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Sustainability at Work

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Give your filing cabinets the pink slip

Fire your filing cabinetsIn 2009, Scott Hay gave his filing cabinets the pink slip. The owner of One Inch Round, a SE Portland custom button and magnet manufacturer, was fed up with the time he and his staff spent dealing with paper—opening bills, printing invoices and organizing every piece of paper into overfull filing cabinets. The more successful his business grew, the worse the paper problem became.

To address the problem, Scott researched digital alternatives and found solutions to nearly every aspect of his operations. Now he reaps the benefits of going paperless with time saved, costs reduced, efficient transactions and the enjoyment of knowing his company is having less of an impact on the environment.

Pointers for going paperless, from One Inch Round’s Scott Hay

Why go paperless?

Scott recognized the need to digitize One Inch Round’s paper systems based on the amount of time (and money) that was spent by staff to find documents, open envelopes and file paperwork. He was also running out of space. If they continued with a paper system, he would have to add more filing cabinets to his existing five but he had no place to put new cabinets. He was also concerned about losing important paper documents if there was ever a fire.

Two key steps to setting up a paperless office

Scott started by converting their five filing cabinets to an online, cloud-based document storage system. This offered more office space after removing the cabinets as well as peace of mind knowing these documents would be protected in case of fire or other unexpected disasters.

The next step was to purchase scanners so the company could upload paper files and documents they received from outside sources and vendors. “We recommend Dropbox or Google Drive for storage and the FUJITSU ScanSnap for scanning,” said Scott. By converting paper records into searchable PDF files with the scanners, One Inch Round can save all of their company documents in a searchable PDF format and control sharing of documents within Dropbox. Any document can be easily retrieved from any computer.

Follow every paper trail

Scott looked at every area of One Inch Round’s operations where paper was being used, and found paperless solutions for each. These solutions have provided benefits beyond paper reduction, including faster and easier access to information for customers and staff.

  • Customers and Staff Rather than filling out paper order forms, customers and staff members enter orders directly into the website. Once the order is in, each customer receives a link to check the status of their order, which is tracked in real-time. Customers who receive invoices are notified that they will be receiving a PDF invoice via email rather than a paper copy.
  • Paychecks There was some initial resistance, but Scott said, "Once staff signed up for access to their pay stubs via the companies ADP Payroll employee portal, they were very happy with the ease and ability to access to their earning records online."
  • Project tracking Scott was able to streamline project tracking while supporting another Portland business: “We manage projects and track meeting notes through a software program called Producteev, made by Portland’s Jive Software,” said Scott.
  • Marketing One Inch Round made their full product catalogue for their "Badge Bomb" brand available online. While they still print some copies, they’ve reduced their bi-annual catalog printings by 500 catalogues, 25,000 pieces of paper and shipping charges.

Paperless is becoming the norm

Scott highly recommends going digital. “It saves you money, it makes retrieving documents easier and it’s better for the environment,” he said. “When we started transitioning to paperless in 2009, we saw some resistance to paperless transactions, like emailing a PDF invoice, but it’s becoming the norm more and more. It’s good business for everyone,” said Scott.

One Inch Round is Sustainability at Work Silver certified – learn more about their sustainability practices in their Green Business Directory listing.