By, Melinda Stoker, global director of marketing communications, Xerox DocuShare

AIIM has designated today, October 25, as World Paper Free Day to promote and support sustainable office environments.

Many agree that a paper-free office is great in theory; however, it can be challenging to practically achieve this goal.

Is it realistic to think that businesses and organizations can operate entirely without paper? In all honesty, it probably is not. However, as organizations work toward reducing their carbon footprints in a measurable, meaningful way, many find that minimizing paper-use is an attainable goal, and they are implementing technology solutions like enterprise content management (ECM) to drive and track their efforts.

When faced with mountains of paper, it’s tough to keep track of important documents, files, and bits and pieces of business-critical data.  Workers often waste several hours per day searching for information they need to do their jobs.

With more than 1,500 pages coming in per day and a warehouse full of paper documents, OwnerGUARD, an insurance and financial service solutions provider, knew it was time to end its paper-induced nightmare. Xerox DocuShare became the solution to OwnerGUARD’s problems. It was initially implemented in the claims area and later expanded into sales and marketing.

Since implementing the ECM system, OwnerGUARD has reduced its claims processing time by almost half, and now provides quicker customer service, which has improved customer satisfaction. By storing and sharing files electronically, OwnerGUARD realizes savings of more than $8,000 per month in paper and toner.

Organizations around the world can achieve a sustainable, paper-light office and reap the same benefits as OwnerGUARD by keeping a few simple tips in mind:

  • Utilize your multi-function printer for more than printing. Scanning the documents into a repository or directly into a workflow for electronic processing allows you to have better security and trackability of all your business-critical content. Not only will you free up space in your office because you won’t need your filing cabinets anymore, but you will also see an increase in productivity because employees can find electronic files faster.
  • Help your employees set attainable goals; for example, a 15 percent reduction in paper-use per quarter. As time goes on, check in with your employees to keep the project momentum on track and maintain employee motivation.
  • When you still need to print an item, remember to use double-sided printing. It reduces paper consumption and cuts costs by half.
  • For more helpful tips and case studies about supporting your sustainability goals with ECM, visit DocuShare’s sustainability site.

Melinda Stoker is passionate about green efforts, and has authored various articles on achieving sustainability goals through a range of best practices including electronic document and business process management.