The average office will produce about 1.5 pounds of paper waste per employee, each day. Shocking, but even more outrageous is the fact that the average attorney uses a ton of paper every year! Envirowise Manager, Diana Maslin, states that “In our experience, most businesses don’t think enough about how much they are paying for items they are throwing away.”
Document management is a great way for businesses to start implementing green initiatives while improving efficiency. Document management software is a computer system that is used to store electronic documents and scanned paper documents. These systems can often be very convenient for file exchange amongst employees and reduce the weight paper puts on a business. Below are the 5 ways that document management is helping your company go green.
1. No Paper
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of document management software is the lack of paper. Digitizing records and invoices offers a myriad of benefits for your business. In most instances, in addition to the green advantages, it allows your documents to be searchable and easily exchanged.
Government has taken action and has allowed digitization of documents to promote incentives for going green. However, the U.S. Government requires maintenance of data in a proper fashion. When a government audits a Company, an organization with document management software systems in place will ensure compliance with appropriate laws.
Even businesses that aren’t traditionally “paper heavy” create a large volume of documents. Managing these documents is often a daunting task, and requires addition capital for storage and maintenance, but can be done through something like Doxim eDocuments.
2.Setting the Tone For Other Green Decisions
Why stop at document management software? There are plenty of other ways your business can save a bit of money by going green. Document management software (DMS) is a necessary baby step to making the office completely paperless. If you are a bit apprehensive about jumping in headfirst and doing something like solar paneling your roof; DMS is a great way to start.
DMS offers substantial space savings to your business. According to Eco-officiency, the space isn’t even needed at all, “Current estimates show that 50–70% of space in an office is still dedicated to filing and storage of documentation. The real clincher is studies showing that over 45% of the files in those cabinets are duplicated information, and 80% is never accessed again. Because of U.S. regulations and our litigious culture, most of the paper stored is saved in case of legal liability, compliance, and/or audits. Once filed away, most of this documentation is never accessed or needed again. A further waste consists of papers printed and stored that really are never needed at all.” Each filing cabinet can run anywhere from $240-$300, and as your business shifts its paperwork to servers you may be able to downsize.
4. Energy Bill
Based on the evidence that 50-70% of office space is dedicated to filing, your business should be able to decrease office space needed by around that same amount. Similarly your residual energy bill for a business that uses 50% less space should mirror your efforts. Alternatively your freed up office space could be used for other business side projects, or rented out.
5. Promoting Other Companies to Follow Your Lead
A big reason that many businesses are going paperless is because their customers and business partners are doing it. Lets face it, we are receiving more interactive pdfs than faxes these days because it is easier to find, easier to navigate and quicker to send. Digitizing your documents means that transferring files will inspire others to follow your lead.
Going paperless can be a fun process, Edward Newman a recycling manager for OU, though outside the box when he found, “new uses for the now empty filing cabinets that once held up to 10,000–12,000 documents. What they did was convert the old metal cabinets into recycling bins.” Creative thinking can lead to a competitive advantage with any company looking to go green. Green is just public relations spectacle; it is a business process change. Changing the way we do things in our business can not only save us a bit of money, it can help harden a long-term green business strategy.
A social entrepreneur and writer on all things green, Matt Krautstrunk focuses on topics ranging from small business strategy to business security systems for Resource Nation.