We live in a world that seems to have a ‘form’ for everything. Survey forms, maintenance forms, healthcare regulations forms, federal forms, employment forms, inquiry forms and the list goes on. Forms have existed for a significant amount of time, and now can be found everywhere in your organisation. In fact, almost 80% of all the docs scanned, printed and processed are some kind of paper form.
Organisations associating field operations undergo many form fillings each day. Going from one client to another, jotting down each and every detail about the transaction/interaction that took place is easier said than done. Not to mention, what happens when a field representative needs custom particulars for different clients? Time to print a new one!
In a recent survey by AIIM, it was found that to print, distribute, mail, collect and sort, prior to either scanning or paper-based processing, a single document or paper form for an organisation or a business costs $4.56 on an average. It may not seem much initially but when the operation is on a larger scale solely depending on them, the numbers might seem to climb rapidly.
Consider 5 field employees, using 5 forms a day, 5 days a week for the entire year, brings you roughly around $6,000, and this is only 1 form per day per employee. Now consider the same 5 employees using multiple forms each day for the entire year. The $$ grow fast.
Using paper forms are likely to cost the businesses tens of thousands of dollars, possibly even more on the dependability and accountability front. Not only this, the data collected could also turn out to be unreliable as the physical documentation of any data includes the conditions that could be out of user’s control like miscommunication, misinterpretation, climate, fatigue etc.
Let’s take a look at some hidden costs attached to this ‘mighty’ fund-consuming, yet simple entity:
Paper, scanner, printer, printer toner, other printer hardware costs to print out forms and all associated documents to accompany the application. Also, the fax machine and the cost of faxing through it. Stationery items like files, folders, stapler and staples, paper pins, filing trays, file cabinets, shredder etc. used to organize paper forms all add up to the cost steadily without standing out.
A form received as paper may be required to be digitized before it is processed. The same adds to the man hours required to scan, index and store the image of the original form. Not to forget, the ‘deciphering’ of some illegible handwritings. All these add up to countless man hours wasted over re-entering the details from a document or form into a digitized system. Sometimes, forms could be lost in the transit as well, resulting in labor wastage in finding, or in some cases, filling the form again as well.
Transportation and Security
Travel costs if the physical forms need to be picked up from or dropped somewhere. The security of these could also be quite consequential, especially, if they contain privileged or sensitive information.
Storage and Maintenance Cost
Since dealing with dynamic paper forms, one needs to have a space set-up just to store the data as well. A standard 5-drawer filing cabinet costs roughly around $1,000. Assuming this type of cabinet only consumes 15 square feet of the office space, the average cost of office per square feet is about $20 per square foot amounting to $300 for a filing cabinet. Adding up to this, the strict retention policies of some companies result in purchase of more of these utilities causing them to seek off-site storage facilities opening floodgates to monthly rental charges.
Along with these costs, paper forms isolate the field data collection team from the back office teams, which are fully equipped with updated tech, and are left collecting the information with manual, out of date assets. This results in miscommunication, slow response times and also provides just a little room for optimization. The digitization of this delivered data consumes a lot of time resulting in compilation of stale data which may no longer be applicable.
Learn how you could use mobile forms to collect customized field data.
allGeo (previously known as myGeoTracking) is a cloud-hosted, carrier grade location and messaging platform that helps SMB and Enterprise businesses better manage their mobile employees by improving productivity and accountability, while reducing payroll and operations costs with solutions such as GPS tracking & time clock, Lone worker safety, Automation of field activity monitoring, Mobile forms & data collection including signature, notes, pictures, barcode/QR code, etc. The allGeo platform enables these solutions across a wide range of industries such as field service management, trade services, emergency responders, sales reps, transportation & logistics and home health care providers.