Is X-ray vision part of your skillset? That’s the only way to find particular documents in a pile of paper easily. By digitizing these documents, you’ll be able to locate the one you need instantly without waiting for your company’s next benefits enrollment to offer a choice of superpowers.
If you’re beginning an office automation project, where should you start? We’ve put together recommendations guaranteed to help you meet your business goals.
Common issues caused by relying on paper
Finding Documents: Traditional filing systems require physical access, and time is often wasted on a trip to a file cabinet or file room looking for a misfiled document. Or perhaps the document you’ve been searching for has been sitting on your very own desk in a stack of folders all along.
How do you get the information you need today, and is the time you spend hunting for it stopping you from doing bigger, better things?
Passing documents back and forth: How many of your business processes hinge on the movement of paper? For example, do people wait to receive approval forms without any visibility into where the forms are in the process?
Do you wish you could eliminate these bottlenecks?
Losing documents: Even the best paper-based filing systems bring work to a complete stop when a document is lost. Whether the paper was mixed into the wrong pile, or worse, ended up in the garbage; the only thing that’s for sure is that a staff member will have to take time away from their assigned tasks to try and find it or to request it from the original source.
Would it be an improvement if you could locate documents by date, keyword, fulltext and other search criteria?
Quick wins a document management system delivers
Here are seven scenarios that show some of the many benefits of going paperless. We’ve chosen them because they will give you the fastest results in terms of process improvement and cost savings. And it increases employee satisfaction by reducing time spent on repetitive manual tasks.
1. Automating invoice processing
While other areas of a business may already be paperless, the accounts payable department may still be overloaded with paper and slowed down by manual workflow or the use of several software systems that don’t communicate with each other.
Documents that need multiple approvals may make it partway through a process but get stuck until, for example, an employee returns from vacation.
In one business case, a controller wanted to digitize invoice approval. As he sat down to discuss the routing of documents with us, he mentioned that an invoice came back to his administrative assistant three times before it landed on his desk for final approval.
When he was asked why she received the document so many times, he said it was so she could check to confirm that their approval policies were followed, and the invoice had made it to all the right people. After implementing document management, approvals became part of an automated workflow, and human intervention was no longer necessary.
2. Digital employee onboarding creates a great first impression
Without digitization, onboarding a new employee is very paper-intensive. The new hire usually spends their first day on the job filling out forms that range from health insurance election to direct deposit and emergency contacts.
With electronic forms, the new employee fills out onboarding information that is common to all forms once and all of them are populated automatically. Online forms can even be completed at home before the new employee starts work. Form data can also be delivered to HR, payroll, purchasing, IT and other departments.
Automated workflow makes everything easier. For example, HR management can create an onboarding checklist of required tasks, including acknowledgment of employment, confidentiality agreements and initial training plans. It also streamlines provisioning to make sure new employees have all supplies and equipment they need on day one.
3. Why your company needs electronic signature
In most cases, pen-and-paper signatures can be replaced with a more efficient, less expensive electronic signature.
Here are just a few examples:
You’re coordinating the execution of a contract that will be signed by multiple people. A paper document needs to be passed along to everyone in proper order, adding to the time it takes to get the contract signed. When using e-signature, you can have multiple people work with and sign the document simultaneously, eliminating bottlenecks.
You need authorization to expedite the purchase of a service. Instead of waiting on interoffice mail, email or a fax, you can quickly get the document signed electronically.
You’re working with overseas partners. Paper documents may need to travel thousands of miles; even when you’re paying high fees to expedite mailing, it results in a slower process. Electronic documents can be sent and signed almost instantly, even from across the world.
Other business benefits include:
- Better adherence to security and compliance requirements
- Improved support for remote workflows
- The ability to eliminate paper and all its associated costs
- More accurate recordkeeping
- Meeting regulatory compliance standards
4. Quality assurance that maintains compliance standards
Too often, these kinds of documents are passed around the office with a coversheet carrying names and corresponding signatures. In contrast, digital workflows ensure documents follow a correct path before moving on to final approval.
Seamless integration with an industry solution
manufactures patient-specific, highly-specialized preparations on behalf of pharmacies, primarily for the targeted treatment of tumors. Production protocols, which describe the manufacturing process in detail, are created in their pharmacy management system and contain classification terms for each preparation, such as batch number, manufacturing date and active ingredients. DocuWare converts these details into index terms and uses them as central parameters for workflows that verify that the correct procedures are followed.
An initial check is performed by the production manager and reviewed by the quality control department which OKs the product. Then a final release is made. In this way, 50 protocols with several hundred pages are approved daily.
5. Pain-Free Audit preparation
can be time-consuming, complex and nerve-wracking. Auditors tell you what they want to see, and how they want to see it. In a paper-based process, this can mean traveling to an off-site facility to find records for the audit. With digital document management, these documents are retrieved simply and electronically.
6. Automating data entry
In some organizations – hospitals and municipalities, for example, a person fills out a paper form and hands it to an employee who manually keys that person’s responses into an electronic system. If a patient or citizen is visiting multiple departments this can result in duplicate data entry. Using digital workflows keeps multiple people from doing the same thing twice.
Eliminating duplicate data entry as part of digital transformation
When Montgomery Transport Group
(MTG), one of the largest privately owned transport companies in the UK with 5 locations, implemented DocuWare, one of the benefits that is most popular with employees was the elimination of manual data entry in their accounting processes.
As Kowalski’s Markets grew and expanded, managing paper accounting records became very difficult. It took an employee significant time to type the invoice information into the accounting system. Department managers were also entering invoice information again to compile reports. Manual processes were being done twice and were taking time away from employees’ core responsibilities.
Today, invoices are scanned at each location and automatically indexed by DocuWare Intelligent Indexing
which uses machine learning to “recognize” index terms. Invoice data is validated, enriched and automatically exported to each of the appropriate ERP systems. In addition, Inpute implemented a workflow for the approval of invoices, by-passing email and retaining all invoices in a closed loop system.
Tight integration between DocuWare and MTG’s ERP, allows the accounting staff quick access to documents stored in DocuWare, right from within their familiar accounting program. Montgomery Transport Group has seen a 50% reduction in invoice processing time and their employees have more time to dedicate to the key parts of their jobs.
7. Enforce retention schedules without human intervention
Certain types of documents must be kept for a legally mandated number of years. For example, in the US, invoices must be retained for seven years before they can be deleted.
Paper-based retention processes are slow because they are often managed by referencing shelves full of boxes and shredded page by page. A document management system provides the workflow tools to enact protection or destruction at predetermined times to keep your organization protected against litigation.
3 steps toward digital transformation
- Identify what currently drives up operational costs, what keeps the company from reaching profit objectives and which business workflows have the greatest need for an update.
- Define the steps needed to begin automating processes like order management, accounts receivable and payable, human resources, internal control or compliance and pinpoint the key stakeholders needed for carrying out steps.
- Segment projects into phases and look for short and easy wins. Don’t try to do everything at once.
Ready for easy automation of your business processes?
If you’re ready to begin a business process automation initiative, DocuWare can help. With preconfigured, cloud-based solution for Invoice Processing, Employee Management and Smart Document Control, you can be up and running in just a few days; that’s how easy it is to get started. Request your free demo today by emailing email@example.com.