A paperless office is one which uses no paper in document creating, sending or processing. As the names of this page suggests, the paperless office is not yet a reality, and more of an aim to which businesses may choose to aspire. Electronic document distribution is the key element to the creation of a paperless office; however, this proliferation of electronic document distribution being used in offices leaves the postal service with the prospect of hitting an all-time low!
Electronic Document Distribution in a Paperless Office
Electronic document distribution is used in a paperless office as the primary method of sending invoices, statements and other documents to customers. The system of electronic document distribution works by automating the sending of customer statements and invoices, by interacting with a customer information database. This database lets the electronic document distribution system know when to send a document, and allows it to use mail merging technology to create that document.
This highly sophisticated system makes way for the paperless office to become a reality. Electronic document distribution methods do not hold any use for printed documents, envelopes or paperwork associated with the sending of invoices and statements by post. Not only does this make electronic document distribution (and thus a paperless office) environmentally positive, but it also saves businesses money in postage costs.
So does the Paperless Office mean the end for the Post Office?
At present, the answer to this question is no: the paperless office will not replace the post office any time soon. For a start, the paperless office is not presently a reality. Electronic document distribution has taken over an extent of invoice and statement delivery; however, in business to customer (B2C) interactions it is still relatively new. Human nature tells us to be wary of change, and businesses are very aware that a full or even partial move to electronic document distribution could lose them customers.
It should also be noted that older, more established businesses are currently tending less towards electronic document distribution and the paperless office. The more established a business is, the more complicated it would be to begin offering electronic document distribution, even as a parallel to postal methods. Older customers may be unable to receive an online invoice as many will not own (or be capable of working) a computer.
The post office is also in safe hands with outsourced document distribution offering customers a simplified way to send mass mail by post, meaning they may be less likely to seek out alternative methods. Companies such as Netsend offer this.