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Although making the paper-to-digital transformation may seem expensive and daunting—particularly in manufacturing where documentation is an integral part of day-to-day work—going paperless can actually turn an impressive ROI in terms of efficiency, reliability, security and money saved. 

The Real Costs of Paper

First, think about all of the paper documents you use at your plant. Think about what comes out of the printers every day. Think of what’s left on the printers. Think of what’s stashed in filing cabinets, piled on desks and sent around the facility from day to day. If you can imagine that the paper your company uses comes close to about 500 phone books, consider this: The American Forest and Paper Association reports that recycling (or avoiding the creation of) just 500 phone books can save the following resources: 

  • About 30 trees
  • More than 4,000 kilowatt hours of energy
  • At least 460 gallons of oil
  • 7,000 gallons of water
  • Almost 590 pounds of air pollution
  • More than 3 cubic yards of space in landfills

Consider just what this means for just your manufacturing operations. How much space does the paper take up in your facility? How secure is it, particularly if there is a disaster that wipes out your paper files? How much energy do you spend printing, how much money do you spend on paper, and how much labor time is spent filing and moving that paper? What is your company’s carbon footprint with regard to paper? You can probably already start doing the math in your head about the ROI of going paperless at your manufacturing facility, so let’s dig deeper. 

The Paper-to-Digital Transformation is Worth It

K.J. McCorry, an efficiency guru, sorted out the costs and ROI of going paperless a few years ago, and according to her research, the average company spent $7,500 per employee, per year, managing paper documents. Those costs include the price to buy, copy and print (33%), store, distribute (56%), dispose of and recycle that paper. Each company’s number might vary, especially with the rise of inflation, but the costs are huge nonetheless. If you have 100 employees and went completely paperless, your immediate ROI would be around $750,000. Of course, there are various estimates floated by experts around the country about how much paper really costs a company, but clearly, paper is expensive in so many more ways than just the cost to purchase it. 

Another key consideration is the vast wastage that happens with paper documents. Papersave estimates that a whopping 5,260,000 tons of paper is wasted by companies every year. Add to that the 45 percent of filed paper documents that are duplicates of other documents, or the missing one out of every 20 documents that needs to be reprinted, and then filed. And do you want to know something else? 80 percent of those documents are never looked at again once they are filed. It’s all wasted money and wasted space. 

Speaking of space, all of that paper has to go somewhere. Usually, in filing cabinets, or in a pile on someone’s desk. Filing cabinets take up a lot of space—on average about 50 to 70 percent of the office’s available space. That’s space that companies have to pay for in the form of rent, either onsite or offsite. 

Urgent Reasons to Switch to Paperless Manufacturing

And although the monetary savings and benefits of a digital document management system are impressive all on their own, they’re not the only things your paperless future can bring you. In an earlier piece, we explored exactly how going paperless can significantly improve the safety, quality and operations within the plant. 

And now that employee safety has taken on a new dimension with reconfiguring manufacturing operations to stop the spread of COVID-19, making the paper-to-digital transformation is even more critical. During a typical year, it would cost about $20 of labor just to file one paper document. Add to that $120 in labor costs to find missing documents and $220 to recreate lost documents. With more people working offsite during various stages of lockdown, these paper jams cost a huge amount of wasted time and effort as well, preventing critical communications from reaching decision makers and workers in a timely manner, which can cause safety, security and quality problems costing even more money. 

Experience High ROI by Going Paperless

The costs of staying with paper are too high in today’s world. And going paperless doesn’t have to be a hassle, especially if you use the right software to make the switch. Anvl can make your transformation to paperless documentation easy, efficient, and centered on the needs of your workforce. Send us your paper form and we will develop a new and improved, digital experience for your workforce and the resulting data for leaders that is made possible by digital operations. We will collaborate with you to make a paper-to-digital format that is seamless for your business. Sign up for your free trial today.