On average, 15% of organizations' revenues involve creating, managing, and distributing documents. The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year. And, to top it off, 45% of the paper printed in offices ends up in the trash by the end of the day.
Before we moved to a 100% paperless company, here is how documents were approved/signed in our company:
Céline, our office manager, received a document by email.
She printed it.
She walked to a manager's office to request a signature.
She either interrupted the manager to sign the document directly, or she had to come back later.
She went back to her office and scanned the document.
Then the document had to be uploaded in our document management system.
Finally, she had to find the requestor email and send the PDF.
For centuries, paper has been the primary source of communication. But, now, it has become more of a liability than an aid. When you sum it all, we lose, on average, 33 minutes of work per document, not factoring the time to buy paper and the printers to maintain.
Becoming a paperless company is not only good for the environment, but it also boosts our efficiency, wastes fewer resources, and fastens the processing of documents.
Now, the same signature request is possible in 2 minutes on average, and a maximum of 5 clicks:
Céline forwards the email to the document gateway.
She drags & drops areas that should be filled by the manager, and clicks "Send".
The manager can complete the document and sign in one click.
The rest is automated: the manager is followed-up if he forgets to sign a document, indexing the final PDF in the document management system, and sending the document to requestors. The manager can even sign the document from his mobile, which usually speeds up the process for emergencies.
Processing Incoming Letters
To organize our inflow of documents we use Odoo's Documents app. This application has all the tools we need to process documents in batches: email gateway, pre-configured mass actions, PDF splitter, previews, etc.
Every morning, we push all processing documents in Odoo's document management system. We could upload documents manually, but most of the time, we use the email gateway. Every time an email forwards to the email addresses of the gateway, Odoo will create a document for each attachment. So, we send everything on that platform: emails containing documents to process, or scanned letters. (modern scanners allow to send the scanned documents by email)
To define new email addresses for your inbox, we use the menu Configuration > Emails & Links from the Documents app. By default, two email addresses are defined: email@example.com for the primary inbox, and firstname.lastname@example.org for documents to be processed by the accounting and finance department, such as vendor bills. We recommend assigning an email address for each department that handles incoming documents.
The good news is that there is nothing technical to set up if you use Odoo online! We just set up a new email in the interface, and it works right away—no need to configure an email server.