The quest for the paperless or ‘less paper’ office is moving closer but is still some years off, according to an industry expert.
Tom Flockhart, founder and managing director of award-winning Capital Document Solutions, which has operations in Aberdeen, Inverness and Shetland, said the increased levels of information being distributed within and outwith businesses and organisations made the paperless office a pipedream for the vast majority of companies at this moment in time.
He said: “We often hear about the advent of the ‘paperless office’ and while progress towards this goal, first discussed in the mid-1970s, is slow it is nevertheless happening.
“Today’s technological innovation and multifunctional devices (MFDs), with full document scanning capability, enable organisations to simply convert hard documents into digital format for secure, paperless distribution, storage and retrieval. This process also enables easier and speedier information exchange.
“Greater environmental awareness is now also having a positive impact on people’s working practices. In a similar way to us all being conscious of our vehicles’ fuel consumption, emissions and operating costs, we are all becoming more responsible for our use of office equipment and reducing our dependence on, and use of, paper.
“However, in spite of this, we are all bombarded with an ever increasing mountain of emails and other documentation – thanks to the explosion in information readily available – and many of us still like to work on hard copy documents, in preference to ‘off the screen’.
“While the percentage of information that we now commit to paper may be reducing, the paper consumption in offices throughout the UK is still on the increase due to this information explosion.
“So, after more than 40 years in the office equipment industry, I don’t see us achieving the ‘paperless office’ in my lifetime; more the ‘less paper’ office.”
Capital, which also has offices in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, acquired Inverness-based Highland Office Equipment at the beginning of the year, giving it a substantial presence across the Highlands & Islands.
Established in 1979, Capital delivers an extensive range of office equipment and document solutions, including copiers, printers, scanners and print management software with comprehensive national maintenance and training support.
The business, which has a staff of 200, will record turnover in excess of £20m for its year-end later this year. Clients include government agencies, oil and gas companies and independent schools as well as voluntary sector organisations.
In October 2012, Capital was awarded the Best Service Award at the Government Opportunities (GO) Awards Scotland in recognition of the high level and quality of its services to end users in the Scottish public sector.