In an article originally published by Business Week in 1975, leaders of the wave of automation and advancements in office technology comment on the paperless office of the future.
George E. Pake, head of Xerox Corp.’s Palo Alto, CA Research Center at the time said that, “…in 1995 [his] office will be completely different; there will be a TV-display terminal with keyboard sitting on his desk. “I’ll be able to call up documents from my files on the screen, or by pressing a button,” he says. “I can get my mail or any messages. I don’t know how much hard copy [printed paper] I’ll want in this world.”
Forbes also published an article online on April 19, 2013 entitled, 5 Steps to A (Nearly) Paperless Office, written by Kate Harrison, Contributor. Ms. Harrison states that “More than a decade into the 21st century, one would think we would be closer to the “paperless society” information scientist Frederick Wilfrid Lancaster envisioned in 1978.”
She goes on to thank the paperless technologies and states there are “cutting edge ways” to bring your business paperless:
Paperless statements and bill paying. The more online bill paying you do, the less you’ll spend on postage, envelopes and employee time coordinating invoices, checks, and mailings. Running your office finances through the web makes payments prompt and much easier to track. Most banks offer paperless statements and even provide incentives for customers to manage their accounts online.
How about your business? What obstacles prevent you from having a “paperless office?”
One of the most paper-intensive functions within the business is accounts payable. Even if you only pay 15-20 bills for your business, think of all the envelopes and stamps used throughout a year – it starts to add up. In addition, you must file all the invoices that come in, which can become overwhelming over time, resulting in document loss and error. After you’ve considered all this, take a moment and weigh the environmental impact of all this paper usage against how effective the traditional A/P process really is.
Automation is the solution to all of these problems. It removes paper from the A/P equation, thus removing inefficiencies created via errors and losses characteristic of traditional paper filing. Automation also allows for virtual receipt and bill pay, removing costly paper and giving the ability to make accurate payments much faster.
There is no one “paperless office” solution, but with affordable automation solutions now available to any size business, the tools are in place to take great strides toward embodying the forefather’s vision of an efficient, less cluttered and eco-friendly workplace.