I was recently browsing the internet when I came across a website claiming it could tell me exactly how much my life was worth as a human being. Intrigued, I filled out a survey that asked questions about my physical, mental, lifestyle and personality factors. Once completed it broke down every aspect of my answers and gave me an exact number of my life’s worth—$2,327,896 to be exact.
I began wondering, if there is a method to determine something as intangible as the price of a human life, certainly any other object could be also be weighed and measured. Businesses everywhere know the value of a document, but how much is it really worth? While the question remains of why researchers would find interest in determining the life worth of a piece of paper, I did find an answer. Research has shown that over a document’s lifetime the cost of handling, storing and shipping a single paper document can easily reach up to $30.
First, there is the cost of the paper itself, just a few cents to begin with, but we’re only getting started. Then there is the cost of storage. This can include anything from file folders, file cabinets and storage boxes to the extra office storage space you have to rent.
Next, there are the costs of shipping and routing paper. Not only do the actual mailing costs add up, but then there is the efficiency costs of time spent waiting for documents to get where they’re going. It’s a fact that pushing paper around the office or the globe impedes employee productivity.
Finally, you have the liability factor of paper to contend with. Papers get lost or ruined and have to be reprinted. They’re usually difficult to find in a traditional filing system and even the threat of potential security risks add to the cost of a single paper document. Quite simply, it is costly to manage a piece of paper.
It is for these reasons that many businesses are turning to an electronic document management system to cut back on the cost of paper. Not only is it easier to keep track of your documents and maintain their security, but the costs of storing and routing paper are cut back significantly. A good first step is to determine how much your paper-based office is costing you.