Business Solutions-Going Green
Maintaining Excellence in a Competitive Market
“When considering the benefits of going paperless, you will generally use one of two ways to implement a transition strategy, either a paperless filing system or a completely paperless workflow” (Intuit, 2012, p .5). There are five reasons companies consider converting to a paperless work environment for staff and customers. It is important that companies take notice of what their mission statements say, and prepare to surpass their intended objectives. To maintain excellence in a competitive market while keeping high customer service, and low prices mandate that companies adapt to the technological changes. These changes stimulate growth in many businesses by first discussing the benefits from changing work processes currently bogged down by their current paper system. “One four drawer filing cabinet holds 15,000 to 20,000 pages of paper; costs $25,000 to fill, and costs $2,000 a year to maintain” (SmartVault Corp., 2012, p. 1). Your company will be able to provide a better, more secure, convenient, and affordable product if it adopts the paperless system company wide.“According to INC magazine, it takes $20 to file a document, $120 to search for a misfiled document, and $250 to recreate a document previously completed” (SmartVault Corp., 2012, p. 1).
Your company, or agency will be able to provide a more secure product. Future advertisement can promote savings by completing business electronically. Paper bills create vulnerability for your customers. Identity theft is a realistic and devastating possibility for anyone, anywhere. Stealing customer billing with sensitive information, right from personal mailboxes or trash reciprocals after bills were reviewed and paid, is a quick, and easy procedure for thieves to master. The second reason is to become a greener company. “For industrial activities, did you know that the paper and pulp industry ranks #3 for greenhouse gas output and #1 for water consumption” (Automatic Finances, 2012, p. 1). The federal government also provide tax break incentives for instituting greener company processes. Reason number three it can reduce late fees that customers pay when the bills become lost in the mail. Automatic e-mail reminders and automatic billing can help patrons pay their bills on time, every time. Although some money will be lost from late fees, saving customers money is a good campaign. The fourth and fifth reason are synonymous, savings, and time. It will create savings momentum, for not only your company but also for the customers your company serves. The price of a postage stamp has risen significantly in recent years. By paying online companies will save money on postage for outgoing bills, and customers will save on their end as well. Promotions, advertisements for new products, and any correspondence asking for information update, or policy changes can be completed and printed by the customer online. A paperless system will automatic categorize incoming e-mails and electronically file them in the correct department while notifying the assigned insurance agent. As Benjamin Franklin said, “remember time is money” (Franklin, 1748, p. 1).
A faster and more efficient process will save the company valuable time better spent recruiting new customers while maintaining high performance standards for loyal repeat business.
Companies should have a desire to develop a technology-progressive culture. The six areas that will be surveyed are, company goals, technology assessment, project team, timeline, and measurement process. “Everyone wants to help the planet by using less paper; one of the great things about offices that have become computerized is that they use less paper in their documentation, almost all data is stored in the computer which minimizes the use of space used for filing cabinets and other office furniture used for storing paperwork” (Miller, 2012, p. 1).
Timeline and Measurement
Develop a time-frame for a team proposal to be presented. The timeframe for initial implementation of paperless system should be identified. The time frame for total implementation (all problem areas solved, running smoothly) highlighted. Initially the new system/processes should be evaluated for time and accuracy and measured monthly for success or failure. After the first year, measurements should continue quarterly and tracked against performance evaluations and training trends. “Planned change has both technical and social aspects. End user information systems (EUIS) analysts must not only possess extensive technical knowledge, but must also be effective agents of change (Regan & O'Connor, 2002)
“To foster successful implementation of a new technology system, analysts must help end users to understand the advantages of the new system, and address any instances of ambiguity or uncertainty in the workforce (Regan & O'Connor, 2002). Computer programs that enable companies to do more work with less staff creates job insecurity. If the implementation will affect the company’s workforce a determination concerning job loss against the possibility of harnessing productivity gain through job security will be evaluated. Communication with staff and providing room for employees to be part of the process will lessen concerns.
“Training plans are an integral part of the entire change process; Lewin's Three Phases of Change process outlines best practices for implementing change within an organization, according, to Lewin the three phases of change are unfreezing, changing, and refreezing” (Regan & O'Connor, 2002, p. 369). The who, what, where, why, and how need to be explored at this stage. The question of why change needs to be effectively answered and accepted by staff to ensure cooperation through buy-in. What the process for the technology change from a paper or traditional system to a paperless system will look like,when the implementation process is complete. Where and how it will be an accomplished and what the end product will look and act like. Job security fears at this stage will also be addressed, and new job descriptions will be reviewed.
Goals & Technology Assessment
The following goals want to be accomplished, improved productivity, enhanced client service, leaner, and greener operations, and greater employee satisfaction. Communications and early participation will assist with the paperless project.
Inventory of current technology, mobile devices, computers, scanners, copiers, programs, and software currently installed that can categorize scanned documents. After inventorying current equipment, and list current devices. Chances are there are internal functions programmed that no one has thought of, or is currently using. Money can be saved by expanding traditional devices and processes or evolving the equipment to a new state of excellence. “Along with the development of scientific technology, the competition among corporations more and more
represents technological competition” (Chen & Wang, 2010, p. 191).
The project team will consist of one department manager, three IT members, two service agents, and one customer service representative. Team members will be chosen based on performance reviews and management nomination. The team will be used to gather information, supply professional experience input, assess technology, and help implement new processes by designing an outline for paper information to be transferred to a paperless system within the given ultimate time-frame. Develop a goal measurement system that can easily track data for evaluation. Final decisions will result from a team proposal. The team will need to pilot the new system before entire company roll-out of the new program and processes occur.
“Involving employees in the design and implementation of new technology systems makes them more likely to take responsibility for ensuring proposed changes work; managers and analysts can help foster change on the employee level by offering support and incentives for mastering changes in processes” (White, 2011, p. 1). There should be specific and detailed communication with line staff at the various stages, and levels of implementation, training, and measuring results will be effective in determining what is working well with the system changes and what areas need to be further explored. Employees will have different opinions and attitudes during each phase of the process. Taking time to hear concerns with a proactive approach concerning issues will save time and money through the process.
For a company to reach, or maintain a position at the top, new technological systems need to be developed and implemented. The requested changes will save the company and the consumer money. It will create flexibility, increase productivity, empower the customer to have more control with personal information and allow ease of use to propel your company to the forefront of their market. A paperless system will reduce storage costs, and ultimately create revenue for shareholders. “Although technology is the informational infrastructure of most corporate organizations today, end user employees are the life breath of the entity; individual behavior determines the fate of any organization, the best technical analysts implement change by considering the human factor to be just as important as the technology” (White, 2011, p. 1).
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