Paper: Every office uses it. Business cards, invoices, reports and receipts, our offices are clogged with paper. Today, the average American uses nearly 6 trees 40 feet tall every year (source)! But those paper forms are vital to your business. They collect important data. Sure they’re slow, cumbersome, and easy to lose, but you don’t have any other option…right?
Nope you have the opportunity to save time, money, and even trees. Smartphones and tablets have the power to expand your data and help your office go green. From construction to retail, businesses are embracing mobile apps not only to help the environment, but also for their bottom line.
First, ask yourself this: How many pieces of paper do you use a day for forms? Let’s say you’re an HVAC company with five mobile workers. Each job requires them to fill out a 3 part invoice for your customer. If they do five jobs a day, that’s 75 sheets of paper. If they work 300 days a year? Your office is looking at 22,500 pieces of paper and one unhappy Lorax.
But wait, we’re not finished! Think of all the customers who misplace their invoice and want a second copy. Or the number of forms that get damaged and need to be redone. At that moment, it’s only one form, but that number grows over time. This doesn’t even calculate the expense of printers and ink that cost not only your business, but the environment.
This use of resources affects more than the environment: it affects your bottom line. Collecting information on paper is not only resource heavy, but a slow and inefficient process. Someone working in the field could take hours or days to bring a form back to your office. Add on the extra time it takes to manually enter the information into your database, and the process can stretch from minutes into days.
Mobile apps give you data in real time. Once the form is submitted, it goes straight to the cloud for instant access. With backend integration, that data can go straight into your database. That’s right, no more data entry. Ever.
Even better, mobile apps give you better quality data. No longer will you have to squint at illegible scrawl, your forms will be perfectly typed. Not good at doing math? Mobile apps will do calculations for you. Make sure you inspect the right equipment with a barcode scanner. Mobile apps give you a higher quality of data than paper ever could.
Going mobile also allows you to expand your data further. Capture before and after photos for your client to see your work. Or, use GPS to confirm your truck’s deliver their goods. Before, this information was cumbersome with paper, now it takes just a moment with your mobile device.
But do mobile apps require investments in new equipment? Not necessarily. Many apps work across platforms including iOS, Android, Blackberry and even Windows. As more people have smartphones, mobile apps will let you harness the tech you already have. Not only will this mean less wear and tear on the planet, but also on your bottom line.
In this day and age, we all have to do our parts in saving our planet. When it comes to data collection, you can go green and see benefits to your business. With mobile apps, it pays to go green.
Bio: Katie is a Content Strategist for Canvas, a SaaS company helping businesses more efficiently collect information via mobile apps. You can find more of her work at www.gocanvas.com