How do you turn your business into a paperless environment? Is it as simple as stopping all printing and just doing everything digitally? What about storing and retrieving documents? The list of questions can get really long!
To address this challenge, Green Office’s Business Process Optimisation focuses on the following three steps:
1. Assess your Processes
Before you can start thinking about changing anything, it’s important to understand where all your documentation comes from and what information it contains. To do this, we start by looking at your processes i.e.
- what you do,
- when you receive paper documents,
- when you generate paper documents and
- how you store paper documents.
If you can understand why you use paper documents, you can then find a way to replace them through process adoption.
For example, changing your invoice approval from a physical signature to a digital signature and creating electronic forms to collect procurement information (which can be approved electronically) are different forms of process adoption.
2. Optimise your Technology
If you’re going to be removing paper documents from your business, you’ll inevitably start using digital documents. This might mean having to use more technological applications, but it doesn’t always have to be the case. Also, if you’re really looking to make your paperless environment sustainable, you should be focused on improving the utilisation of all resources (including technology).
To start off with, you can look at the technology you currently have, and see if you are using it to its full potential. After that, make sure that all technologies are talking to each other. For example, if you can use technology to transform a purchase order into an invoice, it means that you’re saving time on creating an invoice and making sure that it is more accurate.
One solution we suggest is using Electronic Content Management (ECM) software, which handles the entire process and gets all the relevant technologies to share information instead of duplicating it.
3. Equip your Team
It’s one thing to have all of the processes in place in theory but getting your team onboard to roll out these changes can be your biggest challenge, as most people are opposed to change. So how do we motivate people to embrace change? Yes, we could just use a stick but, there are better ways!
The first step is to educate everyone about what is happening. Start by informing everyone about the changes and explaining why they need to take place, which will also help everyone understand what they need to do and how they need to do it. The second step is to make sure that the technology you’re using has an intuitive User Interface (UI). If people understand the technology and systems and find it easy to use, they will adapt to it.
Some companies drive these kinds of changes through incentive programs, but while this might sound like a good idea, it can lead to a hostile situation. We think that people shouldn’t only adapt because of a reward, but because there is a shared interest.
Implementing your Sustainable Paperless Strategy
To recap on the points above, you first need to understand your processes, and then optimise them. After that, make sure to align these processes with your sustainability values, and then use technology to facilitate them. When doing this, ensure that all of your systems integrate easily and that there is one central communication interface where possible. Finally, and most importantly, you need to get your team to join and share your interest in implementing a paperless environment. Do this by getting them to understand and contribute to the systems you choose to use. Don’t buy them in, get them to buy in.
Green Office is a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider. We help people, by managing processes and improve integrating technology. Let US help YOU implement paperless processes for your business to achieve optimal efficiencies and becoming more sustainable.
To find out more, click the below button to request a call from one of our Consultants.