The dematerialization of documents is an important issue and a current topic that affects all companies. But at a time when many of them are initiating their digital transition, many still use paper documents. But then, why move to dematerialization of documents? What are its advantages? We explain it all to you.
What is dematerialization?
Dematerialization is the replacement in a company of physical documents, often in paper form, by digital files. Dematerializing a document means producing it directly in digital format from an information system. For example, producing an invoice in PDF format automatically from an ERP.
For a company, the passage to the dematerialization of documents will have various advantages and this is what we will see.
A gain in productivity
First of all, the dematerialization of documents has the advantage of saving time for all your teams. Indeed, by centralizing all the documents in a collaborative space, dematerialization simplifies considerably the search and the consultation of the documents, which helps saving time. This is all the more true when you know that an employee spends on average more than half of his working time looking for information rather than reading it. We understand the immediate productivity gain!
In addition, the switch to dematerialization also makes it possible to gain in speed, especially when sending documents, for example between business partners. Indeed, when sending a document by mail requires one or more days from the sending to the reception, the digital sending is instantaneous. This instantaneousness of standardized documents via workflows, which is specific to digital files, saves time in the process but also increases responsiveness.
Finally, the dematerialization of documents obviously implies an automation in the data entry which allows to limit the risk of error and thus improves the global productivity.
A reduction in management costs
The second benefit of dematerialization of documents is the reduction of management costs. Indeed, from an economic point of view, imagine that all the expenses related to the printing of the documents are removed. These costs represent on average between 1% and 3% of a company's turnover. (Source: IDC). The employees of an SME print on average more than 1000 pages per month. Therefore, a company that dematerializes its documents is about to make serious savings on many items: printing consumables (reams of paper, ink cartridges), operation and maintenance of printing peripherals and the item related to the enveloping of documents and postage.
We also know that archiving paper documents is a real waste of time and productivity for companies because of the organization it requires. Moreover, the storage of these physical documents requires space, therefore one or more dedicated locations, but also locations for machines and paper stocks that are cumbersome and expensive. Also, the digital archiving offered by the dematerialization of documents represents another great source of savings.
A new way of working
Finally, opting for dematerialization of documents means adopting a new way of working within your organization. Many companies are still struggling to change their working habits and do not want to dematerialize because they have been working with paper for many years and these methods suit them very well. However, dematerialization allows a better follow-up and a better traceability of documents. Indeed, preferring the digital format to the paper format for a working document allows to make it a collaborative support.
On the other hand, in a context where remote work and mobility, during business trips for example, are on the rise, the dematerialization of documents is also an asset. Indeed, by allowing employees to work from any point and at any time on a shared electronic file, it improves flexibility.
As you can see, the dematerialization of documents is a major challenge for companies because of the various advantages it brings (productivity gains, reduction of management costs and legal compliance) and organizational advantages (new forms of work). Today, every document (purchase orders, shipping notices, invoices, etc.) can be dematerialized, and we are gradually moving towards a paperless company. The passage to the dematerialization of the documents supposes to determine various elements: the paper documents to be dematerialized, the solution adapted to your needs (EDI, E-Invoicing, E-Procurement...) and your objectives. Are you planning to dematerialize your commercial documents? Our teams of experts are at your disposal to help you advance your reflection and accompany you in your project of dematerialization of documents!