A piece of paper is inexpensive, but, consider how many pieces of paper an average business uses, files and stores away every year.
The number can reach millions, if not more, and when you calculate what you do with that piece of paper you soon realize that considerable savings could be made by switching to digital signatures and eliminating paper-based approvals.
Some organisations are already aware of the impact paper usage has on the environment and are working to reduce consumption, but when it comes to approving documents all too often page after page is printed to gather ink signatures.
Still finding it difficult to visualize the costs?
Let’s look at a typical process. We are assuming that an average organisation produces around 10,000 documents a year and each is around ten pages, with three copies required for signatories:
- Buying paper
This is not prohibitively expensive, we calculate each sheet costs an average of half a penny.
- Printing and photocopying
Included in the cost of each page, at around 2p per page, is the setup of the equipment including toner and maintenance.
- Document delivery
If everyone signing the document is in the same building, the cost of delivery is zero, but most documents need to be posted. If we allow for 30% of the 10,000 being delivered by mail, the cost of postage and the envelope averages 46p.
If the document needs to be delivered urgently, it can be couriered, and if this is done for 10% of the documents, at an average cost of £10, the figures start to add up.
Some companies still use fax machines, so let’s assume that 40% of the documents are sent this way, at 3p per sheet.
So far, this is how our calculations look:
Paper = £1,500
Printing / Photocopying = £6,000
Internal Delivery= £0
Postage = £4,500
Courier = £30,000
Sub Total= £45,600
But, that’s not all we need to take into account…
Many companies want records in their digital archives, which means scanning, storage and paper disposal, and in our next blog on this topic we will look at the associated costs and then compare these with what the average company spends on digital signatures.