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Transitioning to a Paperless Office.


Executive summary.         The use of paper has increased in the past few years thus this has increased the production cost for the company, and some changes need to be effected to address this. Main Reaso...Read More


~Posted on Mar 2018

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Executive summary.     &nb...

Executive summary.

        The use of paper has increased in the past few years thus this has increased the production cost for the company, and some changes need to be effected to address this.

Main Reason.

This is primarily attributed to the growth and expansion of the company. The size of the business has grown from a mid-sized company to a regional firm thus an overall increase in the number of operations. Before the company used less paper but as services, such warehousing and distribution from other distribution companies have doubled. Most shipping companies use a lot of paper for the recording of goods delivered thus need to make a transition to less or minimal paper use unless necessary. If the company is to grow to a global firm and compete on a global level, there is a need to cut down on paper use to reduce the production cost that can be used to improve the efficiency of the service delivered. (Rothaermel, F. T, 2015). With the growing pressure for companies to go green due to climate change, many have been considering going paperless and have realized that it might also reduce overhead expenses. However, even with this up to 80% of organizations are resistant and still using paper due to different challenges including the complex regulations involved in going paperless security and training problems. My business is part of this 80%, even as a manufacturing based company; we use paper for things such as invoices and insurance and shipping agreements. Upon evaluation, it seems that throughout the years the usage of has been increasing even with all the technological advancements. The purposes of this report is to:

·         Highlight the need to go paperless.

·         Identify the reasons for resistance.

·         State the advantages of going paperless.

·         Develop the best strategies for transitioning to paperless.

·         Make recommendations to implement those strategies.

I have researched the negative impact the use of paper is having on the company profits and operations. I also looked at the reasons for this increased paper use in the enterprise.

 

Memo.

To: CEO Ohio Manufacturing Inc.

     With the growing size of Ohio Manufacturing Inc., there has been an increase in paper use which has resulted in increased production cost. There has been a global campaign towards environmental conservation and the green agenda thus for the company to expand into regional markets there is need to portray a positive image of the company by cutting down on paper usage. Also completion from competitors thus the company should use innovative and up to speed systems to be able to compete with other global firms. For such a change to be effected, it requires an executive decision from top management for it to be implemented across all departments. Transitioning to paperless has many advantages for the company, our customers, and workers.

Table of contents.

        I.            Introduction.

      II.            Reasons for resistance

    III.            Transitioning to a paperless office.

  IV.            Recommendations.

 

Introduction.

       Going paperless is advantageous to any company or business as it improves on efficiency and productivity. Transitioning to a paperless office has been a challenge to most corporations who can’t fully make the transition to an office environment operated without the use of paper. It’s quite expensive to effect such changes since employees would have to be retrained to use software. The concept of developing a paperless office has been around for decades, but we have certainly made progress. An average office employee uses up to 45 sheets of paper according to the Green Office Guide produced by recycling experts in 2013. Going paperless is something almost all organizations have aspired to be as it communicates innovation and sends a message that there are drivers of the green agenda. (Rothaermel, F. T, 2015). To fully go paperless it would require collaboration between employees and the management of a particular firm to implement recommendations made by the organization. Moving away from the use of paper can be costly for any company, but they are financial benefits that are coupled with it. The storing paper takes a lot of space in the office or off-site but going paperless can improve on efficiency which can trickle down to business partners.

       Going paperless has so many advantages for any company and organizations should strive towards moving towards that direction. First, a paperless office is more efficient and smooth in service delivery. Workers can complete their office tasks on time and reduce the lengthy queues in government offices such as hospitals where every event has to be documented. Use of paper takes a lot of time as the papers have to be filled out manually which is quite time-consuming.

Also, paper records are expensive to maintain and are prone to recording errors as compared to electronic devices. In offices departments, such finance which use a lot of paper storing and maintaining the papers can increase the cost. Hence an organization that transitions to a paperless office would save on office space and cut down on the number of hours spent recording. Also, an organization that's paperless would cut down on some employees thus saving on production costs. Customer service will improve and the number of hours spent waiting to be served would reduce. People have reported that responses to customers can be speeded up by getting rid of the use of paper by four to ten times by cutting down on the number of papers sitting in storage trays and the ones awaiting processing. (Miles personal communication, November 3, 2013). Use of paper leads to environmental degradation as the papers are made from trees hence going paperless would drive the green agenda and fewer trees could be cut down thus conserving ta environment. Hundreds of tons of trees are cut down and processed into paper every day. Some organizations such as learning institutions use a lot of paper due to the nature of their operations. Such organizations should identify areas where there don't need to use paper or can reduce on its use to reduce the demand for paper. Also, the same organizations should drive the campaign for going paperless and should be at the frontline to drive the green agenda.

