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Why retailers and manufacturers need a digital document management system

by Kristen Craft, Senior Marketing Director, Retail and Manufacturing


The benefits of digital document management within the hybrid work environment.

Read time: 4 minutes

The way we work has changed. By 2025, 36.2 million American employees are expected to work remotely.¹ Staying competitive and keeping employees actively engaged and productive requires making data easily accessible from connected devices anytime, anywhere. But it's not just about the data itself — employees need access to documents, and digital documents make that possible.

That's where a digital document management system comes in.

What is a document management system?

A digital document management system (DMS) allows businesses to centrally house, organize, and track documents while providing users with security, control, audit trails, and seamless search and retrieval capabilities.

Why do you need a digital document management system (DMS)?

Digital documents have become essential to keep businesses moving forward and help hybrid workers remain productive.

A digital document management system:

  • Gives businesses a competitive advantage

  • Helps organizations manage and secure their digital documents

  • Improves efficiency and enhances collaboration

  • Offers seamless information sharing between remote and on-site staff

Discover how our seamless integration of the DocuWare workflow solution with the Philadelphia Eagles' AP line of business quickly and efficiently enables the organization to process its invoices.

What are the benefits of using a digital document management system?

Get more done quickly

A DMS eliminates the need to manually transport and retrieve paper documents, allowing team members to review and approve documents on-demand, expediting sales, accounts payable, and accounts receivable processes and workflows. Accelerating processes lets you quickly respond to customer, partner, or supplier inquiries, streamlining communications for specialized customer needs, especially those that require escalation.

Empower hybrid and borderless work

Tying workflows to traditional office environments is no longer practical. A DMS turns any airport lounge, coffee shop, room in your house, or even a car into a dynamic workplace, making your business more adaptable to sudden events and disruptions. Unforeseen business disruptions, such as a significant weather event, can lead to precious time lost in responding to customers and vendors.

Enhance employee productivity

Regardless of where they’re working, employees can easily avoid downtime when documents are organized, indexed, and digitally accessible.

Whether viewing, making revisions, or advancing an approval process, everyone can easily access and collaborate on centrally stored documents. Moreover, cloud document management systems with automated workflow capabilities can enhance collaboration and minimize time spent working with or sharing documents.

Increase document security

Digital document management typically allows you to restrict access to only authorized individuals, and the level of security varies. For example, free applications like Google Docs™ may work for personal use but, unfortunately, don’t provide the protection your business needs.

A system like DocuWare is ideal for businesses and delivers more robust security by providing:

  • Tracking and visibility with detailed activity logs and reporting functionality that supports compliance requirements

  • Advanced access and permission controls

  • Encryption protection to help secure documents and information

  • Virus monitoring, malware mitigation, and protection

Easily scale and integrate

Integration and scalability are critical factors for many businesses when evaluating document management systems.

A digital DMS often allows you to integrate with other helpful tools you use daily, offering scalability to support growth and changing business needs.

Elevate the decision-making process

A DMS offers some form of data capture. Point-and-click field data capture, for example, can accelerate how quickly you input documents into the system. Automated methods like smart integration capture data from structured forms to speed up input further.

Integrations with other applications introduce opportunities to turn the data on your documents into advanced business intelligence, minimizing the risk of errors, improving processes, and reducing bottlenecks.

Enable greater document accessibility

Digital document management makes information more accessible in a highly secure way. For example, a customer service team member can simultaneously view the same document as an employee in your accounting department, enabling both employees to complete their tasks with access rights as per their given authorization. When done, the document remains in the exact location, with version control capabilities, and is ready to be accessed by the team member.

Minimize wait times and enhance customer experience

Digital document management makes it easier to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Customer service reps can find relevant documents faster while speaking with the customer. Reducing the friction of wait times, callbacks, and missing data elevates the quality of service you can provide. And we know that quality customer service means repeat business and more referrals, translating into revenue and profit.

Reduce document storage costs

Storing paper gets costly, and real estate is expensive, which means every file cabinet has an ongoing storage cost beyond its original expense. Offsite storage as part of your document lifecycle management or protection comes with a hefty price tag.

Often, digital documents are the original files and, in most cases, are legally valid and equal to originals. You can store and back up millions of documents on hard drives, and they could share the same small space in an on-site environment.

And if you opt for cloud document management, there isn’t any on-site infrastructure, reducing traditional document storage costs. Plus, most service level agreements (SLAs) with cloud document management providers include redundancies, so there’s no need for backups like an on-premises document management system.

Which digital document management system is right for you?

When considering a digital document management system, you have many options. Sure, free systems can meet short-term needs. However, complementary solutions don’t offer many features and cannot integrate with other systems.

Here are five questions you may want to ask when evaluating a sustainable document management system:

  1. Will this system meet my primary needs?

  2. Will this system add or reduce steps to a process?

  3. Will this system meet my security needs?

  4. Will this system organize and integrate my documents or create additional silos?

  5. What kind of workflows will this document management system offer?

Though you’re sure to have additional questions and unique business considerations, an experienced digital document management system provider with deep industry knowledge can help. Please feel free to contact one of our experts to help guide your journey to finding the best solution for your business.

Learn more about business process management, document management, or additional ways Ricoh can help your organization thrive in the age of Connected Commerce.

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Kristen has over 20 years of experience working in marketing, merchandising, and store operations roles for retailers, manufacturers, and brands, inspiring customers to ignite their businesses by turning TMI into ROI with digital services and solutions. Kristen has extensive experience in CPG, having previously directed product launches, experiential marketing and merchandising for Husqvarna Group, The Coca-Cola Company, Hanesbrands, and Lowe’s Home Improvement before joining Ricoh.

Kristen Craft

Senior Marketing Director, Retail and Manufacturing

Ricoh USA

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