With Earth Day around the corner on April 22nd, now is the perfect time to think about changes your business can make to reduce your environmental impact. While there are many environmentally friendly practices you could implement, there’s one change that will have a positive impact on the environment and your business: going paperless.
After all, 50% of waste produced by businesses is made up of paper, with offices in the U.S. using over 12 trillion sheets every year, according to TheWorldCounts. At the same time, paper-based business processes are slow, time-consuming, and highly inefficient.
But how can you successfully go paperless this Earth Day to better both the environment and your organization? Continue reading to find out.
What Does It Mean to Go Paperless?
First thing’s first – let’s gain a clear understanding of what going paperless actually means.
In the simplest of terms, going paperless means going digital. It entails converting your current physical business documents into virtual copies that are easy to manage, access, track, and share from anywhere with any computer or mobile device.
Many organizations turn to intelligent document processing (IDP) solutions made up of document scanning services, content management software, and workflow automation software to successfully transition to a digital environment. There are two methods for kickstarting this transition and, oftentimes, organizations leverage both simultaneously: digitizing incoming documents and converting backfiles.
What Are the Best Ways to Go Paperless?
Now, let’s dive into the best ways to digitize incoming business documents and convert backfiles.
Digitize Incoming Files with a Digital Mailroom
A digital mailroom can help manage both your incoming paper mail and emails.
With this solution, your incoming paper mail is received at your mailroom automation partner’s secure document conversion facility. Once received, your mail is opened, prepped, and digitized while your emails are converted into the proper format. The data is then captured and automatically uploaded into document management software or your line-of-business system, eliminating the error-prone task of manually entering data. Automated workflows can also be kicked off to further reduce manual tasks and expedite processing.
Digital mailroom solutions eliminate the need for you to waste paper by printing copies of incoming documents, emails, and attachments. They’re all right at your employees’ fingertips – no matter where they’re located.
Convert Backfiles with BPO Services & Content Management Software
Do you have boxes upon boxes or filing cabinets upon filing cabinets of business documents taking up valuable real estate? Do your employees waste a lot of their time and energy searching through them to find what they’re looking for?
By digitizing your backfiles and storing them in a secure enterprise content management system, you can eliminate your boxes and filing cabinets. And, consequently, you can reduce your environmental impact, save on real estate costs, and give your employees quick and easy access to the files they need, so they no longer waste time searching for them.
All you need is a trusted business process outsourcing (BPO) partner who will prep, scan, and index each document, and then upload the information into document management software.
The top business process management (BPM) partners have experience digitizing backfiles of different paper sizes and materials, including legal documents, delicate bound books, blueprints, engineering drawings, and lab notebooks. They also offer both on-premise and cloud document management solutions and will help you determine which is most suitable for your organization. Once implemented, you’ll be able to securely shred and recycle your paper files and start storing, managing, and sharing them digitally.
How Does Going Paperless Benefit the Environment?
Now you know how to go paperless, but how exactly does it reduce your environmental impact? Here are a few ways:
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
It’s no secret that greenhouse gas emissions are a major environmental focus today – and for good reason. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, carbon dioxide levels reached a new high in 2022 and are now over 50% higher than before the Industrial Revolution.
Paper production generates a large amount of carbon dioxide alone, but we also need to factor in the carbon dioxide that’s generated during the transportation of paper. Since 2016, the transportation sector has been the nation’s largest carbon dioxide emission contributor.
By going paperless, you not only eliminate physical files – you also eliminate the need to transport them to different employees because they’re all readily available online.
Deforestation, which is the purposeful destruction of trees, negatively impacts ecosystems and the climate. And a large portion of trees are removed in order to create paper products. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the pulp and paper industry accounts for 13-15% of global wood consumption, with the United States being one of the main culprits.
When you go paperless, you limit your role in deforestation by accessing and sharing your business documents via a secure document management system instead of printing and sending them.
Limit Your Environmental Pollution
TheWorldCounts found that 26% of waste at landfills is discarded paper. And to make matters worse, the organization predicts that the consumption of paper – and, consequently, the amount of paper waste – will double by 2060.
Want to play your part in preventing this unfortunate outcome? Go paperless! In doing so, you’ll drastically reduce the amount of paper your organization sends to landfills each year.
And playing your part won’t just result in environmental benefits. You’ll also improve efficiency, enable remote work, reduce costs, enhance security, and attract both workers and customers who care about their environmental impact.
What Should You Look for in a Partner?
In order to reap the benefits above, you need to partner with a trusted intelligent document processing solutions provider. The ideal partner for going paperless will have extensive experience scanning documents, such as invoices, employee records, and large format files. They will also be able to provide you with an on-premise or cloud-based document management system depending on your organization’s unique needs.
And let’s not forget about security. The best partners are audited by independent third parties to ensure they meet strict security standards, proving their ability to keep your critical business documents safe.
At MetaSource, we have all of the above and more. With over 30 years of experience helping organizations digitize files and streamline document-centric processes as well as HIPAA, SOC 2 Type 2, GDPR, and PCI DSS compliant facilities, we can help your business go paperless this Earth Day.
Ready to get started? Contact us and a sales specialist will reach out to help you find a tailored solution for your business.
Not quite ready to speak to a specialist? Check out our blog post on the top questions to ask yourself before you go paperless.