No Paper, No Problems: Why Forward-Thinking Companies Are Adopting a Paperless Supply Chain

In the digital age, paper documents can sometimes feel like relics of bygone days. But for many companies, vast amounts of paperwork are still an integral part of the supply chain—taking up space, causing efficiency to lag, and inviting a world of problems when filed incorrectly.

So why are so many companies resistant to ditching the paper and digitizing the supply chain?

Going paperless can be a big adjustment, especially for companies that have been doing things the same way for decades. But the pros of a paperless supply chain far outweigh the cons. Here are a few key benefits to consider.

Long-term savings of paperless logistics outstrip upfront costs

Adopting the digital tools necessary to go paperless does involve an upfront cost. But it won’t take long for the tools to pay for themselves.

Beyond the cost of paper itself, companies that embrace a paperless supply chain can eliminate costs associated with printing, photocopying, and scanning—including ink, toner, and maintenance fees. It might not sound like much, but in a high-volume shipping environment, these costs can quickly add up.

Digitization also removes the need for endless rows of filing cabinets, many of which can sit untouched for years or even decades. With less storage space required, companies can utilize smaller, leaner warehouses—or expand their processes within the existing space.

More than just a cost-saving initiative, eco-friendly practices like going paperless can be good for a company’s public image. And if a few customers still prefer to receive paper copies, it’s not difficult to accommodate these requests.

The increased efficiency outpaces any initial set-up delays

Paperwork can quickly make even the leanest supply chain feel sluggish. Staff are forced to manually print, sign, and file documents. Digging through dusty cabinets to locate the right file can be a slog. If something is misplaced, the chances of finding it amongst thousands of near-identical pieces of paper are akin to finding the needle in the proverbial haystack.

But when files are digitized, invoices can be pulled up instantly. Old agreements can be found with just a few clicks. And since documents can be backed up automatically in the cloud, lost files are a thing of the past. A flood or fire at the warehouse no longer has the potential to destroy every bit of information the company has ever recorded. A piece of paper that’s essential for regulatory compliance or financial reporting won’t vanish when it’s needed the most.

While it will take time for staff to digitize old files and get up to speed with new processes, the efficiencies a paperless supply chain can bring will ultimately be reflected in the bottom line. Utilizing cloud technology, staff can securely access files wherever they are in the world, making it easier to relay information between global sites. Customers, suppliers, and carriers can approve and sign documents in seconds using e-signature tools. And since the company can be so much more responsive to inquiries and requests, customer satisfaction goes up, too.

Save the trees—and the printing costs

While adopting paperless processes might once have required expensive or proprietary technology, today, these tools are more affordable and attainable than ever. And as both employees and customers grow increasingly accustomed to doing everything online, digitizing the supply chain now is a smart, sustainable move in an increasingly paperless world.

Leave paper in the past. Find out how CTSI-Global can help you digitize, automate, and streamline your supply chain processes today.

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