Okay, I’m calling everyone out. Why the heck are we still using paper so much? Why do we insist on printing everything we get? I personally witness in my own company the absolute complete waste of paper on an unprecedented scale. It isn’t because we want to waste paper. Its because its how things are done. Its what we know, and we have never had a good reason to change. Every little item people receive (some are worse than others) is printed to be reviewed, sometimes filed, sometimes thrown away or recycled and many times copied once or multiple times! Sometimes each department gets a copy of the exact same document just so each department can file that piece of paper in their own files. If someone makes an update to that file later (maybe a service ticket or invoice), that is copied and printed multiple times AGAIN and re-distributed. When the file in question has multiple pages, you can see just how much paper we are burning through.
Now I’m not harping on my company at all. Definitely not. I love where I work and I love the people I work with. I think the problem is that we are pretty similar to many other companies – probably most companies. Wasting paper is just the norm in our industry and probably many other industries as well. Older generations in particular have a hard time reading things on a screen. They want to print and hold everything they look at. Even if they plan on tossing it 5 minutes later when they are done with it.
I think it needs to change. We have had the technology to go paperless for years, and recent innovative companies have made it even easier to do. For Instance, I am very impressed with new strategies for going paperless with invoices. A few companies I’ve mentioned before like CashBoard & BallPark, and others I haven’t mentioned like FreshBooks all have electronic invoicing strategies. Instead of sending a paper bill (they can still send paper bills if you insist on it), they will send your client a link to a secure website where you can view the invoice, pay online or even print the invoice as a PDF. So, even if the client still wants a paper copy, you still save the postage and the paper envelope.
But what about signatures wise guy!! You still have to print things so you can sign them and fax or scan back! Well, this is not true any more. I’m sure there are a few services out there that do this same thing, but I really like RightSignature. This software tool lets people sign documents online via a web based signature tool (no download required), or by using your iPhone as a signature interface. How cool! What an amazing use of technology to help solve a big problem we have – wasting paper!
What do you think? Is your organization forward thinking enough to implement a REAL paperless office/business? Does your organization have the drive? How could you influence other companies and clients and use something like a paperless office to your advantage? My thoughts are if you are in an industry that could benefit from companies going paperless (Audiovisual Integrator, Innovative Software Firm), you could benefit big time! Why not make an example out of your company and start using it as a marketing strategy to sell more Digital Display’s and more Software?
Is the world ready to go paperless??
Here is a cool demo of the RightSignature system in action to show you how it works: