Even as we speak, the global corporate world is embarked on a silent, huge, effort in letting paper go not much beyond the mailroom!
Digitization of all paper, whether coming in from customers as orders, or invoices from vendors is being undertaken on a huge scale. All documents coming into the mailroom are scanned, digitized and the paper sent way immediately to outsourced archival services. Thereafter, companies prefer handling them only in digitized image form!
Storage costs falling in price dramatically in the last few years fuelled by outsourcing and offshoring of business processes have spurred this large scale digitization on an accelerating scale. Many companies, even if they are not outsourcing, are consolidating functions like Human Resources, Accounting and Finance, Order Processing, etc in centralized locations, in Shared Services Centers. For example, many Grocery Supermarket chains in the U.S used to have accountants distributed geographically. Now they are being consolidated into central Shared Services Centers. Shared Services Centers have come about to a large part because of Digitization again.
However, what is being realized quickly, and even more significant than cost savings due to consolidation is that for Continuous Process Improvement to succeed, Digitization is an essential first step in instantly enabling a lot of waste in time, effort and physical movement of paper!
Digitized documents at instantly available anywhere in the world, cutting down mountains of waste in unnecessary handling of paper.
Simple, but a lot of gain in one single stroke of technology!
It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame – Marshall McLuhan