Going Paperless is Worthless Without a Process

By Brian Harris

“One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.”
A.A. Milne
Author of “The Winnie-the-Pooh” series

Perhaps being disorganized is an advantage when you’re writing about the fictional adventures of a teddy bear. But when you’re operating a business, surprising discoveries that impact your bottom line are not fun. Staying organized is imperative to your success.

Going paperless is a great way to get organized and is widely considered the way of the future. Before you make the transition, however, you should ask yourself how a paperless system will directly benefit your business. If you’re making the switch just to save a few thousand dollars in paper, ink and man hours, it’s most likely trivial to your bottom line.

A paperless system is worthless if you can’t easily analyze the data and more importantly, gain actionable insights. Furthermore, it will not fix underlying inefficiencies in your organization.

These inefficiencies may include:

  • Lack of a uniform reporting system that collects and organizes data
  • Lack of ability to quickly take action when retail exceptions are detected
  • Ongoing maintenance problems that are neither reported nor addressed
  • Lack of executive or managerial oversight in the form of audits
  • Lack of employee accountability

So, how can you address inefficiencies while moving to a paperless operation?

Reevaluate your process

Consider how paper forms are currently being used in your business. Revisit your goals. If you use surveys or checklists to maintain your operation, are you asking the right questions? If you identify an inefficiency, don’t settle for the explanation “it’s just how we’ve always done it.” It might be time for your process to change.

Evaluate Software

Choose mobile software that allows you to easily create forms to collect data. The same forms must be used across the organization, so that data analysis is accurate.

A superior solution will provide a timestamp and GPS locator to improve reporting accuracy. It will also have helpful tools like bar code readers, QR code readers and photo/video sharing.

Make auditing a regular part of your operation

Equipped with the right tools, an employee at any location can access a standardized form using his or her mobile device, and report data for analysis.

Having the ability to track results in real time improves accountability and communication, making everyone’s job a bit easier.

As Winnie-the-Pooh’s friend Eeyore once said, “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.”

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