As our world becomes increasingly more digital, you may have heard the term “paperless” be tossed around. Paperless documentation may mean something different depending on what industry you’re in.
This guide goes in depth about the shift to paperless processes and digitized documents in the construction industry. We explore the shift from paper documents to digital filing, using field apps, and creating paperless workflows to decrease paper usage and save money.
The Shift to Paperless Processes
As time has gone on, we’ve seen countless changes to make the workplace more efficient. In fact, you can even think of switching from fax to emails as the first step in transitioning to a paperless office. Then, other processes were moved online and into the cloud. The pandemic led to even more digitization with online conference and collaboration tools like Zoom, Teams, and Sharepoint becoming the norm, even in industries like construction.
Typically, more industrial sectors, such as construction, are slow to take the leap. Even with the increase in software and mobile apps in the workflow, the construction industry in particular was still using massive amounts of paper and physical documents.
Important documents like plans, RFIs, diagrams, checklists, and even timesheets were still on paper. In some places this was due to lack of budget, site and government mandates, or lack of training for workers.
The Right Way to Make the Leap
Knowing how to make the move to paperless processes and away from filing cabinets is extremely important. Although it may seem like a gigantic change, going paperless does not have to be daunting or even hard. In fact, going paperless is a huge trend in construction projects.
There are a few ways you can start taking the leap. Two common ways are the “all-in” approach or a slower approach, training a few workers at a time on specific projects.
With the slow approach, you can reduce risk and manage budgets easier by utilizing a rolling basis. However, we still see many companies taking the “all-in” approach and setting goals to go completely paperless in a set amount of time.
The Benefits of Going Paperless
There are many benefits to reducing the amount of paper you are using on site and in the office. Going paperless is not just using a digital spreadsheet, it’s moving to document management systems and using cloud-based software. These systems ensure you are always up to date and can easily share documents to the right people at the right time.
When everyone on your team is using the same software, you can increase productivity and collaboration across teams. Mark-ups can be updated in real time, everyone always has access to the most up-to-date version of a drawing. You can attach photos, notes, and more to mark-ups and utilize electronic signatures to get approvals faster. RFIs, contracts, and legal documents can be accessible to those that need them. Handovers and maintenance requests can be better managed when all the information you need is in one place.
These are just a few of the benefits of reducing your carbon footprint and going paperless in the construction world. Some other benefits include:
- Digitize Files
Digitizing your files has a variety of benefits. When you upload documents and digitize them, you can have a more clutter-free work environment. With digital systems, documents are easier to find, easily sortable, and more easily shared with the right people.
- Increase Efficiency
One of the biggest benefits of paperless processes is that they save time. Filing paper and finding the documents when they are needed takes a lot of time. Paperless document management automatically files your documents and makes them easy to access.
In addition, other processes are streamline and made faster. Automated paperless workflows can also reduce document turnaround time and e-signatures can speed up the approval process.
Work smarter, not harder with paperless processes and streamline your operations. Going paperless will increase efficiency across all aspects of your business, saving you time and saving you money.
- Improve Productivity and Promote Collaboration
Another great benefit of going paperless is that it increases and improves productivity. With all of your documents in one digital space, they are instantly made searchable and easy to find. By increasing access to important information and documents, employees are no longer spending valuable time looking for what they need.
Keep your team on the same page. Documents are updated in real time, meaning everyone has access to the right version of the document at all times. Increase collaboration by making sure everyone is kept in the know and on the same page.
- More Flexibility
With paperless processes, documents can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. Increase visibility and flexibility with documents that can be accessed when you need them most.
- More Secure
Another huge benefit of paperless processes is that they are more secure. Digital file storage will let you know who has viewed or edited documents. Set permissions on documents to ensure that sensitive information is never in the wrong hands.
Never lose a paper document again when you go digital. Paper records can easily be lost or damaged. When you go paperless, you are not only saving money and increasing efficiency, you are also moving to more secure processes.
Make the Switch with OpSource
Making the switch and going paperless does not have to be scary. We took our experience in the field and built a suite of software made for the field. Depending on your needs, we have a paperless solution for you. Contact us today to learn more.