Digitizing documents to reduce paper waste

March 17, 2023

17 March 2023

Digitizing documents to reduce paper waste

In recent years, the issue of digitization has become increasingly important to society in general and the business world in particular.

This competitive push toward digitization certainly generates social benefits, including reducing CO2 emissions and energy waste due to the consumption of physical raw materials, decreasing the amount of waste products, and aligning with national and international environmental goals.
But making an effort in the direction of digitization automatically implies moving in the direction of sustainability, which also has many economic benefits for companies: a company that invests in sustainability promotes its own growth, moves toward reducing overhead costs, and can leverage the importance attached to the issue to differentiate itself from its competitors.
In this context, many companies active in the supply chain and logistics market are looking for solutions to reduce the negative impact of their operations on the environment. One of the most effective solutions is document digitization, which can decrease paper consumption in the company.
Let's look at how companies can move from paper-based operations to full digitization, thus becoming more efficient and realizing the goals of sustainable logistics.


How to avoid paper waste?

A widespread problem in logistics companies is that customer service consumes too much paper to print the documents needed for data entry.
Of course, there are many types of logistics documents invested by data entry processes: invoices, purchase orders, packing lists, bills of lading, customs declarations, pickup requests, air bills, quality certifications, proofs of delivery, and many others.
An effective solution to address this problem is to make strategic decisions about document management, moving in the direction of digitization.
In the context of document management, document dematerialization and digitization are two words that are often used synonymously. In reality, they are not really equivalent.
Digitization is the transformation process that includes dematerialization.
Dematerialization mainly concerns paper documents, not the entire process: dematerialization means the process that leads to the creation of a digital document that replaces the paper original. 

But there is no digitization without dematerialization.

Document dematerialization is a very useful approach to reducing paper consumption in the company. Basically, it involves completely eliminating the use of paper in electronic document management: all data and information should be available in digital format.
For example, instead of printing invoices or contracts, companies can create and send these documents digitally. In this way, the use of paper is avoided and the costs associated with paper management are reduced. Document dematerialization can also improve document management, since digital documents can be easily stored and retrieved. In addition, it can have a positive impact on a company's image by demonstrating a commitment to the environment and sustainability. Finally, document dematerialization is just one aspect to consider in the fight against paper waste: sustainable logistics can help reduce the environmental impact of transportation, while adopting paper reduction policies can help create a more sustainable and responsible work environment.


Digital logistics and paperless companies

Document digitization is not only a sustainable solution, but also a way to increase business efficiency and productivity.
Logistics and supply chain processes require huge volumes of communication between customers, suppliers, shippers and carriers, and operations are often manual and paper-based.
According to the National Research Council in Turin, Italy's companies consume 1.2 million tons of paper each year. This number rises dramatically in the United States, where more than 30 billion paper documents are copied and printed each year1.
A McKinsey analysis indicates that the bill of lading accounts for between 10% and 30% of total business documentation costs. Adopting an electronic bill of lading could save $6.5 billion in direct costs and enable between $30 billion and $40 billion in new global trade, while improving supply chain resilience2.

Thus, there appears to be a growing need to automate the extraction of data from physical documents. To address this, many organizations are turning to innovative technologies to streamline the process.
Automated document reading and data entry is one such technology that is revolutionizing the way companies manage their documents.
With the use of tools such as Wenda AI Document Processing, companies can automatically extract and normalize all relevant data from logistics and transportation documents and then enter it directly into their systems.
By automating document processing, companies can streamline workflows, also reduce the risk of errors, increase data accuracy, and refocus employees on more strategic and higher value-added activities.
In addition, costs associated with paper management, such as printing, filing and shipping, can be eliminated, which can be a significant expense item for companies.

Moreover, document dematerialization can reduce document processing time and improve document tracking, thereby fostering collaboration between departments and reducing the risk of errors. For example, electronic invoices can be sent and received instantaneously, without the risk of loss or delayed delivery. Or, document and back-office activities related to logistics can be greatly streamlined by simplifying data entry from paper documents to digital business systems.

From a business perspective, then, reducing paper consumption and adopting digital logistics can thus result in significant benefits, including reduced costs and time for document management, increased efficiency and productivity, and improved quality of service delivery. In addition, the adoption of sustainable logistics can improve a company's image, fostering both greater trust and loyalty among customers-who increasingly expect companies to behave in an eco-responsible, sustainability-oriented and environmentally conscious manner-and the spread of sustainable and cost-effective best practices.



In conclusion, document digitization represents an opportunity to decrease paper used in the company, reduce environmental impact and improve efficiency and productivity. The use of tools such as Wenda AI Document Processing can enable companies to reduce costs associated with paper management, save time previously spent on repetitive tasks, improve document tracking, and increase the efficiency and quality of services offered. Finally, adopting sustainable logistics can improve brand perception and foster greater customer loyalty.




1. Omdia, Market Landscape: Intelligent Document Processing

2. The multi-billion-dollar paper jam