By Katie Simpson on February 21, 2014
As someone in middle management, you walk a fine line between authority over your employees and pleasing upper management. You try to pitch your own ideas, and grow within the constraints of your job. While there's opportunity, there are also many pressures on you: meet deadlines, save money, support your staff and get your work done quickly without errors. These are high demands, even if you're hard working and smart.
But, there's an opportunity for you to not only save money and work more efficiently, but also to get more accurate information to your company. By switching from paper forms to mobile business apps, you can free your employees from boring tasks, and save your office thousands of dollars a year.
In all the ways companies are automating processes, so many still rely on paper. Paper forms are used to collect various forms of data. In one week, you may have used paper to collect signatures, do inventories and inspections, even for transactions!
Previously relying on paper was the best way to collect information. With our reliance on databases and digital systems, paper costs more than it helps. Instead, you may have employees who's only job is to do data entry. That's thousands of dollars a year for a redundant, rote task.
But even if you don't have employees solely focused on data entry, the costs still add up. If four employees spend just two hours a week on data entry, that's eight hours a week. Add this up over one year and suddenly your workers have spent 400 hours on data entry! At $20 an hour, that adds up to $8,000 spent on redundant data entry.
Beyond data entry, working with paper costs your company every day. Paper forms are easy to lose and misfile, costing you on average 18 minutes to find a document. The cost of storing them ins't cheap either, at $1,500 a year for one four file filing cabinet. Paper slows your work down. Worse, it steals your time and money away from more important tasks.
Today, a solution exists for your issues with paper. Whether you have an iPhone, Android, or tablet, you can start collecting information paperlessly. With mobile capture, you can collect all the information and more you gathered previously on paper. It also automates the process of transmission, enhancing communication between workers.
You'll also save your employees hours of boredom from data entry and filing. Every submission goes straight to the cloud. There, you can easily integrate it into your back-end system with a csv or xml files. For seamless integration, choose an API webservice that will push all the submissions from the cloud straight into your database. Your employees can focus on creative and critical tasks, and feel like they are positively contributing to your company. You'll enjoy reporting to upper management about the savings of hundreds of hours on data entry alone.
More than a boost in productivity and money saved, your superiors will enjoy more accurate and expanded data collection. Paper forms are prone to error due to illegible handwriting, bad calculations done by hand, missing information, or damage from coffee, dirt, or tearing. Mobile apps avoid these issues with clear text, in app calculations, and required fields for complete data without errors.
More than accuracy, they also expand what you can collect. With smartphone technology, it's easy to capture GPS location, photo, signature captures as well as calculations and barcode scanning. You can also synthesize the data you already have by prepopulating fields with your own information such as equipment, or pirce lists. Mobile apps give you a wider range of functionality than any paper form can offer today.
Do you worry about the cost? You don't need expensive ruggedized devices for the full range of functionality. Mobile apps for data collection are now available on iOS, Android, blackberry and windows platforms. Some, like GoCanvas, are capable to work across multiple platforms. You don't have to spend thousands of dollars to start using mobile apps. In fact, subscription plans come as low as $20/month. But compared to the thousands of dollars a year you may be wasting now with paper, switching to mobile will save you a lot of time and money.