Businesses in a variety of industries rely on triplicate forms. When you’re working remotely or out in the field, they can seem like an easy option. You need something that allows you to quickly present people with important information, whilst also getting to keep a copy for yourself. Unfortunately, carbon copy or NCR (carbonless) forms aren’t as efficient as you might assume or want them to be. They likely cost you more time and money than better alternatives, such as a custom business application. As well as eating into your budget, they could be preventing your business from being more productive and eco-friendly.
The Money Cost
On the face of it, the use of triplicate forms might not seem too expensive. Each form could cost only a few pence, although there are several factors that influence the price. If you want full colour printing or more information on your forms, you’re likely to pay more. A4 triplicate forms might run anywhere from 20p per set to 70-80p. The reality of it is that if your business uses a significant number of forms each day, you could be spending thousands of pounds every year.
Carbon copy forms can’t be ordered one at a time, either. You’re likely to buy them in batches of pads, which means you could be left waiting months to finish your last order before you’re able to make any changes. This might cause you to push back business improvement changes, or present customers with information that is out of date. It’s either that, or waste money by not using the forms you already bought.
However, it isn’t just the cost of the forms themselves that have an impact on your business. There are other vital factors to consider, such as how duplicate and triplicate forms affect productivity and efficiency.
The Time Cost
Carbon copy forms can be bought at low prices, although costs grow as your need for forms does. The expense that is likely more important, however, is the administrative time your business loses. Triplicate forms are slow and inefficient. They require you to spend time filling them out, securing signatures, filing them, and having them approved.
For many businesses with workers out in the field, the largest time drain is likely to be getting the forms back to the office. This could take as many as seven working days, slowing everything down. You need to keep things moving if you want your business to be as productive as possible, and inefficient forms won’t help you with that.
Delays caused by carbon copy forms can cost you more money than you think, pushing back payments and preventing your employees from being as productive as they could be. With the right tools, you can get your forms back to the office as soon as the job is finished. It takes just seconds to send forms using a custom app, so everyone back at the office knows what’s happening in the field in near real time.
The Cost to Your Business Reputation
There’s another hidden effect of your use of carbon copy forms: it could be impacting your business reputation. By using these forms, clients and business partners could regard your business as being behind the times. Delays in returning paperwork to the office means that your account managers won't be up to date with the latest situation and unable to answer your client's questions without searching for information. Additionally, it’s not a particularly eco-friendly practice, which is becoming a bigger concern for many businesses and consumers. Many forms today are carbonless, but how much paper is your business using each month?
Paper forms are easy to lose too, plus they can come out illegible or sustain damage, none of which will make your business look good. Even staff retention is affected by the use of carbon copy forms. Working for an inefficient company is frustrating, and 10% of employees have left a job due to technology inadequacies.
If triplicate forms are adversely affecting your business, what can you do about it? Choosing a more modern alternative addresses all of the issues that these outdated NCR forms cause. A customised business app is ideal for mobile work and reporting. Pre-formatted forms can be quickly filled out on a mobile device, signed and sent to the relevant people in much less time than it takes to deal with triplicate forms. You can turn days into minutes.
From £10 a month per device, Rugged Data can save you time and money. Your custom business app comes with branding, integration capabilities, and automatic syncing with your office. You could save your business and its reputation by switching to a smarter system.