Calculating the Real Cost of Paper

“The typical office worker uses about 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year – enough to cover a three- by six-foot desk more than 360 times. People rely heavily on paper to perform everyday duties, despite the high costs associated with lost documents, risk of document obsolescence and labor inefficiency. Paper is becoming a bottleneck for business processes and its excessive usage is also becoming a clear impediment for organizations that are embracing greener IT.” IBM

SMBs are still catching onto the idea of paperless offices.  Many are hesitant to pull the trigger because of the time, hassle and investment involved in the process.  This is understandable; however, statements like those above make it a difficult issue to avoid long term.  Yet, it’s hard for SMBs to know where to begin in making modifications to their dependence on paper.  Here are some tools and calculators to help you approximate the current cost of paper, associated labor and the ROI of investing in a paperless office.

If your office has standard four-drawer filing cabinets, first consider these numbers…

Each cabinet:

Holds 15K-20K pages of paper

Costs $25,000 to fill

Costs $2,000 per year to maintain

Now, it’s believed that once supplies, labor and time are all accounted for it costs nearly $20 to file a single document and 6x as much to locate it if it’s misfiled.  If a document is lost entirely, it can cost up to $250 to recreate it.

It’s not until a business owner really sees how these numbers present themselves in their own business that they start to get curious about paperless solutions.  Yet, the difficulty in estimating ROI somehow manages to get in the way.  Here’s a very basic equation to help calculate the potential ROI percentage of paperless solutions:

Take some time to research solutions, estimate costs and future savings…

  • How much is a paperless office going to cost (initial investment + ongoing cost)?
  • How much money is the solution going to earn?
  • How much money is the solution going to save in the first year, then in each year following?

Then using those figures, calculate the potential ROI with this equation:

($ Earn + $ Save – $ Cost) / $ Cost x 100 = ROI %

At ILM Corp., we believe that you can only see the potential of a document management solution if you’re provided with the right facts and figures.  With that being said, these statistics and equations are for estimation purposes only.   If you’d like a more thorough preview of how a paperless solution would work for your business, contact ILM to get started today with our “Try Before You Buy” approach.  That’s right; call us today to try out our paperless office solutions for free—we’re that confident you’ll like what you see.

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