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“Going paperless is the future.” How 10 companies saved time and money

By Katie Simpson on May 6, 2014
Tags: GoCanvas Subscribers - Who is Using GoCanvas?

Today, the internet is full of stories about how going paperless is great for business. It cuts down the cost of paper, ink, printing supplies, and the shocking cost of storage.

But what are real businesses doing to go paperless? And what kind of savings and benefits are they seeing? We’ve brought together ten stories of business from a variety of industries seeing real benefits from going paperless.

1. “Inspections that once took 2 hours or more, now take 15 minutes!”

The Austin Company, a US-based international firm, offers architectural, engineering, design-build and construction management services. The company has a rich history, with more than 135 years of experience of serving clients in diverse industries. Their commitment to safety and quality has led to
rigorous safety and quality inspections.

However, paper forms were making inspections go longer, creating room for human error, and making document management a pain. It also took more time for the inspections to reach the office because forms had to be mailed, returning days later.

Today, employees fill out their inspections on smartphones and tablets. Charlie Engel, Austin’s Director of QA/QC, finds inspections today taking only take 15 minutes. By implementing paperless solutions, inspectors spend less time on forms, and more time creating lasting projects.

2. “GoCanvas changed everything completely – you can put a photo in it, a GPS location,
     any data that you like”

Sabi Sand Wildtuin is a private game reserve in South Africa. Like many other reserves and national parks, they have struggled with illegal rhino poaching. In 2013 1,004 rhinos were illegally killed. As demand for
rhino horn rises in South Asia, it’s become harder and harder to protect these endangered animals.

Rhinos Grazing in South Africa

Black rhino's are being poached for their valuable horns. Photo Credit: Brocken Inaglory

Sabi Sand was trying to track rhino poaching on their reserves. However, using clipboard, pen, and paper were causing additional problems. It was difficult to map out where poaching was occurring, time
consuming to transfer to their database, and too slow to match the poachers attacks on their reserve.

Sabi Sand became part of the GoCanvas Ante-Up program, where GoCanvas donates our product to non-profits. We gave Sabi Sand 17 Android devices and free GoCanvas subscription to help their paperless transition. Today, they can easily capture photos, document the location where they find poacher's tracks as well as where the rhinos are being killed. With all the documentation available immediately in the cloud, Sabi Sand can see where there are weak points in their reserve and how to protect their rhino population that same day.

3. “With GoCanvas, we’ve saved around $40,000”

Newcastle based Plumbing Doctors was finding administrative complications with paper. They were scheduling jobs for their 11 plumbers. While some jobs were scheduled in advance, emergencies would also come up, requiring immediate attention. On top of that, each job required four different forms to be filled out. Not only did this document management process make each job take longer, it also required more work back at the office.

Today, the Plumbing Doctor’s team has ditched paper for mobile apps. They focus on responding to emergencies and growing their business instead of paperwork. More the efficiency, they’ve found real cost savings as well. “We’ve saved around $40,000 on employing an admin officer.” Managing Director Joe Evers said, “We control our business with only three full-time office staff which is unheard of in the industry.” 

4. "Not only has [mobile apps] cut down on our paper usage, saving money on paper
    and printer ink, it has also eliminated human error with interpreting hand written
    patient details incorrectly."

Smile Bright Dental is a dental practice in an outer suburb of Brisbane, Australia. Looking to not only cut
their carbon footprint but also their costs, they looked for a mobile app to help take down client information, and skip paper entirely.

They found GoCanvas, “it was extremely easy to set up all the forms” Stacey Sinclair, Office Manager of Smile Bright Dental said. Any updates as well are easy to share with the entire office. “It automatically syncs with all of iPads in the practice so everyone in the practice is using the exact same forms.” Stacey said.

Going paperless has also allowed them to support their clients in new ways. When they had a rise in Korean patients, they were able to create forms in both English and Korean. Now patients don’t have to struggle to understand consent forms or medical history questionnaires. Not only has this put their patients at ease,
but ensured more accurate information to help their clients in the long run.

5. Saving hundreds of hours and preventing fires

Fire & Safety Commodities has been serving New Orleans since 1979.  They install 22 new fire suppression systems each month for local restaurants and auto repair shops.  They also provide fire inspection services to ensure that equipment is operating properly and will perform as required in an emergency.

Burning Trees

Photo credit: MarcusObal

Fire inspections can take a long time if you're doing them on paper. They are also prone to errors, illegible handwriting, blank fields, damage, and can easily be lost altogether in the filing cabinets. These errors were costing Fire & Safety time away from customers.

By going paperless, they were able to speed up inspections and make them more accurate. With checkboxes and drop-down lists an inspector can move quickly through an inspection. Pictures can be inserted as necessary along with electronic signatures. An iPhone takes up a lot less space than a big clipboard filled with blank forms. 

Afterwards, the completed inspections are sent automatically back to the office via a PDF document attached to an email.  Clients can be invoiced sooner and payment is collected sooner. 

Today, Fire & Safety are not only freed from paperwork, but also to spend more time doing what they
do best: preventing fires.

