Advanced PDF Forms are the clear choice when it comes to companies seeking to reduce their reliance on paper and associated manual workflow processes.
Not All Movements are Equal
No doubt there have been many meritorious movements since the advent of the industrial revolution that have directly impacted the workplace and working conditions for the American worker. From wages, to work-week hours, working conditions, age restrictions, workplace conduct, and many more, employment movements of all sorts have changed the way businesses conduct themselves and how they treat and care for their employees. Collectively, we’ve all benefited.
At the same time, and for myriad reasons, long-standing, well-intended movements have failed to fully achieve their intended goals. Eliminating violence in the office, eradicating workplace harassment, and bringing about equal pay, are all examples that point out the fact that much work remains to be done to deal with what are serious workplace issues.
A Good Cause, But…
Despite its merit, the paperless office movement is another example of what remains largely a failed endeavor on the part of American businesses. Driven by equal parts “save the environment” idealism, productivity/cost concerns, and an esoteric desire to obtain the promise and benefits of automation, the paperless movement remains as elusive as ever.
In fact, over the past four or five decades since paperless first became a fixture in the American business lexicon, most U.S. companies continue to have an insatiable appetite for paper in their workflow processes.
Don’t believe that’s true. Consider the following:
- According to an oft-cited 1998 Document Management Study by Coopers and Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers or PwC), there were over 4 trillion office documents in existence in U.S. offices at that time, with an estimated 880 billion new office documents created each year. (source – Scan123 – original study is no longer available)
- More recently, in 2016, Statistics Brain (web-based community focused on statistics and analytics) estimated that U.S. office workers use an average of 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year.
- Supporting that claim, Forrester Research estimates there are one (1) billion photocopies created each day throughout U.S. offices.
Combining those figures with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) estimate that there are roughly 55 million white collar workers in the U.S., at 10,000 documents annually per employee, you get to a minimum of 550 billion documents. That’s an awful lot of documents to manage.
We’ve Moved Backwards
No matter how you slice it, the paperless office movement has failed…colossally.
Worse still, we’ve become more paper dependent than ever. And the problem has become more intractable. According to AIIM research (Association for Information and Image Management), 39-percent of respondents to a survey indicated they lacked knowledge regarding paper-free options in their workflow processes.
There’s no way to couch this in a good light. A large percentage of U.S. businesses have no Plan B when it comes to using less paper, let alone going paperless.
This in turn has led to a new headache for businesses.
The Paper Problem
The sheer volume of paper-based documents floating throughout American businesses has created the phenomenon we often talk about – the paper problem. In many regards, companies are more reliant than at any time in history on paper-based documents. And this creates a catch-22, as they are forced to continue relying on costly, time-consuming paper-based manual processes that thwart productivity, drive down worker satisfaction, increase production time and torpedo the bottom line.
This brings with it problems that most companies have failed to fully recognize. It’s not just the amount of paper being utilized – it’s the invaluable time, effort and cost being usurped in the process of attempting to manage and take benefit from all the paper documentation being created.
The Data Drain
And then there is the issue of failing to derive much of the intended benefits of their substantial efforts to obtain and learn from critical data, such as that gathered from their customers, vendors, competitors, industry and the overall marketplace.
Consider the following key facts relating to the inefficiency inherent in paper-based workplace documents:
- 70-percent of “white-collar” worker time is spent processing paper documents. (Source: Coopers and Lybrand/PwC)
- 60-percent of employees’ day is spent working, in one form or another, with records and documents. (Source: Delphi)
- Employees spend 20 to 40-pecent of their time searching for documents manually. (Source: Coopers and Lybrand)
- Professionals spend 50-percent of their time searching for information, and take 18 minutes to locate each document on average. (Source: Gartner)
- 59-percent of middle managers report missing important existing information daily, primarily due to fact it’s paper-based. (Source: Accenture)
- A company with 1,000 workers wastes $2.5M to $3.5M each year looking for information that doesn’t exist, not finding information that does, and recreating information that can’t be found. (Source: IDC)
- A 2013 report estimated that executives spend an average of six weeks each year looking for lost documents. (Source: Esselte)
- Companies misfile 20-percent of their documents, essentially losing them. (Source: ARMA)
Collectively, these statistics point to a very simple truth – companies aren’t managing their documents very well. As a result, they can’t easily access and leverage critical information, effectively reducing the value of such data. It’s inconceivable that such inefficiency isn’t affecting them big time in terms of productivity, costs, competitiveness, and a hit to their bottom line.
All of this begs the question of whether paperless is truly achievable?
Perhaps the better question to ask at this time is whether paperless should be our focus, versus simply attempting to use and rely on less paper. While eliminating the use of paper in our offices is indeed meritorious, and may someday be achievable, given the miserable record so far, incremental change stands are far greater chance of success.
The first step in achieving such incremental change is that of identifying resources that are capable of better serving our needs than the traditional paper-based business document.
Advanced PDF Forms are one such solution. They offer companies the ability to gather, maintain and utilize critical information in a more structured fashion, enabling them to benefit from better organization, access and assimilation of such data.
Advanced PDF Forms – The Best Solution Available
While there are myriad types of electronic forms now available in the market, many are anything but affordable. Moreover, most electronic forms tend to be rigid, forcing companies to conform their operations around the solution, versus being easily adaptable and implementable into an organization’s existing workflow setup.
Most utilize cookie-cutter templates that are confining in terms of formatting, branding ability, input flexibility (type of information that can be inputted), and even the scripting that can be imbedded to guide users through the entry and submission process.
Advanced PDF Forms are different, given they are built from the ground up, allowing them to be completely customizable for any setting or situation.
They provide companies, small and large, alike, an affordable, cost effective solution allowing them to substantially reduce their reliance on paper-based documents and manual processes. One that can help eliminate errors, drive down costs, create efficiencies, increase productivity, ensure an organization’s competitive position into the future, and positively impact the bottom line.
Bottom line, they are hands-down the best, most affordable solution capable of addressing an organization’s paper problem…they help companies use less paper.
Contact us today to learn more about how our fully-customizable Advanced PDF Form solutions can help you inexpensively break the reliance on paper-based documents and use less paper. They’ll help you automate your processes, drive down costs and improve your bottom line.