Automating paper-based processes and moving to a more digitally-focused business isn’t something from the future, it’s happening right now and is a trend that’s gaining momentum.
There was a time when the term “automation” conjured up images of manufacturing plants full of robots. And while some human interaction has been replaced by machine labour, there’s so many other examples of where workplace automation has changed the way we live and work.
In this blog, we’ll explore:
- The path to a digital organisation
- What are the benefits of automating paper processes?
- Where to start?
The path to a digital organisation
Becoming a digital organisation is not just something that happens overnight. There’s a lot of planning, defining, more planning and perseverance when moving from a paper-based business to a more digitally savvy one.
What is it you’re trying to achieve? And where do you start? A key element is understanding what are the goals? Becoming a digital organisation can mean different things to different businesses. It could be:
- Removing paper-based processes and replacing them with digital ones
- Radically transforming to digital only
- Improving customer service with automated processes
- Improving speed and agility within the business
…or all the above. Ultimately, the goal should be to accelerate and bring more value to the organisation. And that’s most definitely what a digital-first strategy will do.
The benefits of automating paper-based processes
Firstly, let’s look at what is automation. Automation describes a wide range of technologies that reduce human intervention in processes. Basically, it replaces the need for human labour by replacing it with machine labour.
That could be online check-in screens at your GP surgery, QR code menus and online ordering systems in restaurants or the digital capture of purchase receipts, automation and a paperless future is everywhere.
Automate paper-based processes, what are the benefits?
The average UK office worker uses 10,000 pieces of paper each year, equating to nearly 38 sheets in just a single day of work. An organisation with just 10 employees will consume 100,000 pieces of paper over the course of the year.
As we know, paper production also requires a lot of water. It takes between 5 and 10 litres of water to produce just one piece of A4 paper. Each employee’s water usage works out to 50,000-100,000 litres each year. With 20 employees, your water usage from paper alone could fill up an Olympic sized swimming pool.
To make matters worse, up to 75% of the paper used in office processes every day is wasted for reasons such as printing documents unnecessarily, failing to print double-sided, or printing duplicates. At best this paper ends up being recycled, but up to 20% of our paper waste ends up in the general waste bin ready to enter landfills.
Do these figures make you think twice about the paper usage of your organisation? Do they highlight the need to reduce the number of paper-based processes? They certainly should do.
We all know that time is money. By cutting out monotonous, time-consuming tasks like printing, data entry, or cabinet filing, and making these processes automated, you will increase productivity by freeing your employees up to focus on higher value tasks.
By having your employees spend more time on these higher value tasks, you will also get more bang for your buck in labour costs.
Machines have the ability to do some manual tasks at a much faster speed than we do, so why not utilise this to work smarter, not harder. They are also less likely to make mistakes, meaning that automation enhances overall productivity.
By unburdening your employees from data entry, approvals, checking for errors, or editing, you also improve the workflow of tasks, helping your people to avoid getting stuck with nothing to do while waiting for things from others.
This on top of reducing paper and stationery costs for your organisation…a whopping saving!
Happier staff and customers
Reducing administrative and repetitive tasks frees up time for your employees to do more value-adding activities, whether that’s talking to clients or interacting with colleagues in brainstorming meetings.
Freeing up their time to do more of what they enjoy means happier employees, while studies show that happy employees perform better at work, forming one continuous positive loop.
Your customers and clients will also benefit from automated processes. When it comes to interacting with businesses, customers love online and automated features like online forms, or online instant chats.
Improved control, visibility and quality
Processes in the cloud have greater visibility within the organisation. This means that errors are more likely to be spotted and corrected sooner, which improves the quality of your work.
Mistakes are costly for businesses and spotting them sooner saves you time and money.
Where to start with automating paper processes
Automation can seem scary and expensive, but here at Changing Social we’ve set up the PULP (Please Use Less Paper) challenge. We are challenging you to work smarter, help the environment and save costs by submitting us one of your paper-based processes.
In return, you can be in with a chance of winning a day of Microsoft Power Automate training. This code-free/low-code platform allows you to automate business processes using different flow types and hundreds of templates ready for you to install and use, and you can read more about Power Automate in our next blog.
Using less paper and automating your processes has never been easier, and we’re here to help. Enter the competition and take the PULP challenge here!
Do you want to swap some of those limiting paper-based processes for a more streamlined, secure and efficient way of working? Do you want to improve not only the productivity but also the engagement of your employees and customers? Then get in touch. We provide tailored automation solutions to your business problems. Contact us via the form below or email us at [email protected]