The real cost of paper records are underestimated. It is not only the cost of creating them but the ongoing costs of storage, retrieval and filing. Paper documents can only be in one place at a time causing workers to exacerbate the problem by making additional copies for their own filing cabinets. The more people handling it, the more copies that will be created.
Check out these statistics from industry studies:
- American companies spend an estimated $20 on labor costs to file a document, $120 on finding a misfiled document and $220 to reproduce a lost document.
- Companies typically misfile almost 20% of their records.
- Approximately $14,000 of productivity is lost per worker per year due to their inability to find necessary data.
- Citigroup found that it would save $700,000 each year if each employee used double-sided copying to conserve just one sheet of paper per week.
- A four-drawer filing cabinet costs about $25,000 to fill and $2,000 per year to maintain.
- Every year 7.5 billion documents are created and 15 trillion copies are made.
- The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper each year.
- Approximately 90% of business information exists on paper.
- A typical company can cut its paper consumption by 25% by increasing the use of e-mail, on-line forms and reports, double-sided copying, and lighter-weight paper.
Document imaging as been in use in most large companies for over a decade but it is not widely used in the small and medium-sized enterprises. Although there is some movement in this sector to adopt the technology, most have mountains of paper, much of which must be retained for several years.
Despite their assumptions, paper is not a permanent medium and susceptible to damage from humidity, fire and water. Few small businesses are adequately insured to cover the cost of recovering these lost files.