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Paper Forms Are Ruining You — No Really. Here's Why.

January 24th, 2019 | data, telematics, Work Hack, Forms


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The tech explosion of the last ten years has radically altered possibility for almost every aspect of work and play. Cloud computing, smartphones, powerful AI and ever-increasing processor speeds have transformed everything from communication to healthcare to energy use. The only trouble is, the change has occurred so quickly and continues at such a rapid pace that most of us haven’t adjusted how we work and play to fully take advantage of it.  


This paradox is especially true for small- to mid-sized mining and construction firms. Telematics have transformed maintenance and upkeep. Smartphones mean employees and contractors are almost always within reach. But when it comes to gathering information from mechanics, fleet managers, operators and others, far too many companies still rely on paper forms. In the midst of our current technological and digital Renaissance, that’s not just a shame, it’s a company death-wish.



Paper Schmaper


We get it. We really do. Your paper-based forms, reporting and auditing system is in place and it works, more or less. Sure you can’t do any deep data dives into all that paper, which means you’re missing out on key insights that could drive efficiencies, improve safety or cut costs, but at least you know your records are all there in the filing cabinet — except, of course, for the ones you keep off-site because the sheer amount would fill a tanker. And you’re right, teaching old dogs new tricks isn’t easy. It might not even work to retrain your team. How much could you really be missing out on anyway?


Let us be the next ones to break it to you (we know we’re not the first): If you haven’t transitioned the bulk of your forms and reporting needs into the digital realm, you’re ruining your life. No really. Here’s why.



Time Is Money, Money Is Time


Paper forms were first developed as a way to solve simple problems like keeping track of what needed to be done — say, a daily safety checklist or a record that some essential training had been completed. Over time, however, the scope of what needed to be tracked and recorded has grown and changed. The solution to a problem — paperwork — has become itself a problem in need of a solution. And like most problems in need of a solution, it’s costing you way too much money and time.


According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the cost to the average office to file a single, paper document is $20. Each time a paper document is misfiled, the search to locate it costs about $120. For every 20 documents filed, one is irretrievably lost and it takes, on average, 25 hours to recreate it — each and every one.


When you rely on a digital solution for forms, reporting and auditing, it’s nearly impossible to misplace or lose files, which means you no longer have to spend money — or time — hunting them down and recreating them. Not only that, but digital forms and reports can be more easily searched, stored and shared, which will also save you money and time.



King Data


But when you rely on paper, it’s actually what you don’t know — not how much money or time you lose — that really has the potential to ruin you. Buried in paper forms and reports is a treasure trove of unanalyzable data, which, if it could just be understood and leveraged, would radically what you know about your company, therefore altering how you do business.


While it’s true that big data hasn’t been the panacea for humanity’s ills that many expected it to be, it still holds vast pragmatic weight when collected and analyzed properly. Curious whether or not a crane’s daily inspection checklist might predict future hydraulic failure? Unless that daily inspection form is digitized, you’ll never know. Need to uncover exactly why one region's spend on fuel is twice that of another's? Better hope you have some data on that.


Don’t be last one to jump on the post-paper bandwagon. Paper forms are not the solution they once were. Besides costing you valuable money and time, they’re keeping you from harnessing big data, one of the most powerful tools of the 21st century.


To find out more about how GearJot’s Forms can save you time and money, while also getting you the data you need to succeed in the 21st century, schedule a free, live demo today.