Image_20120917-PaperPilesWriter Tony Kryzanowski, in his article in the September 2012 ProcessWest magazine, spoke about the growing trend towards digitization of information being a major contributor to reduced demand for paper. In a Pulp & Paper International magazine survey of young adults, only half believe paper is still necessary.

Ninety percent of respondents considered themselves “heavy” social media users. I don’t know about you but I can’t remember when I wrote my last letter on paper. Mr. Kryzanowski discusses several other interesting aspects of the paper industry in his article but let’s look at the part of it that addresses the move from paper to electronic versions of documents.

Is this the way documentation is going? I suspect it is becoming more and more digitized every day. We scan paper copy to create digitally formatted files and then catalogue these files so we can keep track of them. Our Electronic Document Management Systems give these documents a safe home and allow us to find them when needed. Does this process suffice as a solution to our not managing ‘paper’ files anymore? Sometimes we address certain ‘problems’ in isolation of the processes and procedures we should have in place. We sometimes find our attempts ‘to get out from under’ may not have been as successful as we had originally anticipated.

Computers definitely help us with our work in Document Control but many veterans in the field came from a society that worked with paper and hardcopy was their way to maintain a sense of familiarity with the documents. We became quite proficient using Word, Excel, Adobe or other desktop applications and continue using what we know well to manage the work we do controlling documents. Have we implemented ‘solutions’ that still require us to spend as much time as we did in the past when we worked with paper documents and lists when computers were not so ubiquitous in the office environment as they are today?

If you made the transition from paper to electronic documents, do you still manage them as paper documents? Stay tuned to find out what we can do to not have traditional systems ‘grind to a halt’.

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