Rick Stoor, MD of Templa, explains how it can happen and save you a great deal of time and frustration into the bargain.
In the low margin, admin-heavy world that is contract cleaning, eliminating paper-based administration can give you a real competitive edge. Not just by saving on paper purchase, although that obviously plays a small part, but by reducing the overall amount of time spent on administration and the resource that goes with it - filing cabinets, office space and your admin headcount itself. It goes without saying that because admin also happens out in the field, any paperless solution you implement will also streamline that part of your business too.
Just imagine a scenario where key procedures such as new contract set-up, staff onboarding, timesheets, staff communication, ordering of materials or consumables, quality auditing, helpdesk, client billing, and supplier payment are all managed electronically, with no requirement to print. Well there’s no need to imagine. It’s all very much within reach for cleaning/FM contractors.
The key steps in developing a paperless office are: data and document creation; data and document storage; document sharing; document management (updating) and the processing of data for transactions. Investing in an electronic system that covers all these steps is your objective.
“Hang on a minute”, I hear you say. “I’ve already gone paperless by scanning documents, storing them on my network and emailing them around for others to view and action”. But ask yourself these three questions.
Or to put it another way: how do you avoid constantly re-keying data from one system to another to initiate and authorise key business processes and how do you truly integrate your field team into the management system?
The answer is that it is very difficult without specific technology that can assist with the creation, storage, access and distribution of documents across your business and automate decision approval. With TemplaCMS that functionality is provided by Document Management and Workflow, two modules that integrate dynamically across the entire contract management system.
Document Management allows your staff to link their existing documents, filed in the company’s network, to the major records and transactions within the contract management system. For example, RAMS or health and safety documents could be linked to the TemplaCMS client site record, whilst application forms and scanned Right to Work documents could be linked to the TemplaCMS employee record. To add further seamless integration, emails can be filed away automatically using drag ‘n’ drop from an Outlook folder and then stored against the relevant TemplaCMS record or transaction. Using MS Word templates, staff can also generate outbound letters and emails, individually or part of a volume mail-merge facility, populating them directly with data from records held on the contract management system. This is particularly useful for sending new employees their welcome letters or new enrolees their workplace pension starter packs. After distribution, the system automatically files the newly created documents against the relevant record.
Workflow is fully integrated across all TemplaCMS modules and enables the configuration and automation of decision and approval processes that are normally paper or e-mail based. Workflow generates action and authorisation requests automatically and enables electronic sign-off, with the relevant staff alerted to confirm actions have happened.
Extending document management further with the Advanced Forms module allows staff to use ‘intelligent’ electronic forms, user-defined to your company’s own requirements, to create and amend records. For example, your field managers can complete a new starter form on their mobile device whilst on site with a new employee, scanning in a photo and Right to Work documents, before synchronising the form to your office or cloud-based server, where the form will be received and worked on by HR and Payroll staff before finally being ‘accepted’ and populating the central database.
The three key benefits of this paper-free system are that you significantly reduce the workload of your office admin team and greatly speed up the processing of documents, whilst simultaneously freeing up your field managers to spend more time focusing on staff and clients. Spin-off benefits are that your carbon footprint is reduced and your disaster recovery plan suddenly becomes a lot simpler. Your company will become a more efficient and potentially more competitive organisation, able to grow revenue without the prospect of a corresponding growth in admin, people and the paper mountain.