As a small business owner, you are likely already aware of just how much paper is generated during the course of running your day-to-day operations. There are memos to employees, correspondence to clients, accounting, production and sales reports, proposals, invoices, receipts, and more.
Each of these various documents not only costs money to produce, but it must also be securely stored or disposed of after use, and those activities come with their own set of challenges and costs.
What if there was a better way to handle employee and client communications, a practice that dramatically reduced the number of paper documents generated by your business, and a better solution for accessing, managing, storing and disposing of the records that you do produce?
There is a better way. Using a combination of an integrated document management software solution and a print tracking program, along with secure document shredding and storage services, you can significantly reduce the amount of paperwork generated by your business and dramatically reduce the costs of producing, managing, storing, and disposing of the paperwork that is made.
Let's explore the ways that print tracking, when used in conjunction with a document management software solution and secure document shredding and storage program, can save your small business both time AND money.
Document Management Software
The paperwork reduction process begins with the implementation of a document management software solution. When business owners talk about "going paperless," they generally talk about integrating a document management software solution. While document management software is not a genuinely paperless solution, it will help to reduce the amount of paperwork generated by your business dramatically, which is a step in the right direction.
Document management software is one of many IT solutions that provides a digital solution to a physical problem. At its core, document management software relies on workflow automation and digital records to manage much of the staff, and client communication, reporting, and record-keeping tasks previously handled by individual staff members pushing paper records back and forth.
A document management software solution utilizes workflow automation tools to allow small business owners and managers to create, access, and disseminate many of the various documents needed to run their business operations in a wholly digital format. This means that rather than printing multiple rough drafts, edits, and updated versions of the same document or making multiple copies to distribute to various employees in several departments, administrators can create, edit, update and share digital files using the office computer network or the internet.
A correctly implemented document management software program will allow administrators and staff to create, view, edit, update and share documents with one another or with clients using a series of digital files and folders.
In addition to reducing the day-to-day paperwork generated by your small business operations, document management software helps increase the overall security of your information storage and sharing. Administrators can create a hierarchy of permissions for each file or for an entire folder of files. By granting and revoking permissions, administrators can easily control who has access to a particular file or folder.
Document management software also allows administrators to monitor when a file or folder was accessed, who accessed the file, and if any changes were made to the file or folder contents when it was accessed. Best of all, the software program can store multiple versions of the same document allowing you to easily roll back any edits or restore any information that may have been accidentally deleted.
Now that you have a better idea of how a document management software solution can help reduce the paperwork generated by your small business operation, we can begin to explore how print tracking works and how it fits within the suite of small business solutions intended to manage your document handling costs.
When implemented in conjunction with a document management software solution, print tracking can help to further reduce document creation, sharing, management, storage, and disposal costs by reducing the number of paper documents produced and ensuring that the paper documents that are made are generated in the most cost-effective manner possible.
These goals are achieved through a series of IT solutions that allow administrators to monitor when a document is printed, how often the document has been printed, who ordered each printing of the paper, and which office printer was used to complete the print job.
Through the careful monitoring of each print task, office management will be able to generate valuable reports that will enable them to quickly identify any areas of printing inefficiency and implement protocols and rules to manage, reduce, or eliminate the excess or inefficient printing tasks.
For example, after monitoring business printing tasks for a period of time, an administrator can use the print tracking software to generate a report of all printing task details for a specified timeframe. The administrator can then carefully review the report and flag any instances where documents were multiple copies of documents were printed, or inter-office communications were duplicated and copied rather than being sent using a digital communication method. In certain instances, the monitoring, reporting, and review process can be automated to allow the print tracking software program to identify and flag areas of printing inefficiency to be sent to the administration for final review.
Once areas of printing inefficiency have been identified and flagged, either by an administrator or the print tracking software program, management will then be able to choose the best course of action to remedy each individual problem area.
In most cases, wasteful printing practices like duplicate printing tasks, printing multiple versions of the same document, and printing paper copies for distributing and sharing can be easily remedied by implementing a series of restrictions and permissions on each file. The administrator can create rules on a per-document basis or limit the printing of all documents contained within a specific file folder or collection of file folders. These permissions and restrictions can be used to altogether remove the option to print a particular document or document type, or they may be used to dictate when a document may be printed, how many copies may be made of each paper, and who is authorized to initiate a printing task.
While proper implementation of document management software, coupled with a robust print tracking program, can help to reduce significantly the number of printing tasks generated in the course of your day to day business operations, there will still be instances when you or your staff will need to produce paper documents to distribute to clients or other staff members. A print tracking program can help you to manage and reduce costs related to the papers that do require printing as well.
This goal can be accomplished by linking the print tracking software to a series of interconnected intelligent multi-function printers (MFPs) and copiers. The administration can then monitor and review which machines are being used for each printing task. With this knowledge in hand, administrators can create another set of specific rules and permissions which designate the particular printer or copier to be used for the printing of each document or file folder of documents. By implementing this series of rules and restrictions, printing tasks can be automatically routed to the most appropriate and cost-effective printing or copying equipment.
