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5 Areas Where Digital Documents Improve Process Efficiency

Young business people working in office.jpeg

Young business people working in office.jpegCustomers are changing the way you do business.

In a landscape where technology reigns, customers have grown accustomed to superior shopping experiences. Customers want anytime availability, real-time fulfillment, and, above all, zero errors. Companies that offer all this through technology are exposed to less risk and are ultimately more competitive.

So, what role do digital documents play in all this?

Areas And Accompanying Advantages Of Digitizing Documents

Most mid-market companies remain unaware about the inefficiencies of paper-based processes and how these inefficiencies impact other areas of the business.

Below is a breakdown of these areas and ways document management applies to streamlining these processes:

1) Accounting: From paying bills to managing the accounts payables and receivables of an organization, accounting is an area where many documents enter a company. If these documents are actual paper, they get shuffled around, stapled and filed away for future reference. But when questions arise pertaining to a document (as they inevitably do) employees waste time on retrieving these documents. Process approval – from matching catalog pricing to invoice pricing, to matching shipping against receiving documents – may be sped up through digitizing documents and improving the flow of information through your business.

2) Manufacturing, Distribution And Shipping: When people drop off or ship out product, documents are produced in the form of bills of lading and receipts. In terms of shipping and logistics, documents get lost. Questions such as “Did we ship this?” or “Did we receive that?” are the result of an inefficient system of organization. If employees are unsure where documents live, the search becomes time-consuming and directs them away from their primary job responsibility. The sheer volume of documents from shipping and receiving is gigantic, and document management software – a form of organization and convergence of other business systems – provides control.

3) Sales: The more sales you generate, the more documents are generated throughout the sales cycle: proposals, sales orders, purchase orders, contacts and more. In your business today, make a list of the documents necessary for making a sales happen. These documents may be digitized in a system where questions are answered with a few clicks. For example, an AP or AR situation may dictate a reference back to a sales document in a system with specific search parameters that enables you to answer with certainty questions like: “Is this what I ordered?” or “Is this what I was quoted a few months ago?”

4) Contract Management: A tremendous amount of questions also revolve around contracts, and if employees and stakeholders fail to find the document necessary for answering these questions, then what? Efficient document management empowers businesses to reduce time associated with negotiating, reviewing, executing and approving contracts. Workflows are automated and a history of all documents is retained to reduce the amount of questions generated during the contract lifecycle.

5) Fulfillment Of Internal Business Processes: More documents mean more paper handling, and the result of such handling often equals less efficiency and more low-impact tasks taken on by employees searching for documents. As the amount of documents grows with the more business you gain, your need to centralize this information for ease-of-access also grows.

A Real-Life Example Of ROI On Document Management

A mid-sized electrical parts distribution company had issues dealing with delivery receipts. Parts would go out to job sites, which are often messy and unorganized in nature, and a signature would be obtained for a delivery. But, these delivery receipts were being lost in the day-to-day shuffling of papers back at the office.

So, when a job site claimed items were never received and the parts distribution company was unable to prove delivery with a receipt, the company started incurring losses between $10,000 to $30,000 per month.

By implementing a document management system, this parts distribution company began scanning all delivery tickets and centralizing all paper-based documents in one place. Now, electronic signatures are obtained upon delivery and some paper-based processes were eliminated completely through a ROI the company could actually see.

Abolishing The ‘We Can’t Afford It’ Notion

There are personnel and paper-based costs associated with improving inefficiencies and growing your business. Ultimately, when you look at making systems better or improving the way these systems converge, you reduce costs associated with personnel spending unnecessary time on day-to-day business items.

In the past, mid-markets rarely considered document management software because of a “we can’t afford it” mentality. But with the ease-of-implementation and scalability of today’s softwarecompanies are able to invest and see huge returns immediately.

The areas and advantages above are only examples of how document management might impact your business. True ROI is achievable only when needs are satisfied. So, start by prioritizing your needs, and build your ideal document management system around them.

Learn more about digitizing documents and improving business efficiency in less than 90 days by downloading our guide.

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