Is Printer Workflow Automation the Productivity Hack You’re Looking for?

By: Tracy Kollman
June 17, 2024

If increasing productivity, reducing frustration, and reducing errors are wish list items for the year, a few different business technologies could work wonders. But one of the most cost-effective, hard-working, and employee-pleasing solutions is often the one that’s left out of the conversation. 

When printing solutions is your 9–5, that’s not exactly a shock. We’re used to people underestimating the costs, the time, and the frustration associated with printing, as well as how smart modern printers and print-related software can be. So before I get into the details of workflow automation tools, let’s talk about hidden productivity and profit drains most businesses fail to notice. 

The Problems With Paper-Based or Manual WorkflowsAn exhausted employee is overwhlemed by paper-based workflows, which can be resolved with proper printer workflow automation tools.

It’s easy to overlook the problems paper causes because it’s been “just the way things are done” since before our grandparents’ grandparents were born. But paper is just a tool, and while it’s not a bad one, it’s no longer the best one for everything. 

If you’re still using paper-based processes (or a lot of otherwise manual ones), your staff is probably struggling with a few of these common problems:

  • There are too many tedious data entry tasks where it’s easy to make a costly mistake
  • Important contracts aren’t always renewed on time
  • Forms take a long time to process
  • Sensitive documents are sometimes seen by people who shouldn’t have access to them
  • You don’t know how much you’re spending on printing, but your print supply costs are going through the roof
  • Completing common tasks, like processing invoices, requires multiple manual steps
  • Your accounts payable and HR teams are struggling to handle their workloads, and your clients sometimes find errors in their bills

Productivity Statistics You Need To See

But all of those things can’t possibly add up to some of the largest productivity drains your company experiences, could they? Well, take a look at these recent statistics

  • 45% of companies say that it has sometimes taken a week just to get a contract signed
  • 83% of employees have admitted to recreating a document that they couldn’t find
  • 21% of all productivity is estimated to be lost to document management issues

How Printers and Copiers Can Help You Streamline Office Document Workflows

An employee taking advantage of priner workflow automation tools to become more efficient.

Modern printing equipment can do a lot more than just print. They can now play an important role in helping you increase productivity organization-wide, but only if you know how to use them effectively. 

Printing equipment can now connect directly to a document management system (DMS), allowing your staff to scan and save documents easily. Modern DMS tools also incorporate AI technology, which can capture things like contact names, company names, and dates and then label and file scanned pages accordingly — saving your staff time and minimizing errors.

In essence, the integration of printers and copiers with document management software streamlines getting paper documents into an organized digital repository that enables efficient document sharing and collaboration across the organization.

10 Benefits of Digitizing Paper Documents With Copier/Printer Integrations

Employees learning about how digitizing paper documents offers additional benefits, like faster onboarding and more.

As you’ve probably gathered by now, pairing your print environment with a DMS can simplify so many daily tasks that once you’ve done it, it’s hard to think about going back. Of course, the tasks you’re able to simplify depend entirely on what your workflows look like. So when I talk about the benefits of printer workflow automation, I like to paint a much bigger picture. 

1. Speed Through Onboarding

It takes a while to feel comfortable in a new role with a new team. Trying to learn a messy filing system can add a lot of unnecessary frustration. With DMS, it’s easy to create a filing system that makes sense and is easy to stick to. And your HR team will love how simple it makes signing documents. 

2. Get More Done in Less Time

If your office is like most, your staff gets to 3:00 on a Friday and wonders where all of their time went. Often, it’s frittered away countless times a day on the kind of “busy work” that can now be automated, leaving you more room in your day for things that require your full attention. 

3. Make Work Less Boring

When many people initially hear the word “automation,” they worry that their talents will eventually become obsolete. To be fair, sometimes automation is used to save on labor costs. But our form of automation is designed to minimize the amount of paper shuffling and menial data entry that people have to do so they can focus on the more satisfying parts of their jobs. 

We think it’s a win/win: Humans get to do more of the things they love and are good at, and the drudgery is left to a machine that won’t get bored doing it. 

4. Avoid Errors 

Humans sometimes make silly mistakes, especially when we get distracted, or we’re not fully engaged with what we’re doing. Software doesn’t have that problem. Many of the silly mistakes humans make aren’t catastrophic, but some are. 

Recently, employees at Citigroup made a clerical error that sent almost $1 billion to Revlon Inc.’s lenders and Citigroup has had to file a lawsuit to try to get it back. 

5. Boost Innovation

When your workday is taken up with time-consuming tasks, you have less time to think about the big picture. Multiply that throughout your organization, and in addition to draining your productivity, it’s also taking away every department’s ability to innovate. 

6. Improve Customer Relationships 

With less busy work and fewer errors to catch, human beings can also spend more time doing things we’re much better at than computers, such as building and maintaining relationships. If you’re hoping to grow your business, automation tools like DMS can help you provide the same level of service to your customers, which has been notoriously difficult for companies in the past.

7. Simplify Security and Compliance

DMS solutions can ensure that documents are properly classified, retained, and disposed of according to compliance requirements. They can also help you securely back up your data in the cloud. And depending on the solution you choose, they might integrate with additional data loss prevention tools to automatically redact, encrypt, or block the printing of documents containing sensitive data like PII or intellectual property.

8. Reduce Information Siloes

When everyone can access the information they need quickly and easily across every department, information siloes start to dissipate…as if by magic. 

9. Reduce Paper Storage Needs

With fewer paper-based processes, you’ll also need to consume and store less paper. That’s great for the environment, but it’s sometimes astonishing how much space that can free up. 

It’s also easy to forget that paper files can also get lost, destroyed, or fall into the wrong hands. Cloud security isn’t 100% assured, but neither is the information contained in all of those manila folders. 

10. Empower Remote Work

DMS solutions make it much easier for your employees in more departments to work from anywhere. Even if remote work isn’t a goal for your business, offering employees more flexibility to stay home with a sick child or get more tasks done when they’re on the road can help you attract and retain more talent. 

The Easiest Way To Add Printer Software for Document Automation 

A managed print services partner walks a male business owner through how to install new printer software to help boost productivity and more.

Unfortunately, many of the workplaces that would benefit most from these types of tools lack the time to add them. 

If you and your staff are too overwhelmed with your day-to-day work to research and implement solutions like these, we can certainly help. Click the link below to learn more about how we make it easy and affordable to add sophisticated print software like DMS and many more!

Talk to a Print Specialist

Topics: Managed Print Services