Category Archives: General News

CBRE revamps office, changes document management system

Regardless of the industry, it is important to have an office that supports the life of the company's work culture. Sometimes, the way documents are processed can get in the way of a staffer's overall output for the day.

Recognizing these weaknesses is the first step toward to managing upcoming projects like an office-wide renovation for example. Understanding the work patterns of colleagues in advance can influence the way shared work space is set up as well as the business process software that these staffers may need.

CBRE, one of the world's largest commercial real estate firms in the world, decided to revamp its Los Angeles headquarters. How the the company changed its layout led it to become a more paperless office.

When less than 20 percent of the workspace had stations that were equipped with the technology employees needed in order to work with one another, CBRE realized it needed a change, keeping electronic integration in mind, LA Downtown News explained.

"We found that 51 percent of the time, people aren't in their seats," CBRE Executive Managing Director Lewis Horne said during a discussion on the new office. "We were also out of space because everyone owned their own bit of real estate in the office."

Now, staffers can choose where they want to conduct meetings and daily tasks. Through the use of laptops and electronic document management programs, everyone has the flexibility to share information without making photocopies of contracts and strategy plans.

CBRE's new setup may be a huge jump from the typical corporate office environment with cubicles and walls, but a majority of employees enjoy this new workflow. No one is longer limited to their collection of paperwork because it is stored on a secure network instead.

How Beth Wolff Realtors used electronic document management to maximize efficiency

Businesses that want to increase their reach, while keeping documents in order, can benefit from the use of electronic document management. These programs allow organizations to improve overall work efficiency. At one Houston, Texas-based company, going paperless made the ultimate difference.

Beth Wolff Realtors recently celebrated being in business for 35 years, but Wolff herself found that her success would not have been possible without the support of her family, collaborations and paperless office solutions. Beth Wolff Realtors was the first business in Houston to allow electronic transactions, after all.

What started as a local real estate company for sellers and buyers within the southeastern Texas city became an organization that helped individuals and families through the moving process. Regardless of their life-alternating circumstance, Wolff's employees made sure "the home-buying or home-selling process [was] a positive one," the Houston Chronicle reported.

Wolff's expertise with zoning and real estate planning helped the city build the Quality of Life Coalition and a Habitat for Humanity Chapter. After working with a variety of committees on projects, Beth Wolff Realtors eventually became an affiliate of Hathaway Homes Services—a company that is backed by Warren Buffet. 

Real estate companies under Home Services are proven to respect "the magnitude of the real estate transaction to clients' lives," helping corporations of all sizes within the United States and around the world to transition to their new headquarters.

Wolff's knowledge of industry-leading trends and technologies have helped her meet many milestones in 35 years and she plans to continue to help her team be a leading realtor. Despite having so many projects, her business process software served as a great advantage to making Beth Wolff Realtors different from the competition.

Air Canada reduces debts with paperless pilot manuals

Commercial airlines around the world are trying to improve their bottom line with fees and additional amenities for their passengers, but not all debts can be recovered by the passenger. Air Canada is making a complete 180-degree change between now and 2019. The company's efforts include using lightweight paint on the body of the airplanes and replacing paper pilot manuals with tablets.

Though the manuals seem to be a small change to reduce Air Canada's cost, it is expected to save them at least $3 million per year.

On some of Air Canada's longer flights, there could be as many as four pilots on board, with each of them carrying the 35-pound manual — that's an additional 140 pounds to the aircraft. Tablets on the other hand, are only about one pound each and allows airplane operators to receive the most up-to-date materials without adding or throwing away pages from the paper manual.

Switching the paint that covers the aircraft is going to make the jet anywhere between 1,100 to 1,700 pounds lighter, which should help lower fuel costs. When jet fuel alone accounts for 30 percent of the organization's budget, any change is essential.

About a year-and​-a-half ago, Air Canada experienced many financial hardships, but chief executive Calin Rovinescu told the Globe and Mail that the company is working toward "sustainable profitability." 

"It's a much more efficient process," Rovinescu explained.

Air Canada already implemented iPads into its Sky Regional airplanes and other affiliates within its parent company as a way to work toward a more paperless office. With these minor changes and some other alternatives like buying wider planes, Rovinescu hopes to reduce the price per average seat mile by 15 percent.

Why electronic document management works for businesses

Businesses that want to improve their bottom line and increase an employee's overall productivity know that electronic document management systems are an option, but some staffers are reluctant to break old, paper-based habits that are more expensive over time.

