.

3.  Paperwork Costs Affecting Your Profits

Run through our checklist to calculate just a few of the paperwork costs for your business.

  • How much room in your office is taken up by filing cabinets or documents?
  • How much time do your staff spend processing paperwork every day?
  • How many photocopies or print outs are your staff making of documents e.g. invoices, purchase orders, GRN’s or other paperwork?
  • What are you paying per photocopy and on photocopier maintenance?
  • What are your stationary costs for paper and printing cartridges?
  • How much do you spend on postage and mailing costs to distribute paperwork around your business or to customers?
  • What charges does your business incur for delayed payment on invoices due to lost paperwork?
  • What supplier issues do you face due to delayed payment on invoices?
  • How much time do your invoicing team spend on the phone dealing with suppliers?
  • How much time are your team spending on manual processes such as data entry?

4. Lost or Misplaced Documents

Archiving documents in the correct manner is vital to keep your business operation running smoothly. Lost documents can cost your business dearly.  For example:-

  • Major business projects can be delayed if maps, plans or other documents are not available
  • Manufacturing time can be lost if equipment fails and cannot be fixed due to lost or misplaced operations & maintenance manuals
  • Product development documents maybe required for compliance purposes or future development
  • Contract issues due to lost legal contracts and customer agreements.
  • Fines or issues due to lack of financial auditing information
  • Delayed decisions and business costs due to lack of management reporting information

5. Data Security Issues

Businesses are legally responsible for protecting customer and employee data as part of the Data Protection Act, regulated by the Information Commissioner’s Office.  For those who don’t protect data, heavy fines can be issued.  You need to ensure that data is being processed securely and that measures are in place to avoid unauthorised access or accidental loss.  Consider:-

  • Who has access to your paperwork e.g. records stored in open-plan offices or filing rooms can often be accessed by multiple departments/employees.  This can be a problem if filing cabinets are unlocked, or security measures are not in place.
  • Field based employees need to handle documents carefully, many cases have been heard of confidential paperwork being left in public places.
  • How are your documents disposed of by office, field-based and home workers? Paperwork containing employee or customer data needs to be shredded securely, not just put in waste paper bins or recycled.

6. Paperwork Disaster – Fire or Flood

Disasters such as Fire or Flood can destroy your paper records, which can be costly if records are not backed up.  Businesses often consider backing up electronic records and computer equipment as part of their business continuity plans, but paperwork is often overlooked until it’s too late.  Paperwork backup should be considered as part of your disaster recovery planning.  Things to consider:-

  • Where your records are currently stored?
  • Are any of the office locations in flood risk areas?
  • What fire protection/detection systems have you got in place?
  • Could you outsource your document storage?  Work out the costs to do this using our archive calculator
  • Consider scanning your paperwork.   You can work out how many documents you have and scanning costs using our  scanning calculator

7. Slow Customer Service

In a competitive market environment, where online reviews are common place, customer service can be crucial for companies and organisations. If you want to grow your business, create new business opportunities and retain existing business customers, you should be thinking about your overall customer experience.

Paperwork can slow down your processes, from order to delivery and after sales support. Manual paper processing, such as data entry, verification and checking, can be labour intensive.  Consider a paperless environment to speed up your entire processes, providing fast access to customer information from any location.  Improve your customer experience by utilising the power of the latest digital document & records management solutions including document scanning, intelligent data capture and cloud document management. Digitise your paperwork on arrival, access your information in the cloud and transform your customer experience by automatically routing information to the correct person in your business for processing e.g. order review, authorisation or despatch.

8. Lack of Audit Trail

Financial auditing and compliance requirements for environmental reporting, asset management, health and safety and quality management processes require a full audit trail. Annual audits can be time consuming and accreditation outcomes poor, if paperwork is not managed properly.   Documents are required to be kept for long periods of time and this can cause issues with office space.  Improve your audit trail by managing documents digitally. Once digitised, information can be stored in the cloud and a full electronic audit trail is provided, recording access by user. Digital information can be searched using keyword functionality, providing fast, easy access.

9. Filing and Indexing Issues

If only people could file documents in a number of different ways in a filing cabinet.  Paper records are often stored by one index, e.g. reference number,  customer name, date or location. This restricts the way in which documents can be found, resulting in employees being unable to locate vital records when required.   Misfiling is another problem with paper filing, once removed from a file, if put back in the wrong place, this can cause a disaster. Scanned documents can be bookmarked or indexed with as much, or as little metadata as required, enabling records to be found quickly and easily in a variety of ways.

 10. Restricted Access

Unless multiple photocopies are made and stored in various office locations, access to paper records can be restrictive.  Once scanned digital documents can be stored in the cloud, providing secure, flexible access to staff from any location.  This is helpful for large businesses with multiple office locations and also SME’s who need flexible access to their records for staff working in the field or from home.

For further details about Cleardata’s Digital Document Management Services, check out our videos or call our team on 0800 046 8081