Have you given paper the boot?

10 / 04 / 2014

  • Nigel Tomkins, managing director

    Nigel Tomkins, managing director

I HAVE absolutely no idea how many companies out there are totally ignorant of the urgent need to digitise their documents.

If there are any – and remember, this is the airfreight business I’m talking about – here’s a brief word of warning: we’re in the age of technology, the age of the ‘cloud,’ yet so many remain glued to paper.

If you’re reading this and are still shuffling bits of paper to and from customers or simply around the office, then please feel free to read on.

With increasing numbers of applications being developed to allow companies to take advantage of paperless trading, there’s now no excuse to continue living in the past.

Eliminating paper gives huge benefits. Doing nothing will –unless you are a paper manufacturer – send you to the wall. Here are five reminders:

*Paper means manual processes, such as the filling out of documents, processing them, moving them around – and tracking and storing them, slowing everything down;

*Manual processes almost always create duplication. At some point further along the supply chain, the information may have to be keyed-in again.  That means the form effectively has to be filled out at least twice;

*It doesn’t require a masters degree in process engineering to work out that this leads to errors and inaccuracies.  Paper forms do not have default settings, drop-down menus or relevant spell-checkers;  

*Paper is not real-time. For a business to operate at optimal efficiency, your customers and suppliers need immediate access to what’s happening now in the field these days;

*Then there is the issue of payment delays and long lead times between invoice and receipt of remittance. There’s also the possibility that paper invoices will get lost or posted to the wrong address.

Because the technology is now affordable for even the smallest of airfreight busines-ses, working paperless is no longer a nice-to-have – it has become a must-have.

Competition is fierce, becoming fiercer, and the more you can streamline your processes, the more likely you are to remove waste, remain competitive and stay in business.

Follow the examples of Cathay Cargo (page one, Air Cargo News 7 April – Issue No. 774) and Emirates SkyCargo – and kick paper out of your business.