Monday, June 9, 2008

Paperless or at least less paper

BusinessWeek recently reported (“The New Push to Get Rid of Paper,” 5/30/08) on a renewed effort to approach the long-wished for “paperless office,” noting that the term is now 33 years old.

Of course offices are anything but paperless. As the article notes:“According to RISI, a research firm that tracks forest products, in 1975 the average U.S. office worker used 62 pounds of paper a year. By 1999, that figure peaked at 143 pounds, but in 2006 it was still at 127 pounds.”.

But things may be changing, thanks to a public that is getting more used to receiving and viewing things on the screen. The article cites PNC Bank, 15% of whose customers now get PDF files rather than paper for account statements, up from 0% a few years ago. 80% of company internal reports are now published electronically, not on paper.

Among the interesting points cited in the report:
* One analyst “estimates that companies will spend about $8 billion this year on paper alone.”
* One company thought it “had 150 fax machines, but a detailed search turned up 1,000, many of which were rarely used.”
* “Researchers at Xerox found that about half of the documents printed in a typical office are thrown away within 24 hours.”

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