7+ Steps to Eliminate Paper Processes: How-to Guide

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Written By Haisam Abdel Malak
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In this digital age, businesses’ first aim should be to eliminate paper processes and transition to a fully digital experience in order to improve operational efficiency, productivity, and employee/customer experience.

A paperless process is a system or process that does not use any paper. Paperless processes are usually more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.

The benefits of eliminating paper processes are endless. There is a lot less clutter, which is good for the environment. Paper documents can be easily lost or misplaced, which means that they are not as secure and reliable as digital files. This can lead to a lot of wasted time and money. In addition, paper documents are more difficult to share with others outside the company than digital files.

Eliminating paper based processes is the future of business. Paperless processes are more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly. The paperless office is a concept that has been around for decades, but it is only recently that we have seen it become a reality.

What are paperless processes?

Paperless processes can be defined as the use of digital tools and technologies to work without paper. Paperless processes are not new but are becoming more widely used in organizations.

The primary benefit of paperless processes is that they reduce the amount of time spent on administrative tasks, such as filing or sorting papers, which can be time-consuming and repetitive.

They also provide a more environmentally friendly way to work because they eliminate the need for printing and distributing paper copies of documents.

These benefits have led organizations to adopt these methodologies with enthusiasm in recent years.

There are many different ways that an organization can implement a paperless process, but there are three main types: digital file storage, document management software and electronic signature capture.

How to Eliminate Paper Processes?

There are a few key steps that organizations can take to eliminate paper based processes:

1- Identify paper processes

The first step to eliminate paper processes is to identify which processes are still using paper. Once you’ve identified these processes, you need to determine why they’re still using paper. Is it because the process is too complex to be automated? Is it because the process requires approvals from multiple people?

Once you’ve identified the reasons why the processes are still using paper, you need to find ways to eliminate the paper. One way to do this is to automate the manual process. If the process is too complex to be automated, you need to find a way to simplify it. Once you’ve found a way to eliminate the paper, you need to implement it.

This will help you identify where to start first and what needs the most attention.

2- Assess your current state

How much paper is involved in the processes you want to go paperless? How are documents currently being created, stored, and accessed?

In this step, you need to determine how much paper is involved with the processes you want to go paperless. Your team should work together to create a spreadsheet of current documents and information that are being created, stored, and accessed.

From this spreadsheet, your team can determine the best way for everything to be accomplished. How could you make documents easier to access and more organized?

3- Identify key stakeholders

In order for this elimination process to work, it needs buy-in from all levels of management in your company as well as employees who are affected by this change.

To automate a manual process, you must first identify important stakeholders. Once chosen, you must ensure that they are open to such a transformation and will assist you in driving the automated process to perfection.

This is a critical stage toward the elimination of paper-based processes. You will not be able to succeed unless the stakeholders buy-in.

Throughout my career, I’ve seen people in charge of eliminating paper processes fail because they didn’t include the essential people who would drive the process in this total digital transformation.

4- Process re-engineering

Taking the paper-based process and automating it may not be the best approach. You now have the ability to examine the process steps and persons involved in order to suggest modifications that can speed up process execution and eliminate unnecessary stages.

5- Research BPA tools available

To begin automating paper-based processes, you’ll need a dependable solution with low-code functionalities to assist you in designing the process and associated forms.

There are numerous business process automation technologies on the market, and selecting the one that best suits your company’s needs should be done with caution.

I strongly advise you to check the below article for more information

7 Best Business Process Automation Tools (2022) (theecmconsultant.com)

6- Digitize forms and documents

The six step to eliminating paper processes is to replace paper forms and documents with digital versions. This can be done by scanning and uploading paper documents to a digital document management system, or by using digital forms that can be filled out and signed electronically.

The benefit to using digital forms and documents is that they can be easily stored in the cloud which means they can be accessed from anywhere at any time by signing into your computer or mobile device.

7– Check integration possibilities

When a process is being carried out, stakeholders frequently need to visit other systems to retrieve information in order to make a decision.

By having a paperless process, you can boost your chances of success by demonstrating to stakeholders the added value and reduction in time required to execute a certain task.

Before deciding on an automation solution, analyze the systems in your organization that stakeholders use and determine if these solutions can readily interact with them.

The majority of document-centric processes will result in a document prepared and signed by authorized individuals. For ultimate history preservation, these documents should be kept in a document management system.

8- Keep stakeholders engaged

When automating the process, it is critical to present the stakeholders the results and solicit their input at the end of each cycle. In the end, it is your ultimate users who must be satisfied by the automated procedure.

9- Plan the go-live stage

When the manual process is automated and ready to be used, you must plan to bring it into production.

It is vital that the production phase be error-free and deliver the best possible user experience.

What are the Benefits of Eliminating Paper Processes?

There are many benefits to going paperless. It is a more efficient, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective way to do business.

Going paperless eliminates the need for employees to use paper documents. This can eliminate the need for office space as well as reduce the number of filing cabinets needed in an office. Paperless systems also allow you to cut down on time spent on mundane tasks such as filing, scanning, and photocopying documents. For example, a company that has 1 million pieces of paper per year would save $200,000 per year by going paperless.

I strongly recommend reading the below article for more benefits

What is Paperless Office? Why is it Important? (theecmconsultant.com)

What replaces paper and manual process?

Digital automation solutions are used to replace paper and manual process within organizations. Instead of relying on manual processes, AI helps us work smarter by automating tedious tasks. It can do things like data entry, scheduling meetings, and compiling reports.

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