      Another major reason for going paperless is it would improve the speed of conducting business transactions between business partners or companies. The use of paper limits the speed of transactions in organizations with many departments, (Rothaermel, F. T, 2015). Where the approval letter for any transaction has to be circulated across the office to be signed by the relevant approval managers. In such a scenario having software that links all the relevant workers in an office would speed up the transaction hence more business transactions would be transacted.

     

       Reasons for resistance

         Going paperless does not come without challenges and to effect such a change would be costly for the company. The first use of paper is still the best option for any organization. In the recent past although many tools and systems used in organizations have gone digital some such as the use of paper have remained analog. (Rothaermel, F. T, 2015).  Through the paper, companies can maintain their touch with a customer base. Also, the use of paper is convenient as it does involve risks such as running out of batteries, the need for upgrading and security breaches that come with the use of the software. The paper will remain to be the best option for any organization as it’s quite widespread around the world, and almost everybody is conversant with the use of paper.

       New systems for paperless use are not designed for every user. Many people are not familiar with iPad and the latest computers and asking them to change from the use of paper that's been ingrained in their traditions and way of communicating might not work. The key is to meet customers right where there are rather than asking them to adopt to technological changes there are not accustomed to. (Maud, & C., B, 2013).  Systems should be designed for everyone and not suiting some while leaving some out. A survey conducted on health insurance found out that many enrollees don't know how to use a web service only to apply for health insurance and many spend a lot of time in person or on the phone.

       Going paperless is not a smart goal. Evolution and not revolution is the sensible path forward according to smart IT experts. But for the case of paper they have not been an evolutionary path available. The choice to many has felt black or white, to go paperless or not. In fact, the best choice is both, and these have been enabled by new technology.

      Throwing out paper would result in project failures for legacy processes. When digital systems are used, and paper is thrown out, what happens when the system fails? Often digital systems fail which results in turning back to the use of paper which creates a back log. For instance, the Veterans Benefits Management system created to replace paper processes. When the system breaks down which happens regularly, patients have to turn back to the use of paper thus burdening the legacy paper processes. . (Madu, & C., B, 2013).  Systems that integrate both digital and paper processes work best where the files are baked up in a backend store and increase both efficiency and productivity.

       Valuable data remains on paper. Many advocates for moving to paperless overlook a critical fact that vital information is still stored on paper. When we think of information that we can easily access such as on websites or blogs, we are missing the point. Private and public companies need system tools that help them organize data in a logical manner. This idea of going paperless is a false dichotomy. . (Madu, & C., B, 2013).  Data comes in both forms digital and paperless, and we need to embrace the data, not the form it comes in. As we go paperless, we need to center our thinking around how to integrate both digital and paper rather than fully getting rid of paper.

Transitioning to a paperless office.

      Training of office workers to work in an office environment without or with minimal paper use. Since many office workers are not well trained on digital systems such as software, they would require training to ensure a transition to a paperless office.  Moving to a paperless office would be a major shift for any office worker and regular customers also would take the time to adjust to the changes.

       Also, the organization should conduct a survey of its employees to test the waters before effecting a paperless office as such dramatic changes will influence the efficiency of workflow and productivity. Some office workers might oppose such a transition and thus will not be willing to learn and implement the change to a paperless office.

       Another issue to implement for the effective transition to a paperless office is wider use of tablets among the office workers and those working remotely to collect and record information. Some tablets are user-friendly and are not cumbersome to use. For office workers who have poor digital skills, there can use the tablets to learn a few skills before the entire office goes paperless. Thus every worker could be accommodated. (Madu, & C., B, 2013). Data can be captured there and then with photo images stored close to documents if necessary hence there is no lag time for the back office to process papers. (Brooks Duncan, personal communication, August 6th, 2014).

   

Recommendations.

      Training of office workers to work in an environment that's paperless. This can be achieved by putting the office workers through a three months training the program on the expected new running of the office once implemented. The employees would be equipped with skills on how to use digital platforms and to identify problems when their arise in the office. Also for workers who already have some skills these skills would be harnessed.

      The organization intending to go paperless should supply its office workers with tablets to collect and record information. . (Madu, & C., B, 2013). Such a move would give the need to go paperless a try and would give the organization on the best system to use such as an electronic filling system.

      Also, a survey should be conducted and the organization should study the success a paperless office where it has been tried in other organizations. The survey should be done to get the ideas and opinions of making such a transition and the effect it will have on their work efficiency and productivity.

      Also reducing the number of equipment's facilitating the use of papers such as printers. A reduction in the number of equipment would discourage the use of paper.

      Conclusion.

     In conclusion, I found out that an office run by use of paper is very expensive and a reduction in paper use would cut down on the production cost that could be used to hire more workers. Further, it would improve efficiency and productivity of every office department. I gathered that the increase in paper use is attributed to the growth of the business thus as the business grows and expands its, operations other business partners such as ware housing and distributors don't use papers the transition.





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