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Tech driving today’s offices’ efficiency, productivity

The digital office has arrived. With the crush of information and communication available these days, offices are trying to become more efficient. Office technology, equipment and supply companies say the secret is helping these businesses better manage their paper and work flow.

“Obviously, we see a trend of offices going more to a somewhat paperless society by scanning digital documents, and we see more devices connected to their networks,” said Matt Lawson, director of marketing for R.J. Young in Jackson. “Multi-functional devices with scanning capabilities and document storage and retrieval are helping.”

He says these devices, while still in their infancy, are catching on across the area and will be more accepted in the coming months and years. With their use, offices have access to things they didn’t have not so long ago.

“We’re offering a new service to increase office efficiency through our new division, Image Works. We can go in and help businesses optimize their office equipment,” Lawson said. “We can tell them how much they’re spending — their true cost. For instance, they may have too many printers in one section of the office and need to streamline and re-locate some of them.”

Lawson says the new division, which was launched the first of the year, will allow R.J. Young to show clients the specifics of becoming more efficient. He predicts the business world will see more of this type of service in the future.

“We try to stay on the cusp of new technology and trends,” he added. “We’re aligned with different trade magazines, analysts and technology. We stay on top of it.”

The company is participating in a technology workshop in Memphis next month. Depending on how well it goes, it may offer similar workshops at some or all of its four Mississippi locations.

Barry McNair, vice president of sales and marketing for Mississippi Filing Systems, said the Jackson-based company for the past 18 years has dealt with businesses trying to find solutions to their paper problems. For the past year, however, they’re also heavily into helping with electronic files.

“We have a software system that allows us to scan, track and audit digital files,” he said. “Businesses mostly want to do that with e-mail and word documents in Microsoft Word and Excel or any kind of letter-writing documents. When we have conversations with customers, it’s to find out what they do with their paper; then we begin to think about electronic files.”

McNair says it’s important for offices to have electronic contingency plans along with paper plans. Mississippi Filing Systems has a Web site where businesses can store documents. “People do not want anything on their servers without a back-up plan,” he said. “In the future, it will be a combination of paper and electronic digital storage.”

He said the individual companies will control their documents but will need off-site storage, too.

All size companies need to be more efficient. The digital office is not just for large businesses, McNair says. “In some ways, it’s an easier transition for smaller businesses because they usually have just one person making the decisions,” he said, “and it’s at a price point they can afford.”

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.


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