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Running on Empty? Learn How Fuel Costs Are Killing Your Bottom Line

By Keith Bateman on January 25, 2018
Tags: Data Collection, Productivity

Can Paper Forms Be "Gas-Guzzlers"?

Yellow Hummer When you try to think of items that burn up a lot of gasoline, what first comes to mind?

SUVs. Lawnmowers. Generators. My yellow H2 Hummer (kidding). But seriously, all these things tend to burn more gas (and money) than their actual value to you. 

But what about paper? It doesn't really sound like something that would cause you to suddenly grab your wallet. But indeed, similar to my yellow H2 Hummer (still kidding), paper forms are actually one item that can significantly cost your business both time and money.

Read on below to learn how a single paper-based process can cost your business not only 100s of hours in lost efficiency, but also cause leakage on your bottom line. 

The Unlikely Connection Between Paper Forms & Fuel Dollars

CorollaMost common people are conscious about their mileage, how much they spend on gas and the fuel economy of the vehicle they purchase. This is probably why the economically designed Toyota Corolla is still the top-selling car of all-time.

But when it comes to running a business, the majority of people can't haul loads or supplies in the backseat of their leather interior Corolla. This doesn't mean though that we should simply throw all economic sense out of the window when it comes to managing a fleet of vehicles. 

Most companies within the Field Service or Construction industries are, due to their work, forced into purchasing less fuel efficient vans and trucks. This is the point at which most companies feel resigned to the fact that they will have to spend a ton to fill up those vehicles, because "that's just what everyone else does".  But this is just the point in time when companies should instead say, "What CAN we do to cut down on our costs, and where CAN we streamline our process?". 

So this begs the important question, how and where is money being lost in transit?

Remeber that work vehicles are used for two primary purposes, driving to and from job sites. Every time they are on the road burning fuel, the company is slowly losing money.

Why are they on the road? 50% of the time it's because they need to return paper forms back to the office, hauling their gas-guzzling fenders miles across town to do so. This is the critical correlation between paper forms and fuel dollars, and where a business hemorrhages money without truly realizing it.

But how much is it really costing your business? Let's calculate below exactly how much a single paper form can cost your organization. 

Insert [GoCanvas]. Delete [Paper Forms]. Save [Fuel Dollars].

So, we've talked about how fuel inefficiency can increase costs within your business, but how does a single paper form effect those costs? By using paper forms you're forcing each field tech and/or supervisor to manually fill out each report and return the contents back to HQ for processing. This means if your field tech is sent to a site 15 miles away, they're going to be burning cash all the way back to the office in order to return those forms.

But we can break it down even further. 

For example, say a field supervisor has 4 job sites to inspect every single day. At each of those job sites, he/she has to complete a detailed Job Safety Analysis (JSA) report, with the average distance from the main office to each site being 15 miles.

MoneyNow take into consideration the average mile per gallon range for a standard pickup or van is 15 to 20 mpg, with an average cost of a gallon of gas being $2.30. With a total of 50 standard work weeks in a year(accounting for vacation), that field supervisor will waste around 300 gallons of fuel traveling between the worksites and the main office. That alone will account for close to $700 in fuel dollars lost annually,  and that's just for a single field supervisor! 

But what about the actual process of filling out and collecting all the data on paper forms, how much time and money does that waste the field supervisors? 

Take into consideration that the average paper report can take between 15 and 30 minutes to fully complete by hand. Why so long? Think about it. When it comes to a safety-related form like a JSA, or even something as simple as a timecard, detail is everything. And with paper, nothing can be pre-filled or auto-populated like it can with a mobile form.

Crumpled Paper You have to capture photos, signatures and even GPS coordinates for the report to be verified as accurate. When you use a platform like GoCanvas, all these features are built right into the mobile form. With paper, you are forced to bring extra pieces of equipment to capture these readings, and then take the time to compile them all together for a final report. This extra 30 minutes a day, across 4 sites, for 50 business weeks can cause that single field supervisor to waste between 200-300 hours every year! 

Not impressed by hours lost?

Add into the equation how much they are being paid, let's say $17 per hour, and that equates to between $3,400 - $5,100 in lost productivity every year. Now multiply that number across all your supervisors and watch as the losses pile up!

Filling Up the Revenue Tank with Mobile Form Data

Now that we've talked about the doom and gloom that paper forms can bring upon your business, it's only right that we show you how to solve the issue!

A mobile form platform like GoCanvas is essentially built to negate all the negative traits that come with paper-based data collection. 

GoCanvas Mobile With GoCanvas, your employees (including field supervisors) can reduce their drive time by 50% or more because of real-time data sharing. As soon as a report is completed onsite, all of the contents including GPS, Photos, Signatures, Barcodes, and more will be automatically sent to the GoCanvas cloud and available for immediate review by the main office. 

Employees, like field supervisors, can also cut down on trips between sites by setting up safety inspection approvals with the GoCanvas Workflow feature. This allows for employees from other sites to complete inspections with detailed photos, and transmit that data directly to the field supervisor's GoCanvas device for final review and approval. If any mistakes or issues are found, the field supervisor can reject the report and send a note back to the original submitter. This type of process can further cut down on unneeded milage, and further, improve daily efficiency across multiple job sites!

Whether it be a timesheet, work order or site inspection - paper anywhere is dysfunction everywhere. By simply implementing the few simple changes outlined above, you could end up saving your business close to $4,000 per employee annually! 

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Want to learn more? Check out this fuel cost calculator.


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