Operational Costs

Organizations can save considerable amounts of operational costs by moving to electronic documentations instead of traditional paper-based work-flow. Printing, scanning, routing and archiving costs can be reduced by using electronic documents. In the first place, documents are created in text editors, and then printed out for hand signatures. Documents are routed after signing, using postal mail or other services. These papers are needed to be scanned later to inject back to the work-flow. Finally, these paper based documents are needed to be archived, and there is always a risk of damage. Document lost and recovery is also very big cost, as sometimes official papers are lost during this process, could get very costly to reproduce or replicate these. These are all costly operations; these costs can be prevented by moving to digital signatures.

Typical operational costs include the following. Suppose a company with 50,000 sheets of paper printed every year, below are the approximate costs incurred.


  • Printing Costs
  • The average cost of ink, toner, and paper amounts to 3 cents per page. If in a company 50,000 sheets are printed for signing purposes, it costs the company almost €1500 per year.


  • Routing Costs
  • After signing documents are required to be routed inside and outside the organization. If consider only 30% of the signed documentation needs some form of external routing by postal mail, shipping, couriering, and faxing. This cost is approximately more than €5000 per year.


  • Archiving Costs
  • It is mentioned above, if 50% of documents are archived digitally, while the other 50% is archived in the paper form. This cost also sums up to more than €5000 per year.


  • Scanning Costs
  • Signed documents need to be archived either digitally or in paper form. Documents that are to be digitally archived need to be scanned. If it is assumed that only 50% of the documents are archived digitally and require scanning, it costs approximately €6000.


  • Document Lost and Reproduction Costs
  • In a paper based work-flow it is a reality that documentation can be lost, misplaced, or damaged. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) 7-7.5% of all documents in an organization are lost. Of these lost documents, 80% are found and 20% are not, and therefore need to be reproduced. In the same study, PWC estimates the average costs in labour to find a misfiled document at €120 and average cost in labour to reproduce a lost document at €220. If only 5% is used as the percentage of documents lost. These costs also sum up more than €10,000 a year.


  • Indirect Costs
  • - Environmental costs of using paper 0.25 of a tree, 0.375 of a barrel of oil, and 75 pounds of carbon emissions per signer, per year.
    - Costs incurred by lost business and damage to organization's reputation.
    - Failure to realize the full potential of an organization's investment in its content management system.


      Above mentioned costs can be reduced by using a digital signature solution. Click here to signup free for PDF digital signatures.
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