For instance, printing tasks such as daily, weekly, or monthly production or accounting reports can be very data-heavy and require multiple pages of paper documents to be printed for information sharing and record-keeping purposes. These multi-page documents require a great deal of time to process and complete and use up a large quantity of paper, and ink resources, not to mention the wear and tear on the printing and copying equipment. Because these data-heavy reports are commonly generated for the purpose of information sharing and record-keeping within the confines of the business itself, and not intended for sharing with business clients, they can be developed to cost-efficient workhorse type of printer or copier which was explicitly designed to handle large volume printing tasks in a cost-effective and timely manner. These types of printers and copiers generally make use of less costly ink and paper resources allowing you to save on the cost of generating multiple pages of reports which will be used for informational purposes only.
On the flip side, when there is a need to produce hard paper copies of documents that will be sent to business clients, or other third-party recipients, those printing tasks can be automatically sent to a printer or copier, which is specifically designed to create a secure invoice, or produce a high-quality document intended for use in a business proposal or marketing advertisement. These types of records often require printing on specialized equipment, using expensive paper, and multicolored inks.
Document management and print tracking software, coupled with a network of intelligent multi-function and specialized printers and copiers, will allow you to ensure that you and your staff are using the most cost-efficient equipment for each individual printing task. By routing each print task to the proper equipment, you will be able to significantly reduce the amount of money spent on paper and ink resources, as well as the inevitable repair and replacement costs of your company's printing and copying machinery.
Multi-Function Printer & Copier Equipment Sales & Leasing
If your small business is not equipped with the advanced multi-function printing and copying equipment required to fully integrate with your document management and print tracking software solution, ALFA Managed By Masters program can help get your small business technology up to speed.
Print ALFA partners with titans of the printing and copying industry like HP, Lexmark, and Toshiba to offer our business clients a wide selection of top-of-the-line multi-function printers and copiers available for purchase or lease. All of the MFPs and copiers in our equipment sales and lease department are designed to easily interface with the latest document management software and print tracking solutions.
What's more, the ALFA Managed By Masters program ensures that the equipment we supply is backed by the quality customer service and technical expertise of these industry-leading manufacturers. This means that when your equipment is not functioning as intended, or you have questions about the features or capabilities of a specific piece of equipment, you will have the answers and solutions you need when you need them to help keep your business running at peak efficiency.
Document Storage & Shredding Services
Because even the best document management software and print tracking solutions will not be able to eliminate the need for hard copy paper documents completely, your small business will still need to develop a cost-effective, and secure method for managing, storing, and disposing of the hard copy paper documents that must be produced.
There are a number of factors that must be considered when choosing the proper document storage and disposal strategy for your business. Security, safety, efficiency, and cost are the most common and pressing concerns. Utilizing third-party document storage and shredding service to manage the storage and disposal of your hard copy paper documents is, in many cases, the most secure, efficient, and affordable solution to solve all of these paper document management challenges.
ALFA Business Document Storage Services can be easily customized and scaled to meet the unique document storage and disposal needs of each individual small business. ALFA Business Document Storage Service provides secure and organized document archiving and storage services that meet or exceed all information security and record storage compliance requirements. Because your essential business documents are stored off-site in our ultra-secure, dedicated document storage facilities, you will be able to free up your valuable real estate space for more productive activity.
ALFA Business document shredding service offers business owners a more security-conscious, efficient, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective means of destroying and disposing of documents and sensitive data.
Business owners can choose to take advantage of our on-site shredding services, or we can supply your business with secure document storage containers for the collection of documents which can be transported to our secure document shredding facility for destruction and disposal. If you choose to make use of our certain document disposal collection boxes, your staff will be able to discard documents into the collection container, where the deposited copies will remain safe from prying eyes until the container is collected and transported to our secure document shredding facility. Once arriving at our secure facility, the documents contained within the container will be shredded and recycled.
Your business will always receive a Certificate of Destruction with every document shredding job to verify document destruction. This Certificate of Destruction serves as an essential tool to help your small business meet data security compliance requirements and provides you, as the business owner, the extra peace of mind that comes from knowing that your sensitive business data will not fall into the wrong hands, or be used for inappropriate purposes by unauthorized users, or bad actors.
ALFA Business document storage and shredding services are flexible and scalable to meet the specific data security, storage, and record-keeping requirements of large and small businesses in every type of industry.
ALFA Small Business Solutions
ALFA Business has far more to offer your small business beyond our business document management, print tracking, document storage, and shredding services. ALFA business provides a full suite of small business solutions, from fully managed IT solutions, including cyber security monitoring and protection and email management services, to high-tech VoIP telecommunication services.
Regardless of whether you choose one or two of our small business tools and services or take advantage of the full suite of IT management and small business solutions that ALFA Business has to offer, you can rest assured that all of your business needs, no matter how large, or how small, are being met by a team of highly qualified, experienced, and knowledgeable industry professionals.
Contact Us Today!
Contact Print ALFA today to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives who are ready to discuss your small business needs and show you all of the areas where ALFA Business solutions will be able to help you increase productivity, improve the efficiency of your existing business practices, meet and exceed industry-specific data security and record-keeping requirements, and ultimately improve your small business's bottom line.
No matter the size, scope, or security level of your small business management needs, ALFA Business solutions has the right tools to help you get the job done faster, safer, and at significant cost savings. Let us handle all of the hassles, and headaches of managing your small business document management, storage, and disposal needs, so that you can focus on what you do best, innovating and growing your small business. Contact the team at Print ALFA today. We can't wait to show you how we can help you grow your business!