Paperwork is an endless problem for many organizations—especially in the manufacturing and distribution industry.
Every order—despite efforts towards digitization—can easily trigger an avalanche of paper documents. Important documents like quotes, purchase orders, invoices, and bills of lading all too often wind up on paper. It’s a common problem, but one that can be solved.
Take this document management example. A major steel supplier had a big problem when it came to their paperwork. Too much paper was involved in every step of their processes—and it brought business to a halt.
They decided to take the paper and work out of paperwork with a document and forms management solution.
Today, all of their documents are stored in one central repository. Invoices and shipping documents can be created quickly—and digitally—with all of the supporting documents attached. Customer service reps no longer need to hunt through filing cabinets to find the answers to customer questions.
Now they save time across the board and rest assured that their documents are accessible and secure.
How to Solve Your Paperwork Problem
You too can solve your organization’s paperwork problem. Simply follow the document management example of the major steel supplier.
1. Check Your Processes
When it comes to paperwork, what are your current processes? Are they paper-intensive? Or have you made strides to improve them?
Evaluating your processes is a crucial step towards a more efficient (and even paperless) future.
It can be difficult to take a step back and look at your processes with fresh eyes. Here are some common process problems to help you get started:
- Workflow routing: do you still route paper documents for approval manually?
- Document storage: do you still archive your documents in filing cabinets?
- Data entry: are you still re-keying data manually?
- Document creation: are you using pre-printed forms to create documents?
2. Ditch the Old Way
The major steel supplier recognized two key areas where their processes needed to improve. First, they used pre-printed forms to create documents. Second, they stored their documents in filing cabinets. Both processes consumed employee time and slowed the major steel supplier down. It was time for them to leave the old way behind—and it might be time for you, too.
Consider the processes that you identified in step one. How could they be improved? Is outdated technology involved? Or is your organization too dependent on paper?
3. Embrace the New Way
The major steel supplier embraced the new way: an electronic document management system topped with digital document creation software. Today, they can easily find documents whenever they need them—without riffling through filing cabinets. Plus, they can quickly create invoices and other documents.
Think about the old ways that you’ve pinpointed in step two. What new way might be the answer for you? Common ways to solve process problems include:
- Automated workflow routing eliminates the paper trail
- Secure digital document storage makes documents easy to find from anywhere
- Automated data capture reduces the pain of data entry
- Electronic forms software makes it quick and easy to create documents fast
4. Digitize Everything
When it comes to document and forms management, digital is the future. Follow the document management example of the major steel supplier and put paper in the past.
Everything in your filing cabinets can be digitized—as can all the paper stacks on employee desks across your organization. Document processes, too, can all be handled digitally.
By digitizing everything, you’ll gain productivity and accessible documents. Consider your organization. Are there documents and processes that you could digitize?
5. Keep Customer Happiness in Mind
Increasing customer service response times and improving customer happiness was important to the major steel supplier. With a document and forms management solution from HelpSystems, they were able to meet their goals of fast response times and measurable customer happiness.
Think about your customers. What processes can you change to improve customer happiness?