People have been talking about “paperless offices” since they began estimating the number of sheets of paper thrown out each day, how many sheets of paper come from a tree, and consequently, how many trees are trashed daily. This was well before conversations about “being green” raised as many red flags as it does today, when paperless is only part of the conversation that also includes energy conservation, emission reduction, and other environmental factors. Of course, trees are as environmental as anything, so paperless is a natural part of the conversation.
One challenge is that the term paperless office has almost become synonymous with concepts like the perpetual motion machine. A mythical theory that is simply a nice thought but would never come into existence. For example, do any of you work in a truly paperless office? Most of us can point to energy saving techniques that our organizations have implemented or loading a copier tray with paper that still has a blank side to recycle it, but we are not truly paperless.
Even technologies like fax that can easily be totally paperless for many organizations still seem to generate lots of paper. Frankly, we just have not made the effort to research the subject and formulate a plan. It is certainly not the fault of the imaging industry as companies like Fuji Xerox, Sharp and Xerox have developed advanced technologies to facilitate eliminating paper as much as possible. Fuji Xerox’s Apeos multifunction devices, Sharp’s Open Systems (News - Alert) Architecture (OSA) platform and the Xerox Extensible Interface Platform (EIP) Advanced Development allow developers and vendors to integrate multifunction peripherals (MFPs) to integrate with workflow and related applications like fax servers. Integrating these imaging platforms with other Green solutions like Unified Communications, the combinations can go a long way in advancing the concept of a paperless office.
The key to advancing your organization’s to having a real paperless office is to begin the process now. Companies like the 1st Guard Corporation, an insurance company based in Venice, Fla., have reached their goal of implementing a true paperless office. Beginning with technologies like automated fax, integrated workflow and smart MFP technology is simple and very cost-effective. Some organizations can reduce their costs substantially and show a great ROI in a short period of time. In other words Green really is Green$$.
Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Group Editorial Director of TMC, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to 2,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page. Follow Erik on Twitter (News - Alert) @elinask.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin