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Electronic Document Distribution Takes Hold

Posted on December 15th, 2015 by Dr. Fun!

eddPaper, still the most prevalent means of communication in business use today, is not always the most effective way to share information across an enterprise, and it is certainly not the most friendly to the environment.

Electronic document distribution is quickly becoming the fastest, most cost-effective and environmentally friendly means of business communication, both within and between businesses and public sector organizations such as the city of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

The workgroup concept has also been instrumental in bringing electronic document distribution to business offices. To be productive, teams of workers need to share information in a timely manner. Groupware can facilitate the rapid flow of information among business teams: a sales representative distributing purchase orders; a manager sending out an interesting magazine story; an engineer sending a drawing; or, a co-worker distributing a map to an off-site meeting location.

Although the electronic communications market is exploding, millions of PC users still receive a lot of paper-based information that they need to share with colleagues. In fact, over 90 billion documents were created in 1992 and more than one trillion copies of those documents were made — an average of 11 copies per document — according to a 1993 Copier Report by Giga Information Group (formerly BIS Strategic Decisions).

Companies using electronic methods of communication not only improve their communications processes, they also reduce the cost of outside printing, photocopying and distribution. According to Giga, printing and copying expenses typically account for between six and 12 per cent of an average company’s revenue.

Most businesses do not realize how much money they are wasting by printing hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of documents in anticipation of demand, only to see many of these copies gathering dust on desks and in warehouses a year later. While sharing documents with others is necessary, photocopying and distributing paper copies are tedious and time-consuming tasks, especially when the document is long or the distribution list extensive. Distributing documents to clients or colleagues in other physical locations poses yet another issue: timeliness. By the time the document is printed and distributed, is it already out of date?

Instead of compose, print and distribute, many companies are embracing the concept of compose, distribute and then print as required. This concept takes full advantage of electronic composition, imaging and desktop publishing. It allows the sender the freedom to distribute to one or many thousands of recipients electronically, and only then, should the recipient require it, is the document printed.

Savings in time, printing costs, photocopying and physical distribution of copied documents is greatly reduced. Paper resources are saved and the critical element of communication is enhanced; information is distributed effectively.

An extension of this distribute and print concept has the document residing on a server that can be accessed by those who need it, when they need it. The original author completes the document, sends it to the server and then flags interested parties by e-mail telling them the document is ready, and it can be reviewed when they pull it off of the server to their desktop location.

Should a user require information on a specific topic or product, there is no need to leave the desk. All electronic documents can be listed in abstract form in an electronic library. If required, the user can pull the document up on screen, take out only the sections they require, add new information, compose a report or document and then re-send the information to the server or to the client, or to a coworker — even print the document locally as needs dictate.

With current scanner technology, existing printed documents can even be archived or embedded into electronic documents for distribution electronically.

The distribute and print concept allows users to print custom documents closest to the person who needs them. It is the most effective, flexible and secure method of document creation and distribution in use today, and it meets the needs of environmentally-conscious businesses and individuals, saving resources for tomorrow.

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