Managing paper documents can consume up to 15% of the annual revenue in an organization.
Paper document automation and reduction can have a major impact on any organization’s balance sheet. Although it’s not tracked in the general ledger, paper processing is a major cost. And eliminating paper documents can have a much bigger financial impact that many CIOs and IT managers ever suspected.
Viewed this way, an IBM i paperless processing system (report automation & document management software) is a valuable and inexpensive investment, as well as a critical cost-cutting item.
Calculating the ROI on Electronic Forms
Earlier this year, I posted a walkthrough on how to calculate the ROI for purchasing electronic forms software. This generator calculates the ROI on IBM i electronic forms and document management software using this equation:
- Forms software ROI = Paper-based ROI + Printing ROI + Faxing ROI + Programming ROI
This equation handles the cost of printing, handling, and distributing blank & pre-printed forms. It includes costs that you can reclaim, such as:
- Continuous and multi-part blank form cost
- Continuous and multi-part pre-printed form cost
- Postage savings
- Purchase and maintenance of special-purpose printing equipment such as high-speed printers that produce shipping documents, as well break/fix maintenance, toners, ribbons, and print-head costs
- Bursting machines for physically separating multi-part forms
- Fax machine, toner, and dedicated fax line costs
- Programming costs that you incur when you don’t have a paperless processing solution
See my IBM i electronic forms ROI generator post for more information on how to generate these numbers.
The ROI Behind Report Automation
You can extend my electronic forms ROI equation to include cost reclamation for printing everyday IBM i spooled file reports such as accounting, sales, and inventory control reports.
Since IBM i reports and forms are handled differently in a manual document system (what’s the difference?), report automation provides additional ROI savings when purchasing a paperless processing system.
Here’s my modified equation to calculate a total paperless processing ROI (report automation and document management with electronic forms):
- Paperless Processing system ROI = Paper-based ROI (forms) + Paper-based ROI (blank paper) + Printing ROI + Faxing ROI + Programming ROI + Storage & retrieval ROI
Some of the additional cost savings we can add for report automation include:
- Reductions in the cost and usage of single-sheet paper for laser printers and copiers
- Laser printer and copier toner saved
- Maintenance costs for laser printers and copiers that will be replaced by electronic distribution and archiving
Storage & Retrieval ROI Savings
In addition to the printing and distribution cost elimination listed above, the new equation adds additional ROI savings for document storage and retrieval costs including:
- Storage costs for unused forms inventory.
- Pre-printed forms will be replaced by electronic forms, that don’t need special storage
- On-site storage for recent copies (last few years) of critical reports and forms sent to customers, including invoices, purchase orders, and shipping documents, as well as reports and forms needed to run your business (Accounting, Sales, Inventory Control, etc.).
- This storage will be replaced by automatic archiving of critical documents to the IBM i Integrated File System (IFS) or a Windows file server.
- Off-site storage for historical reports and forms required by regulators, auditors, and government agencies, per your document retention policy.
- Off-site storage will be phased out and replaced by automated archiving.
- Document destruction costs for destroying old and obsoleted documents.
- Old documents can be stored indefinitely on disk or automatically deleted according to age. Document destruction costs will be significantly reduced.
- Staff costs involved in creating and maintaining the manual paper flow in on-site and off-site storage areas.
- Document storage will be archived to searchable disk, freeing up staff time previously used for filing and managing a paper document store.
- Staff time used for manual document searching and retrieval.
- Documents can be searched and retrieved from a user desktop or other computing device. Your staff will no longer have to journey to the paper archives to retrieve an important document.
- Staff time used to convert IBM i reports to other formats such as Excel, HTML, XML, and PDF, for distribution and analysis.
- Reports can be auto-converted to universal file formats and automatically delivered to users via email or to server file folders. No more manual conversion to these formats.
- Time lost retrieving documents for customers and other users.
- Automatic archiving allows staff to easily search for, retrieve, and deliver documents while the customer is on the phone or the patient is in the office. No more waiting to retrieve documents and then having to scan or physically mail a critical item such as an unpaid invoice. Paperless processing provides better service.
One System, Big Savings
Using the equations above, you can calculate your own ROI savings when purchasing an IBM i paperless processing system. I think you’ll be surprised at what manual processing is costing you and how much revenue, time, and effort can be reclaimed using effective and inexpensive report automation and document management software from companies like DRV Tech. Don’t forget to check out the helpful articles related to this post below.
For more information on what our Spooled File distribution software and paperless reporting solutions can do for your business, download the eGuide below.