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The hidden cost of paper

The true cost of paper for Food & Beverage Distributors

Paper records are convenient, easy to produce and the cost of using paper daily is relatively cheap. Alongside these reasons, food & beverage distributors have always relied on paper-based systems to organise finances, manage customer accounts, keep track of payments and invoices, and provide Proof-of-Delivery reports along with numerous other processes.

With paper being cheap, traditional and therefore convenient, it’s not surprising that most businesses still rely on paper-based processing to manage most aspects of their operations.

And why should they change now?

Convenience and competence are 2 key factors for why paper is still a key part of operational processing, despite there are now hundreds of digital alternatives to choose from.

The not so hidden cost of paper, is the investment in the paper itself. On a daily basis, the cost is low and manageable, even if a business works along tight profit margins - However, when businesses scale, and a customer base begins to increase, the once easily manageable paper processing can quickly build resulting in additional expenses that businesses do not expect. Factor in duplication of efforts, manual error and subsequent corrections, and these seemingly low costs quickly rise and businesses rarely notice.

Despite this, paper continues to be used - These costs can simply be seen as a necessary part of running a business, or the costs are still not noticeably impacting profits enough to encourage a switch over to an alternative system.

However, there is then the hidden, and perhaps true cost of paper.

The true cost of paper

The true cost of paper is the investment that goes into the continued use of predominantly manual, paper-based ways of running a business.

At the end of the day, all reports from that day from each driver and each route need to be processed. This relies on competent, hard-working administrative teams to ensure records are kept tidy, organised and everything recorded is correct.

If paper has been lost, it needs to be re-created, and the same goes to mis-input information regarding delivery totals, stock levels, products, prices, and so on. The chance of manual-error means office teams will always need to review and double-check all reports coming in.

These efforts are magnified as the number of sales made, daily deliveries completed and customers you have all increase.

The true cost of paper isn’t the paper itself, but the avoidable investment and time spent handling additional, and possibly avoidable administrative tasks to keep up with a growing business.

Removing the need to rely on paper to organise the business and record daily operations doesn’t just save the actual cost of paper, it saves businesses from the hidden time and costs managing the paperwork that is then produced.

If you could implement a system that takes care of even 50% of these administrative tasks, then their investment in the business could be re-invested elsewhere, manual error could be massively reduced and your business would cut costs dramatically, which would either increase profits or open up more productive investments.

Paper records are convenient for customers, and certain customers may always rely on your drivers providing paper copies of Proof of Deliveries and invoices. Similarly, they can be a convenient and easy choice for businesses who are simply used to paper-based systems.

The true costs of paper can easily go under the radar, but build quickly as the business scales, reducing profits, and placing additional strain on your teams, resulting in a business that is not given the chance to grow as effectively as possible.

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