Running a retail business can involve a lot of paperwork. From planning upcoming sales to daily checklists, it is easy for a company to use more paper than necessary. Fortunately, it is possible to reduce or eliminate the use of paper because of technology.
Benefits of Going Paperless
By going paperless, your retail business will create many benefits. First, your actions will help the environment. Consider the enormous amount of paper that businesses and individuals use on a daily basis and throw away. An estimated 1 billion trees end up in the landfill as paper every year in the United States. Since trees take up carbon dioxide, the world loses the absorption of 250 pounds of carbon dioxide for every 17 trees that are destroyed.
In addition to helping the environment, eliminating paper can actually improve your company’s productivity. Think about the amount of time that is wasted on sorting and sharing paperwork with employees in a retail environment. If someone loses an important piece of paper, you have to find the original and make a copy. Flipping through a huge binder to find a checklist is not an efficient way to run a business.
Some other benefits of eliminating paper include using less physical storage space to keep all the documents in one place and improving security by going digital. Papers can be stolen or misplaced, which could lead to security problems for your company.
Create a Central Location for Resources
One of the struggles for retailers who still rely on paper is they have a hard time locating what they need at the right time. You may have binders and shelves filled with documents, but are they really organized? If you go digital, then you can use software to create a single, online resource library with a built-in search system to find what you need.
Instead of handing a pile of papers to a new employee, you can give them access to an online resource library and make the entire process easier. Current employees can also benefit from the system by being able to find everything they need faster. Having a central repository for your paperwork will streamline your operations and improve productivity.
Save Money With Technology
Printing off all the paperwork for your business is costing you money. You have to maintain the printers and occasionally replace them. You also have to purchase ink and paper. Even if you buy wholesale ink and use a website to compare prices, you are still spending a fortune every year.
Technology eliminates the need to print things off and save them. You can save money on printers, ink and paper. You also will not need binders, staplers, filing cabinets or other storage items. At the same time, you will be able to preserve your documents online and access them at any time.
If you do not know how much you can save, consider doing a quick estimate on printing costs in a spreadsheet online. You may be surprised to see how much you spend on printing per month and how it adds up during the year.
The first step to going paperless is to do a complete assessment of your retail business. You have to do a full inventory of your paperwork needs before moving to digital and using new technology. Start by making a list of all the ways you use paper, such as billing, receipts, invoices, shipping forms, timesheets and other documents.
Once you have a general list of documents, you can start to go into details. How much paperwork do you produce in a week and a month? If you had to transfer everything online, how many documents would have to be replicated or moved to a new system?
Inventory is one of the most important areas to make digital since it changes constantly and has to be updated. Imagine not having to worry about long checklists or printed out spreadsheets. Instead, it would be paperless and online. This makes it easier to update and change. In addition, you would be able to have all of your employees access it when necessary.
Employee management is another area that benefits greatly from technology. Timesheets, requests and other communication memos can be digitized. This makes it easier to track everything in one place and notice patterns or problems. In addition, you can use calendars and assign tasks to employees online. Again, this easies tracking and productivity for your entire business.
There are software programs that can help you move to the digital world and leave paper behind. It is important to evaluate multiple options before picking one. Then, make the move and start enjoying a business with less paper. The environment and your employees will be grateful for the change.