By Kyle Strang

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

It’s commonly understood that for a service-based organization like a utility, personnel and staffing costs represent one of the largest expenditures made each year. Any manual process such as distributing, completing, and entering paper work orders has a direct and indirect cost. Here, direct costs are in the form of labor, equipment and material to complete a task – and indirect costs in the form of productivity losses due to the need to decipher illegible handwriting or tracking down missing or incomplete information.

Paper Stack

Several years ago, a study by PriceWaterhouse estimated that 7.5% of all documents get lost and another 3% are misfiled. Ultimately, this can mean that approximately 10% of your paper documents aren’t where they’re supposed to be when you need them. Recently, research conducted on process critical forms by the Association for Information and Image Management identified the following:

“We asked respondents to estimate how much it costs them, per document or form, in printing, distribution, mailing, collection and sorting, prior to either scanning or paper-based processing. Eliminating 14 responses of over $75 per form (which may well be valid for certain very specialized applications or remote locations) the average cost per form is $4.56. The median (mid-point) is $2.00, but for 20% of respondents the cost per form is $10 or more.”

Based on our experience, it is quite common for a minimum of 3 employees to interact with a work order during its lifecycle. One to issue the work, one to complete the work, and one to enter the completed work into a CIS or work order system. Each of these employees carries a direct and indirect cost to the utility.

On top of labor, material and equipment costs, soft costs in the form of paper and toner help add to the cost of managing work order process.

Estimate Your Cost of Paper Work Orders

Based on several assumptions, the chart below will give you an idea of how much inefficiency in the paper work order process may be costing you.

Service Orders Cost

If your organization is interested in getting a better understanding of how much your paper work order process is costing and wondering if mobile work orders are right for your team, reach out to us via the Contact Us page. We’d be happy to discuss your current work and service order processes to see if we can help.


1AIIM Whitepaper: Process-Critical Forms and the Mobile Workforce – making the digital savings

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