Document Dynamics

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Meeting sustainability targets with electronic document management and delivery

Chris Oswald

Environmental issues have become increasingly important to businesses as legislation increases, and customers take more notice of a company’s ‘green’ credentials when making purchasing decisions. In fact, a study by GfK Roper Consulting showed that 79% of Americans take a company’s environmental practices into consideration when choosing products to purchase. Companies are therefore working hard to reduce carbon footprints and meet their sustainability targets, and making changes to the way documents are sent and stored can be a good place to start.

Reduce your organizations carbon footprint by removing dependence on paper.

Sending paper documents through the post impacts the environment in a number of ways.  The most obvious of these is terms of paper, envelopes and other stationery that is used. However, secondary areas such as the power used by printers and franking machines to prepare the documents, and even the petrol used by the postal network to deliver these documents, all serve to increase an organization’s carbon footprint.

Delivering documents electronically means that an organization’s paper consumption can be drastically reduced, along with a reduction in power consumption. The Royal Mail website in the UK estimates that a single page document sent in the post typically weighs around 30g. Standard Carbon research on the US Postal Service estimated the carbon emissions of a single printed paper document (such as an invoice) at 45g, and the carbon emissions of posting 1,000 documents at 300g. Conservatree then estimate that a single tree makes 16.67 reams of copy paper, or 8,333.33 sheets.

With a single invoice sent through the post leaving a carbon footprint of around 50g, this means that a company sending only 2,000 documents per month could save 1.2 tonnes of carbon with electronic document delivery, which is the equivalent of 3 trees.

With electronic document management such as Zetadocs for Microsoft Dynamics NAV, any inbound documents can be stored effectively for on screen retrieval which increases the amount of paper that can be recycled. What’s more, incoming emails or faxes can be stored against a customer record electronically, eliminating the need for the information to be printed out and stored in a filing cabinet.

Aside from the environmental impact, paper-based processes can have other downsides. If we take, for example, the sales order process, the time spent preparing documents such as quotes, order confirmations, statements and reminders can be considerable. Couple that then with time spent retrieving information to handle customer queries and it is easy to see that paper-based processes are highly inefficient.  Using software such as Zetadocs for electronic invoicing, collections managment, purchasing automation, etc. can therefore have a big impact on a company in terms of meeting sustainability targets, as well as increasing efficiency and reducing costs.

For more information on electronic document delivery and management for Microsoft Dynamics NAV, please visit the Equisys website.


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