An MH Equipment workers looks at a Zebra rugged tablet that he's holding on the loading dock
By Your Edge Blog Team | July 03, 2019

These Four Organizations are Proof That It Is Possible to Go Fully Paperless

Though the principal they followed was the same – digitalize and mobilize workflows – their approach to achieving their goals was highly tailored to their operations and industries.

Last week, Bob Ashenbrenner addressed some of the reasons why organizations are struggling to go fully paperless, despite the abundance of technology solutions available today. He even recommended a step-by-step guide that can help those who “walk and work” move to a completely paperless workflow. But we thought you might also find it helpful to hear how companies like yours were able to ditch pen-and-paper once and for all. Check out these stories:

Success Story #1: Forklift Equipment Dealer and Service Provider

Although MH Equipment has grown from a small company of 50 employees into an organization composed of multiple dealerships with over 800 employees and 27 servicing locations throughout 10 states, this heavy equipment sales and service leader has not been quick to adopt technology just for technology’s sake. Over the years, they have reviewed electronic solutions but did not find one that seemed to have all the efficiencies that would justify the investment.

And like many companies referenced in the VDC study, MH Equipment chose to generate and manage every single work order for its full-service, material-handling equipment service business on paper for nearly 65 years.  Field technicians had to either submit completed work orders, inspection forms, and timecards via mail or physically walk them into the office for processing. Neither option was efficient, and paper-based documentation and records management had several downfalls. Work orders could be hard to read and frequently got very dirty.  Typing data into the business system from paper created opportunities for errors. Handling, processing, and storing mounds of paper created many inefficiencies and challenges.  And technicians handling paperwork manually or through the mail added no value to the transaction; rather, they caused delays and extra expense.  As their business continued to boom, MH Equipment revisited their mobile technology options. They needed an effective, cost-efficient way to minimize the administrative burden on its field-based teams so they could remain focused on the company’s priority: customer service.

After partnering with the right mobility solution provider to design and deploy a custom-built mobility solution, MH Equipment found it quite painless to become a completely paperless business, with all “clipboard” processes now completed electronically.

Download the case study to read more about the various business challenges that MH Equipment was able to overcome once it went paperless with a Zebra rugged tablet solution.


Success Story #2: Transportadora De Gas Del Sur (TGS) Goes Paperless with Zebra Fully Rugged Tablets

As Gabriel Catanzaro, gas products and measurements Leader at TGS, tells it: Maintenance technicians at this Argentine energy company used to manually print, complete and submit every work order. Loading-dock technicians would have to print spreadsheets detailing each truck’s planned delivery schedule and inventory and then manually input their vehicle and inventory inspection results along with any subsequent logistics actions. It was a very slow and tedious process. “Now, these technicians simply connect to the service orders via SAP and complete the digital forms in their entirety on the spot using the tablet” that TGS selected after mapping out and initiating a very aggressive plan to transition to fully paperless operations. The Zebra rugged tablets at the core of this paperless solution enabled TGS’ maintenance technicians to become more resourceful in the field almost immediately. For example, the administrative work that was previously consuming 50 percent of technicians’ time, and requiring significant back-office resources, are now completed in a matter of minutes, in real time, on the tablets. They aren’t even finished with their migration to fully paperless workflows in every department yet.

However, the right “rugged mobile computing technologies make it very easy for large organizations such as TGS to transition to completely paperless operations without disrupting their day-to-day operations in the process. Once their mobility solution is fully online in all departments, TGS managers will have the real-time insights they need to coordinate and execute a number of complex logistical activities in a more time- and cost-efficient manner. At the same time, frontline workers will have the tools they need to fulfill more service orders each day.”

Download the case study to learn more about TGS’ experience going paperless.

A TGS worker looks at a Zebra rugged tablet while servicing a piece of equipment in the field


Success Story #3: Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Inspectors Go Fully Paperless with Zebra’s HazLoc-Certified Rugged Tablets

Louisiana’s state inspectors are responsible for routinely monitoring gas stations, refineries, chemical plants, underground wells, landfills and other sites where environmental quality protections are mandated. They are also dispatched to “ground zero” after fires, spills and other emergencies where there’s often an elevated presence of hazardous material. The State agency wanted to transition its field team to a fully paperless operating environment, and Zebra’s C1D2-certified Windows® tablets were the only mobile computers in their class that could safely be used in vehicle as well as in-hand at inspection sites where combustible gasses and flames are present. As explained in the release: “Louisiana’s inspectors spend their days executing a comprehensive environmental fortification program that protects the public’s health, safety and welfare. That is why we worked closely with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to ensure our rugged tablet-based solutions provide both a reliable computing platform and a scalable solution to support their growing inspection demands.”


Success Story #4: Zebra Rugged Tablets Exclusively Chosen for Paperless Factory Initiative at Top Auto Manufacturer

We are currently working with a leading German automotive manufacturer on a multi-million-dollar Industry 4.0 initiative that, when complete, will result in the creation of several paperless factories in eight countries. With just one rugged tablet, this manufacturer is replacing more than 240 printed sheets of paper per cart, per day, with an automated, real-time flow of data throughout each plant. Production line workers are now able to instantly search and retrieve vehicle component manuals and assembly instructions using the rugged tablets. The resulting increase in productivity and factory uptime has enabled the customer to improve production output, and that translates directly into bottom line success. At the same time, the global auto leader is saving millions of dollars in paper, ink, printers and overall printer maintenance. “The flexibility provided by Zebra rugged tablets, and our technology’s interoperability with a host of Industry 4.0 architectures, will enable them to evolve their business process design and maintain their competitive edge as customer demands rise. It also proves the business case for certain mobility frameworks within smart factory environments,” explained a spokesman in the initial project announcement.

The common denominator between all of these “paperless” success stories? The collaborative partnerships that enabled each organization to closely evaluate their individual challenges and develop/deploy a customized mobility solution that offers the flexibility and scalability required to go paperless within their resource parameters, without issue.  Just remember: You do not have to go all-in, all at once when digitalizing your business. In fact, we strongly advocate for a division-by-division or workflow-based approach to mobility to ease your workers into the digital-only world. The last thing you want to do is become destructive; that can hurt both your workers’ productivity and your customers.  But, if you don’t become disruptive to your own legacy processes, it’s likely one of your competitors will!

Field Operations, Public Sector, Manufacturing, Warehouse and Distribution, Transportation and Logistics, Retail, Healthcare,
Zebra’s “Your Edge” Blog Team
Zebra’s “Your Edge” Blog Team

The “Your Edge” Blog Team is comprised of content curators and editors from Zebra’s Global PR, Thought Leadership and Advocacy team. Our goal is to connect you with the industry experts best-versed on the issues, trends and solutions that impact your business. We will collectively deliver critical news analysis, exclusive insights on the state of your industry, and guidance on how your organization can leverage a number of different proven technology platforms and strategies to capture your edge.

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