The notion of going paperless is not a new one; the term has been floating around for a long time. More and more businesses and offices are taking on the challenge. But what do we mean by going paperless?
What is Going Paperless?
Going paperless refers to reducing your business’ reliance on paper-based forms and documents. With a paper-based system, the work can pile up. For the field service industry, it’s the large numbers of invoices, certificates, job sheets and client details that contribute to the piles of paperwork.
Physical documents can be misplaced, ruined and lost. All this results in messy desks and disorganised offices. Going paperless removes the need for physical paperwork and makes it digital.
Why Are Companies Going Paperless?
It’s not just the head office that can become overridden with paperwork. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Brother, two-thirds of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) admit to hoarding old paperwork in separate locations, including storage lockups and sheds. This can then cause a few problems.
Going paperless can eradicate many of those concerns. Embracing technology is a big step towards reducing your paper consumption and organising your entire business. The aim is to free up those filing cabinets and clear your workspace, whether that is the van or your desk in the office.
Your office will visually appear more organised and everything you need will be in easy reach, whenever you need it.
5 Reasons Why Your Business Should Go Paperless
Now we’ve covered what we mean by going paperless, it’s time to look at exactly what the benefits are. There are many benefits of going paperless in business. Here are five reasons to go paperless in the field service industry.
1. Saves you time
It sometimes feels like we never have enough time to do everything we want to do for our business. Switching to a technology-led approach can free up a lot of it.
No more searching around your desk for a pen to fill in all those job sheets or that one piece of paper in a sea of binders and boxes. With handy search features, all you need to do is type in a job number, equipment reference or client name and you can find the exact job sheet, stock item or email communication you need in a few seconds.
You can complete the work on your desktop, phone or tablet. No need to jot down details to type up later. You can capture everything from electrical test results to client signatures directly onto your job sheet or certificate.
This speeds up the entire process. You can immediately email a draft certificate to the client onsite and attach job sheets to emails instantly so your customers aren’t left waiting. No longer needing to fill out work multiple times also means you have more time in the day to get more jobs done and work on other important tasks.
2. Saves space
Having everything organised in one place is a straightforward way to make life incredibly easy for you and your team. That includes invoices, quotes, job sheets, communication with clients and much more.
Paper can quickly take over the office. Stacks of invoices, binders and bulky diaries fill up every drawer and surface. This kind of disorganised chaos can easily distract you from work and demotivate everyone around you.
With a paperless business, big clunky filing cabinets are a thing of the past. You no longer need to regularly order new binders and boxes or look for alternative ways to expand your office. Fit everything you need in one PC or server and clear your desk space.
It sounds simple enough and going paperless can help make it a reality. Housing it all in one system takes care of your important documents, so you don’t need to. It’s as simple as that.
3. Saves the environment
Both at home and in the office, we are making more and more changes to help our impact on the environment. There are so many small changes you can make to your daily life to do your bit. Whether that is switching to more sustainable products or getting recycling savvy.
The good news is, going paperless can further contribute to reducing your environmental impact. You no longer need to print long forms, certificates or job sheets with extra paper. By emailing a copy to your clients, rather than using large quantities of ink and paper, you can help save trees.
It’s not just the reduction of paper and other materials that helps the environment. Service management software also has other features to help you become more conscious of your environmental footprint. The vehicle module, paired with Google Maps integrations, can be a contributing factor to cut down on travel time and reduce running costs.
Plan your route ahead of time and assign jobs to nearby engineers to make sure you are making the most of every journey.
4. Saves money
When looking for the right job management software for your business, the price is going to be a contributing factor for companies of all sizes. Although it may seem like a big leap at first, the initial cost may only be a small price to pay when compared to the long-term benefits that management software can provide to your business.
Following a paperless direction can save on printing costs and expensive office equipment. No massive filing cabinets that fill up in no time and no large quantities of ink and paper. Move physical planners onto one digital calendar so everyone can easily view meetings and site visits. Store all customer communication in the CRM (customer relationship management) for future reference.
With web-based management software, you can also access all this on the road, so you don’t need to worry about taking notebooks.
Management software also gives you the ability to select engineers based on their location using GPS. This way, the right engineer gets the right job. You can plan routes ahead of time based on which clients or companies are closest. You won’t need to be spending large amounts on petrol for long routes, you can prioritise and get more work done. More work means more jobs and more income for your business.
5. Saves your work
We know how frustrating it is to spend endless hours on work only for it to get misplaced or ruined. Most of the time, these events are unavoidable or out of our control, but there are measures we can put in place to minimise the data loss.
A paperless system would help eradicate potential errors. No more lost work or misunderstood handwriting on those paper job sheets which is likely when sticking to the old trends.
Not only is a digital system a better way to keep your work in order and correct, but it can also help back up those important documents and data in case of an emergency. No one wants to spend hours or days or even years on paperwork to then lose it due to unexpected malfunctions or system crashes. Regularly back up your data to save your work.
How to Go Paperless
Now you’ve seen the benefits of going paperless at work, it’s time to put it into practice. But where do you start?
For the field service industry, job management software is the answer.
Installed in the office, or used on mobile devices, service management software brings every aspect of your business into one place. After a straightforward setup process, the journey to an organised business begins. Add your client contact details, make notes of any communications and create job sheets from an invoice.
Each step in the job process flows together so you don’t miss any information. Your engineers have everything they need on their devices, ready for the next job.
Once you’re set up with job management software or certification software, make sure to perform those important backups. You can set up a schedule for automated backups to run, so you don’t need to perform the process manually every time. Both Clik Service and the NICEIC Cert Software offer backup solutions to provide peace of mind.
Want to get started with service management software and take the step towards a paperless office? Try out Clik Service for free and see the benefits for yourself.
This post was first published in November 2018 and has been edited with updated information.