Paper Trails: The Unseen Costs Of An Analog Approach In The Digital Era

Working with paper documents

Why working with paper is destroying your productivity

Does your organisation still work with paper?

In this digital era, it’s more common than you might think. Technology is all well and good, but for those that have spent years using paper, it can be scary. It also isn’t always the easiest to set up, use, or understand.

Yes, you know paper can be costly. There’s the annual cost of ink, toner, and storage. But this is a price many organisations such as yours are willing to pay in order to retain the familiarity of an analog approach. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…right?

You may think you know the costs…

…but it’s the drain on time, resources, and visibility that could be costing you more than just ink.


Familiar, yet fallible

Working with paper documents

Paper may not be broken, but it is breaking.

Analog processes like paper were never designed to cope with the sheer amount of data modern organisations are currently having to manage. It’s a logistical nightmare. As a result? Your organisation’s time, money, and valuable data is slipping through the cracks.

Let’s use a single board document as an example. Preparation alone sees secretaries wasting time searching through paper documents strewn across desks, stuffed into filing cabinets, or archived in boxes stacked ceiling-high. That’s before documents are printed, or distributed.

Did you know?

  • Software Advice found that staff in analog-based workplaces spend an average of six hours per week searching for paper documents, and over 8 hours a week manually creating reports based on information compiled from paper documents (Source).
  • A 2018 survey by Nintenx found that 39% of those interviewed observed broken document management and sales processes within their organisation. This includes (Source):
    • 49% have trouble locating documents
    • 43% face difficulties with document approval requests and sharing
    • 33% struggle with document versioning

Now, say that information changes, updated sales figures come through, or the agenda shifts at the last minute. What happens next? You can’t update a multi-hundred page, printed document on the fly. Let alone the copies now in the hands of board members.

Changes need to be made manually, which means editing, re-printing, and re-distributing. Again.

Once the meeting is over, you’re left chasing the paper trail as updates or amendments have been scribbled in the margins. These now need to be collated, tracked, and then worked back into a new revision. That’s assuming none of them are skipped or simply missed in the process.

Surely there’s a better use of your time.


Time flies when you’re working with paper

The cost of paper processes

If time is money, why are you wasting so much of yours on paper?

Consider the time, energy, and money spent in our earlier example. Now extrapolate that cost across multiple documents in a given day, and then multiply that by days in the week, weeks in the month, and months in a year.

You get the idea.

As for the literal cost? The team at PA Life crunched the numbers and what they found is staggering:

“Offices across the UK are so disorganised they are losing over one million hours a week searching for misplaced documents, that’s seven days a year for each worker and is costing UK businesses £20 million a year in wasted time.”

This hit to your organisation’s productivity and bottom-line should be reason enough to embrace change, but that’s peanuts compared to the potential costs associated with the increased risk of misinformation, misdirection, and general mismanagement as vital information falls through the cracks.

There’s no clear idea as to which version of a document is the most up-to-date. There’s no guarantee that everyone’s notes and changes have been worked through, let alone seen. And there’s no way to speed up the process, because you’re working with paper.

If you’re committed to minimising costs and maximising productivity, you need a better solution.


Save time and money with a digital solution

Earlier on we highlighted just how hesitant many organisations can be when it comes to embracing digital solutions. We get it. It’s not always easy to make the switch. That’s how we identified the need for a solution that allows for a seamless transition away from a paper-based environment that’s as easy to set up as it is to use.

By removing the usual hurdles that trip up many that look to make the switch, Stellar has found that organisations are far more likely to ditch the paper documents in favour of a centralised business platform that improves their flow, efficiency, and productivity.

With the right solution you’ll boost visibility while saving time and, in turn, money.


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