By Katie Simpson on March 17, 2014
Businesses both large and small are wasting money, often without realizing it. A major process wastes both their time and money every day. It creates errors, causes delays, and requires unnecessary extra steps, all creating drains from your bottom line. The culprit? paper forms.
Use of paper forms costs businesses precious amounts of time. One small pool service and repair company found paper slowing down their business. They would leave tags on the pool when their work was done. However, the wind could easily blow them away, leaving customer's wondering if someone had actually come and cleaned the pool. Lost forms would lead to hours spent on the phone with customers explaining the services already done. Not only were they forced to explain previous work, but also explain any notes about needed repairs. These hours of customer support were unbillable time.
Companies of all kinds bear the cost of paper. Searching for a document on average takes 18 minutes. Worse, 11% of documents are never found. This takes up worker time away from other projects, and slows down processes such as invoicing and sales cycles. Companies surveyed by AIIM reported that removing paper processes would improve staff productivity by 29.7%.
Beyond waste of time, using paper forms can also costs businesses money. Paper forms are easy to lose or damage. Wind, water, coffee, or dirt can damage or make a form unreadable or disappear. One full service food company discovered that they lost $10,000 a month due to lost paper invoices. Technicians would lose their copies of work orders, making it impossible to invoice customers.
After initially collecting that information, paper requires additional data entry. One small australian plumbing company was spending up to $40,000 a year to have one person do data entry. Even if a business doesn't have an employee dedicated to data entry, use of paper forms takes hours of work away from employees main tasks to enter this information a second time into a database.
Finally, paper forms also costs businesses in storage. All the filing cabinets and space needed for those forms adds up over time. Each four drawer filing cabinet can cost $1,500 a year. With two filing cabinets, that's $3,000 a year you could be spending elsewhere to grow your business. In total, paper forms cost businesses both large and small hundreds of hours of work each year, and thousands of dollars.
Mobile apps for business can remove these pain points from many businesses. With a mobile app on a smartphone or tablet, employees enter the information. Once submitted, the data is immediately available in the cloud. This allows for faster communication with the office and sales cycles.
Mobile apps for business also improve communication with customers. Every submission can be emailed to a customer. The small pool service and repair company switched to mobile apps and saw improved customer service immediately. Emails are always received by the customer. In addition, they can take photos of any pool issues and note it inside the app. This helps the customers understand the problem visually. With better initial explanation of the issue, this company saves hundreds of hours on customer service, while their clientele enjoys the easy to read emails.
Going mobile also protects companies from data loss. Every form is safe in the cloud. Smartphones and tablets are easier to carry and harder to lose than paper forms. With protective cases, they can also be resistant to further damage from dirt, water, or being dropped. The food service company was able to save $10,000 a month by no longer losing invoices from workers, improving their bottom line.
They also remove the need for data entry. With submissions in the cloud, they can be easily integrated into databases. Companies can do bulk exports in a csv or xml file. Thus, they can easily integrate their information from mobile forms into databases such as Salesforce or Quickbooks. The small Australian plumbing company was able to remove the need for a data entry position in their company, saving $40,000 a year in labor costs.
By removing paper from the system, companies are letting go of their paper storage systems. They gain more space in the office, and save money on storage and maintenance of paper forms. Companies that have dumped paper rave about using mobile apps.
Want to hear what real businesses have to say about mobile apps? Read on to find out!