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  • Writer's pictureJack Arnston

Celebrating Earth Day

As a member of the document management community it seems fitting to acknowledge Earth Day 2018 with a reminder that we all can make a difference by eliminating paper from our workplace. When you evaluate the statistics, the numbers are glaring.[1]

  • The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper each year.

  • On average, a single document is copied 10 times

  • About 45% of office paper that is printed ends up in the trash by the end of the work day.

  • U.S. companies spend on average $120,000,000 on printed forms each year.

So, what can be done to eliminate the paper? Well, the use of a document management solution can go a long way to reducing these numbers. Think about all of the printing that is done today. In Accounts Payable departments many companies still print vendor invoices and distribute them manually for approval and payment. Even when most vendors are emailing a digital copy of the invoice to the department. Rather than print these invoices, you can use advanced capture techniques to automatically extract the data from the invoice and archive it in a document management system. Next, use workflow to automatically route the invoices to the proper people for approval and coding. When the approval process is complete, the data will be automatically uploaded to your ERP system and the images are archived and available electronically for audit and research purposes. All without creating any paper.

In Accounts Receivable start sending out your invoices electronically if you are not already doing so. Statements can also be organized electronically and sent out via email. Not only are you saving paper, but you are reducing postage costs while instantly sending the invoices or statements. This allows the receiving party to more efficiently process your invoice or statement and provide faster payment back to your company.

Human Resources is another area where paper savings can be found. E-forms and workflows can be used in the hiring process, onboarding and separation/termination. Routing electronic documents rather than paper not only improves efficiency, it also saves money. Performance appraisals are another area that can be performed electronically. And consider using electronic signatures such as DocuSign within your workflow and emails to eliminate the need for “wet” signatures on paper documents.

Other, more specialized areas that our clients have eliminated paper include areas such as:

  • Electronic benefits forms for payroll

  • Electronic applications and loan processing forms for auto loans

  • Electronic statements for wealth management companies

  • Transaction data from auction results

  • Delivery tickets for distribution companies

If you are reading this blog you already have an interest in improving the environment and reducing your carbon footprint. I challenge you to take the next step and look at ways that you can leverage document management within your work environment to eliminate paper, reduce waste and become more efficient. Ultimately you will save money, which makes this Earth Day a win, win for everyone!

Jack Arnston is a Principal at The Priton Group. He can be reached at

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