There are many reasons why paperless initiatives fail. I think that to truly understand why they fail, we need to understand the difference between how companies use paper and how individuals use paper.
I am a big proponent of paperless delivery and paperless warehousing. I hate paper and wish that it would all go away.
With that said, I am not immune to paper. I have printers at my house and in my office. I have stacks of paper on my desk and paper in my file cabinets.
I should say that the stacks of paper on my desk are probably the reasons why I don’t like paper. I hate the way they are organized. I hate the way I must find them. I just hate it.
The fact is, people use paper differently for different reasons. When we talk about paper we use personally, we need to apply a different standard to that paper. We need to jot down notes. We need to highlight the way we are used to in school. We have been conditioned to expect paper to be the tangible proof that we are doing something.
As a customer, I may not care if I must sign a piece of paper to accept delivery. As the person responsible to deliver that product it means I have many documents to manage and return to the warehouse, at which point those documents become the burden of a warehouse employee.
When considering moving to paperless delivery and implementing paperless workflows in your warehouse, or even implementing a full-blown electronic proof of delivery system, we should realize that there is the right tool for the job.
There is no single solution that fits everyone, but that's the beauty of technology today. A single solution can be customized 10 ways from Sunday to make the paperless delivery a reality.