For example, some colleges and universities charge their students to print. According to a study from Oki Systems, about 45 percent of respondents are printing an average of 10 pages per day. 

"[I]t's frustrating to see this wastage when, by taking expert advice from a managed document solutions provider, gaining control and adopting some straightforward measures, organizations can cut their printing costs by up to 30 percent," Graham Lowes, OKI's United Kingdom marketing director, said in the press release.

Whether the file was for personal or professional use, workers are able to complete many more tasks with business process software. Files can be shared, viewed and downloaded without needing to press the print button once. AIIM's recent study also found that participants are printing documents and rescanning them back into the system to be archived for later use. Instead of wasting time and paper, companies can utilize e-signature applications to avoid this process altogether. 

"Many capture systems have been implemented as a single-point solution, each feeding a single process application." This issue could be solved with a "standard capture platform feeding multiple applications," AIIM researchers wrote.

Switching toward these solutions is a manageable process, but it is essential first that the IT department explains to the organization that the switch will take some time. Even when the transition is complete, colleagues are encouraged to use the system on a daily basis to ensure that the files are up-to-date and accessible. 

Polk County courts finished paperless transitio​n

Whenever a business decides to move toward a paperless office, senior staff members have to create a plan that works best for everyone within the organization. Through the support of IT professionals, they can help streamline this transition and make it as smooth as possible. These changes cannot happen overnight, but with patience, all workers will be able to reap the benefits.

This similar scenario occur​red in Polk County Iowa, where court officials have been working on switching from paper records to the state's central electronic document management system.

Before Polk County joined the network, about 35 out of the state's 99 counties used this setup, incorporating about 40 percent of the state's court documents. Being electronically available, attorneys, plaintiffs and judges are able to access these documents without the hassle of asking a court clerk.

Similar to other organizations, Polk County feared the glitches that could occur from using the software, but Polk County Clerk of Courts Randy Osborn told the Des Moines Register that it was important to trust the IT professionals.

"[Information technology] people constantly [have to] monitor when this happens and they're able to allocate more storage space immediately," Osborn said.

Since the transition began in January, the courts implemented civil court and small claims and family law paperwork into the system's database. By October, Polk County completed the transition by adding criminal cases. Along with the installation of eight computers in the local courthouse, citizens can look up information immediately.

"Long-term going forward there's going to be some great benefits for our office and for the citizenry of Polk County also," Osborn added.

The transition took some time, but it worked out for many parties, who will be able to increase work efficiency.

NOAA’s nautical maps go paperless

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is responsible for reporting severe weather, daily forecasts and climate monitoring, but it is also known for printing nautical charts for fisherman and sailors, according to the organization's website.

For more than 150 years, boaters would look at 4-foot-by-3-foot, heavy lithographic maps to see where there the NOAA identified shipwrecks or other hazards in the sea. However, after 2014, NOAA will stop printing these nautical charts to save printing costs, the Associated Press reported. Making a copy of these large maps would cost the NOAA $20 per graph and they were selling it at the same price, which means the government agency never made a profit from these products.

This paperless initiative stems from competition with small businesses that print their own maps with "more up-to-date and accurate [information]," Captain Shep Smith, head of the NOAA marine chart division, explained. In fact, the NOAA didn't have much of a choice because the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees all federal chart-making told the government agency that this cut had to be made to reduce costs.

Despite cutting production, the NOAA will continue to use the $100 million budget to continue recording information about American waters. Users will still be able to access these maps, but only electronically or through PDFs. There will be a printing option available, but that will have to be done at the individual's discretion. 

In the past, fisherman and mariners used the maps to navigate around specific waterways, Smith told the source.

"Think of them as the roadmap of the ocean," Smith said. "The navigational charts tell you what's under the water, which is critical for navigation."

AIIM hosts ‘Paper Free Day’

Companies are constantly looking to find ways to save money, but many executives overlook the cost of printing. Every day, employees print paperwork for to sign contracts or share documents even though these processes can be completed within an electronic document management system. 

On October 24, the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) is hosting "Paper Free Day," inviting businesses to turn off their printing equipment and educate themselves on the actual advantages of these programs. AIIM reported that two-thirds of companies that swapped their business process software saw the investment returned within 18 months, and half received it within a fiscal year.

