June 26 2014
Paper-based document management systems have several flaws.

7 disadvantages of paper-based document management

Real estate is a particularly paperwork-heavy industry, whether you're dealing with sale and rental agreements, property management forms, lease applications or invoices.

Managing this ever-growing abundance of documents requires a system to ensure that information is filed, found and retrieved quickly and efficiently. Some businesses rely on a paper-based document management system to deal with these processes.

However, there are a number of disadvantages to using manual document management, which is why many property organisations favour electronic platforms when embarking on a real estate IT project.

Not convinced? Here are seven issues you may be facing if you rely on paper-based systems.

1. Lack of storage space

Paperwork can take up a significant amount of space, and this requirement will only get bigger as the number of documents you accrue grows.

Furthermore, documents will typically need to be stored close to hand so that they can be accessed as quickly as possible. If they are located on another floor or in a different building, you could experience severe productivity losses when retrieving forms.

2. Prone to damage

Australia is no stranger to natural disasters, so there is a real chance your office - and its documents - could be damaged by a flood, cyclone, bushfire or other extreme weather event. A fire could also wipe out your onsite records.

While less dramatic, documents can also be damaged from the wear and tear of regular handling or people spilling drinks and food on them.

3. Inefficient document transportation

Transporting documents in a paper-based system is often problematic. While it is possible to fax, courier or deliver files in person, this is slow and inefficient.

This is particularly true if you need to send over numerous pages or folders. With an electronic document management system, users can simply add attachments to an email and send information instantly.

4. Supply costs

One of the biggest drawbacks of paper-based document management systems is the associated costs.

Not only will you need lots of paper - usually in different sizes and shapes - you'll require more printers, stationery and other office supplies each month.

These costs quickly add up and can become a significant expense in larger organisations.

5. Poor environmental credentials

Using more paper is bad for the environment, which won't do much to boost your company's green credentials.

Many of today's employees want to work for businesses that prioritise sustainability, so you may need to consider environmentally friendly alternatives to attract and retain the best talent.

Investing in an electronic document management system ensures you minimise the amount of paper you waste around the office.

6. Limited collaboration

Collaboration on documents is extremely hard when working with paper versions.

If several department heads need to confer on a document, they must have multiple copies printed, make amendments separately and then share their version with each other before pursuing further changes.

Electronic document management systems have a centralised document environment where users can collaborate easily through granted access and tracked changes.

7. Editing problems

If you want to make changes to a paper-based document, you will need to photocopy the original first - otherwise you will ruin it with edits and comments.

This will need to be repeated every time you want to make more amendments and you may end up running out of space if significant alterations are required.

Ultimately, editing becomes a messy and time-consuming process that could leave the original document in a sorry state. 

Does an electronic document management system sound like the ideal solution for your business? Please contact Loci Solutions today to see how we can help you upgrade from manual processes to an automated platform.