6. “If we had not gone paperless, we would not have been able to redesign our forms
     'on the fly' without high printing costs or having to use 500 forms before we could
     change our format.”

Cool frog is an air conditioning company based in St. Augustine, Florida. Started during the recession, Cool Frog wanted to use technology to keep their overhead costs low. They transformed their maintenance form into a mobile app.

This switch made it easier to organize their forms with the cloud, but also to reach out to customers.
Before, one of their most difficult marketing tasks was collecting emails. With GoCanvas they, “never had a customer refuse to give their email address.” Not only did going paperless cut overhead costs, it solved their marketing issue as well!

7. "Through GoCanvas, we now have a direct way of submitting and retrieving our data,
     parsing it, and acting on it when it provides us with new opportunities. "

Triumvirate Environmental is a leading provider of waste management, field services, and technical
services to a variety of industries in New England. They help their clients reduce waste and save money.
But they found themselves struggling: Their safety programs were cumbersome and not fully utilized.

The problem wasn’t their program, it was paper. Today, Triumvirate is able to do fuller site audits and perform site assessments with mobile apps. They’ve set up over 200 employees with GoCanvas.  More than faster audits and easier organization, Jeff Fontas at Triumvirate explains,

“Through GoCanvas, we now have a direct way of submitting and retrieving our data, parsing it, and acting on it when it provides us with new opportunities.  We didn’t have that before; we were missing the narrative our forms were presenting us.  Today we use that narrative to guide our operation.”

8. “One of my biggest selling points is the digital service tag.”

Sonoma Valley Pool and Spa, offers premium pool service and repairs to the heart of America’s wine country: Sonoma, California. 

Each weekly visit requires chemical testing and maintenance of the pool.  In the past, all of their service notifications were filled out by hand.  Saul decided that just writing this information wasn’t enough. The tags that were left could easily get lost. In addition, clients would often inquire about the services provided.  If the wind had blown leaves into a pool shortly after a service call, customers couldn’t be sure if a cleaning had actually occurred.

Today, Sonoma Valley Pool and Spa has moved from paper receipts to digital service tags. Saul Rozema, the owner, has found going paperless to be a huge differentiator. “One of my biggest selling points,” Saul said, “is the digital service tag.” His customers love getting his emails with visuals. “Some look forward to
it every week.”

With a mobile app he can easily add photographs to his reports, making it easier for customers to understand work done or any repairs needed. This means less time on the phone and more time doing billable work.

Today, Sonoma Valley Pool & Spa’s paperless reputation has grown to the point of having a waiting list! “We’re not even in the Yellow Pages anymore.” Saul said, “It’s just our reputation and our website.”

9. “It’s really helpful and very easy for my users.”

Fulmax provides pest control services in Monterrey, Mexico. With almost 600 services performed each month, Fulmax was becoming bogged down in paper. Fulmax employees tracked information such as
the location of pests, what work was done and when the work was performed, collecting this on paper. 

With carbon copy triplicates, every copy became “more difficult to read and easy to lose” Gabriel Martinez, the owner of Fulmax said. This meant that customers would struggle to understand their reports. Worse, paper forms were slow, causing billing to take longer. 

Fulmax ditched paper for mobile apps in January of 2013. Today, their field workers get pre-populated work orders on their smartphones and tablets. No longer do they have to drive between the office and clients’ locations.  His workers can do more jobs in a day and the billing office sends out paperless invoices more quickly, no longer having to transcribe forms into their database.

Like Sonoma Valley Pool and Spa, Fulmax finds being paperless a major differentiator. “We’re different here” Gabriel notes, “nobody else uses these systems.” Clients notice immediately the difference. No longer do they have to squint at pink or yellow forms. They receive clear and concise reports immediately in their inbox. In the end, everyone benefits!

10. “Mobile apps take very little time to implement and makes the business far
       more efficient.” 

R&R Electric Inc. is a small electrical company in Florida. They have provide commercial, and residential services for 25 years and are committed to providing great service at affordable prices.

While they provided great service, paper forms were costing their business both time and money. Work
and service orders took weeks to return to the office, extending their sales cycle. They found themselves having to remember information from memory, or spend extra time chasing down forms in their system.

Immediately R&R Electric Inc. saw benefits in moving to paperless solutions. Their technicians began filling out work and service orders on iPads. Instead of days or weeks before forms returned, all of their forms were made available immediately in the cloud. They can now email customers work orders right after the work is finished.

Filling out forms has also become faster for their technicians. They now use reference data to pre-populate value lists, making it faster to fill out. They also set up formulas inside the app. Now the technicians simply enter the work done, and the app calculates the job’s price. Not only is it faster, but it has reduced errors on job pricing.

While initially skeptical, R&R Electric Inc. are believers in paperless business. “It’s the only way to go!” Roger Wortman of R&R Electric Inc. said, “It takes very little time to implement and makes the business far more efficient.” 

Do you Want to Save Time and Money?

These are just some of the many companies saving thousands of dollars this year by switching to mobile apps. Start your free trial today! 

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