What are the benefits of digitization? Transition steps and notes from paper

What are the benefits of digitization? Transition steps and notes from paper

As paperless operations are being promoted, many companies may find it difficult to go digital, even if they feel that paper-based operations have issues. Going paperless is an issue that society as a whole must address, not only from the perspective of efficiency but also from the perspective of the SDGs and ESG.

Here, we will introduce the benefits of digitizing work that was previously done on paper, examples of work that can be digitized, and procedures for efficiently proceeding with digitization.

*There are three stages of digitization: digitization (digitization of analog data), digitization (digitization of operations and manufacturing processes), and DX (digitization of overall operations and manufacturing processes, the transformation of business models). . This time, as an example of digitization, we will consider how to proceed with going paperless.

If you want to know about digitization, digitalization, and DX, please see below.

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3 benefits of reducing paper-based work

The word "paperless" has come to be heard, the government has shown signs of full-scale promotion, and the abolition of paper-based work is progressing.

However, many companies still rely on paper for their operations, and it cannot be said that the shift to paperless operations has fully penetrated. This applies not only to companies but also to government offices and educational institutions.

Shifting from paper-based work to digital is a great advantage for companies, and if it is introduced, various effects can be obtained.

The following three points are the main advantages.

Prevents deterioration and loss

Of documents, paper-based documents can become discolored and fade over time.

Digitized documents are semi-permanently stored as electronic data, so there is no need to worry about the contents becoming unreadable.

In addition, since data files can be easily searched, it is possible to prevent the risk of loss, such as the storage location being lost or not being found where it should have been.

Reduction of paper printing, storage space, and management costs

Various costs are incurred in creating and managing documents in a predetermined format when conducting paper-based business.

When printing, there are costs for supplies such as paper and ink, as well as maintenance costs for the printer. Storing printed documents consumes management resources such as vaults, cabinets, and storage space, and if it is necessary to purchase new management supplies such as file cases, costs will also be incurred.

It also consumes the cost of the work time of employees who are in charge of management.

If you go paperless, the cost of supplies required for printing will be kept to a minimum.

In addition, digital storage media such as hard disks and SD cards can store an incomparable amount of information compared to paper. Document storage takes up very little space and eliminates the need for storage cabinets.

The cost of paper-based work can be greatly reduced through digitization.

Search, browse, organize and share more efficiently

Paper document files take time to find the one you're looking for. If you have dozens or hundreds of files, you'll spend even more effort and time.

So what will happen when we go paperless?

If you digitize documents and save them as electronic files, you can search for keywords or words contained in the content to instantly find the document you are looking for. Not only that, but you can also quickly get to the desired part of the document.

Since it is automatically organized without the hassle of storing it after viewing, there is no problem with returning it to the wrong place and not being able to find it the next time you view it.

Paper-based document storage is costly, laborious, and time-consuming when an office in another location requests access. You must actually go to the storage location or contact the administrator of the storage location and request it to be sent by fax or e-mail.

If it is digitized, document sharing can be done smoothly regardless of the location of the office. It is also possible to set the types of documents that can be viewed and the range that can be viewed.

By going paperless, it is possible to improve the efficiency of document viewing work, and at the same time, it is possible to promote independence.

Examples of what can be digitized and how

As mentioned above, moving from paper to digital has many advantages.

What kinds of documents can be digitized? We will introduce what can be shifted from paperwork to digital, specific examples of how to do it, and the effects of digitization.

What are the benefits of digitization? Transition steps and notes from paper

Digitization of quotations, invoices, delivery notes, etc.

Electronic publication of documents such as quotations, invoices, and delivery notes is permitted under the Electronic Bookkeeping Law.

If you are sending handwritten forms by fax or mail, you can digitize them by scanning the forms, converting them to PDF files, and sending them by email.

Display conference and meeting materials on electronic blackboards and projectors

At conferences and meetings, paperless progress will be made by stopping printing the materials distributed to each attendee and displaying them on an electronic blackboard or projector.

After the meeting ends, the materials used can be emailed to all attendees or saved in a shared location for later viewing.

The same method can be used for online meetings with remote members.

Utilization of cloud storage and document services

Digitized documents can be stored in cloud storage, commonly referred to as cloud storage. In addition, documents can be created and shared using services such as Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and Amazon Drive, which allow document creation in the cloud.

Using these services will improve the convenience of data sharing and reduce the mailing costs and transport time required for paperwork.

Leverage digital approval services to speed up operations

In an increasingly digital environment, you can take advantage of workflow systems and electronic approval services. It eliminates the traditional need to visit multiple bosses to get approval stamps.

Neither the requester nor the approver needs to be in the office, and as long as they have access to the file, they can approve it wherever they need it.

Since there are no restrictions on where you are or when you are, you can expect a significant speed-up in your work. At the same time, streamlining business processes will lead to improvements in corporate competitiveness and customer satisfaction.

What are the benefits of digitization? Transition steps and notes from paper

Steps and points to note for efficiently digitizing paperwork

So, what steps should you take when actually transitioning from paperwork to digital? In general, proceed as follows:

1. Select candidates for the digitization target (paper).

We will analyze the work and list what kind of paperwork is currently in place and how it is burdening the employees.

At this time, candidates are selected based on reasons why they can be digitized, not why they cannot be digitized.

At this stage, you don't need a reason such as "this work is more convenient on paper, so I won't change it". We will explore the possibility that "it may be possible to do business without paper", and from there we will connect it to a concrete method of digitization.

By analyzing the work and listing the reasons why it can be digitized, it is also an opportunity to review the business process itself. There is also the possibility that a shift in thinking will occur, such that business processes can be digitalized while streamlining them from another direction.

2. Create a digitization policy

In digitization, consider what must be strictly observed in operation and what must be set as rules, and create a digitization policy.

Education on IT literacy is essential as long as we use network-connected computers and portable digital storage media. Based on this policy, we will promote education and raise the level of IT literacy.

3. Review and digitize business processes

We will confirm what kind of process the work is progressing at the actual site, and simulate how it will proceed when it is replaced with digital.

For example, it is difficult to completely digitize application forms that must be submitted on paper or documents that must be stored on paper. Also, there may be business partners who do not accept forms other than paper.

However, the digitization of application forms to be submitted to administrative agencies is progressing, and the electronic book preservation law has reduced the obligation to store paper documents. If we can negotiate with our business partners to limit the issuance of paper forms to the minimum necessary, we will be able to transition to paperless.

We will check these specific processes and digitize them if there are no problems.

4. Change your document management habits

Change how you manage your documents as you move from paper to digital.

For example, in approval work, we will abolish the custom of visiting a superior to obtain approval, and establish a digital approval flow. This makes the benefits of digitization even more significant.

We will also change the methods and rules for storage and viewing. The scope of what can be viewed and the method of sharing will be reset, so that work can proceed efficiently.

The overall picture of digitization and points to note are explained in detail in " What are the risks of analog? Key points for advancing digitization."

Work smarter by moving from paper to digital

We introduced the benefits and points to note when shifting from paper-based work to digital management.

Digitizing the paper-based work that has been done so far is a big step in digitizing the work of the entire company. Through the work of moving from paper to digital, you will get into the habit of finding points that lead to operational efficiency. The steps outlined here can be applied to other digitizations that follow. Let's hold down the points and promote digitalization.

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