Paperless Office – First Steps

In April of last year, my company made its first strides into becoming paperless. We bought a document scanner, deep-sixed our fax machine, and eventually were able to eliminate one large file cabinet. It required coming up with reliable storage for electronic records, plus a redundant back-up system.

We chose the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M (‘M’ denotes Mac; Windows version also available), and it has become one of my favorite tools, much like impact drivers and laser levels. The scanner has too many features to list here, but rest assured it works fast, will scan in black-and-white, greyscale, and color. You can load up to 50 sheets at once and save the entire batch as one PDF file. The content can be made searchable (highly recommended), and stored anywhere you wish. Another great feature is the full duplex — it scans both the front and back simultaneously. What do we scan? Nearly everything: receipts, tax filings, workers’ compensation reports, correspondence, etc.

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500MAs an aside, now that we have a fast and capable scanner, why keep the fax machine? We switched to an email-based system, so all faxes are received and sent via email. No more paper jams, expensive toner cartridges, or busy signals. We only print when we really need to, which isn’t very often.

As a result of these efforts, we now have for sale sold a large 4 drawer file cabinet! It is amazing how much paper we were able to eliminate. However, there is one caveat: storing so many important documents electronically requires a redundant and reliable way of doing so. This is an important tool for any business, and I will cover it in a separate post. Stay tuned!

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