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Is the Paperless Office a realistic goal?

For literally decades efficiency experts have promoted the Paperless Office yet the use of paper is actually growing.  The latest estimate from the National Archives is 75 billion pages of archivable original documents are produced annually (1998 – Univ. of California Research Paper)

Nevertheless, enormous progress has been made. More and more companies are planning to go paperless due to the widespread use of computers and the Internet.  Electronic ordering, statements, invoices and bill payment are now the norm.  To reduce the current paperwork in the medical area, the Federal Government allocated $19 Billion of the Stimulus funds to Electronic Medical Records.

Document Imaging

There are two fundamental aspects about “go paperless” — Moving to digital document imaging and processing, and dealing with existing paper.  We recommend you start by identifying best practices within your industry.  What are the steps leading edge firms have taken for process improvement?  Do they have office procedures for document conversion that could be considered Paperless? Can those methods be adapted to your specific needs?  Will your costs be reduced or might they be increased due to maintaining the infrastructure and controls?  Small amounts of paper may be easier to process and maintain than complex electronic systems.

Assuming that the paperless approach is the right objective, migration becomes the primary focus.  This includes installation and training on the new office systems and cut over procedures.  Employees comfortable with current methods may be resistant to change, especially if personnel changes are part of the implementation.

Document Scanning

Where does microMEDIA fit in to the paperless office approach?  We can assist in one of the most important factors – operating two systems; paper and electronic.  Almost no business or institution can eliminate all of the old paper documents, even if all new work is digital.  Our experts provide advice on which older documents need to be converted and recommend alternative document scanning and indexing approaches to minimize the cost.  We can help you decide what to warehouse, what to scan to electronic form and even what to maintain in paper form.

Check out our Tips for Successful Document Capture.