"Paper-based content clogs up processes—masking workflows, adding delays and limiting flexibility of where and how the process takes place," AIIM explained.

The only way to do truly reap the benefits of this solution is if a business goes "digital from start to finish." Businesses have to look past being reliant on the printer and organize areas where paper waste could be diminished—this requires effort from every employee. For example, archives of paperwork that need to be kept based on a state's document retention policy can be scanned and stored into the company's central system. 

Over in the United Kingdom, about 72 percent of private and public sector workers delay filing paperwork because they need a person's signature, according to a study from YouGov. Instead of taking up desk space for pending signatures, consider obtaining e-signature capabilities. All of this can be achieved through business process software.

Why businesses should consider electronic document management

Though there are many successful paperless office stories out there, many businesses have yet to implement these systems. Within an organization, it is likely that the finance or human resources departments are using these programs, but it may take years before an organization has an entirely electronic database.

The potential to increase work productivity is there, but HarborPoint owner Don Lueders told AIIM that oftentimes, staff members are holding tightly onto paper records, acting as if electronic alternatives "haven't really changed [work processes] all that much."

However, this is far from true because years worth of records can now be readily available from searching a few document-specific keywords instead of going through folders. Keep in mind that the only way these files are going to make it into the system is if they are periodically input by the records manager.

Just like any document repository system, it must be maintained and updated. Too many times a business owner will blame the application for not meeting their management needs, but the database cannot do all the work on its own. Transitioning takes time, but the effort has to be consistent. Without it, many of us are stuck with "absurd volumes of content" and less space to put it.

Businesses that want to maximize the amount of tasks that are completed in a given day should look into electronic document management systems. A document management provider can help with the transition with this change and recommend specific software that meets your business' needs. 

NBA team implements partial paperless tickets program

Time after time, recreational events get fed up dealing with people who purchase fraudulent tickets, even though some have said they buy them from well-known third-party companies like StubHub and Craigslist.

As a way to reduce these issues, some performers and venues have started to allow customers to utilize paperless tickets to reduce waste and increase efficiency. Some events have made ticket purchases even more stringent, allowing attendees to swipe their credit cards upon entry, according to Fox Business.

Though file scanning tickets from a smartphone is a fairly new concept, the Nets decided to implement a club-exclusive card to "protect our customer[s]," Fred Mangione, Brooklyn Nets' chief officer of marketing and revenue, told the Wall Street Journal. The Brooklyn Nets NBA franchise is launching this procedure for their season ticket holders.

Although ticket resellers like StubHub have found that paperless vouchers may "present a real challenge for [their] business," Brooklyn Nets season ticket holders who wish to sell games they don't plan on attending can transfer them via email to friends, family or third-party retailers.

Nonetheless, Mangione recommends ticket holders to post their unwanted tickets on the NBA Ticket Exchange website because, there have been many instances where people would come to a game "with bogus tickets they bought on StubHub."

The Brooklyn Nets would be the 20th team in the NBA to have a paperless ticket program, but these season holder cards also work as a credit card. Each time a person purchases concessions or merchandise on the account, they may win perks like a night in one of the luxury boxes.

Businesses are always trying new projects to work toward a more paperless office, and organizations that want to implement similar solutions can reach out to an electronic document management provider.

Study: Businesses ‘at the start’ of their paperless office journey

Electronic document management is becoming a larger part of a businesses' operations, but a study from the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) found that that executives are still in the early stages of the transition. 

Even though 74 percent of respondents said that they are in the midst of increasing their paperless office solutions, AIIM realized that not enough tasks are electronically processed.

Based on this information, AIIM recommends that IT staffers should have "constant vigilance to stop paper leaking in the process." The only way a business can truly improve its bottom line through this investment is if more aspects of the software were actively utilized. About 77 percent of participants complete five or fewer tasks electronically. 

"We know that in these very large organizations, especially government agencies, there are hundreds if not thousands of processes that could potentially be made paper-free, so we are still very much at the start of this journey," AIIM researchers explain.

To take it a step further, electronic document management hasn't become a company-wide initiative. Based on the study, about 63 percent of users work in human resources or finance departments. Consultants and logistic companies were found to be the industries most likely to implement these programs. 

Out of more than 60 percent of human resources and finance participants, more than 60 percent of them considered the paperless investment "excellent or good."

Though not many logistic businesses have these capabilities, about 50 percent of organizations that do said that their system has been "good" or "excellent" for their operations.