What every distributor should know about getting rid of paper

The promotional industry was one originally built on a whole lot of paper. Catalogs, presentations, purchase order, invoices, supplier bills, job jackets – all paper.  Many desks at promotional products companies still look like we’re living in that era – covered in paper.

When we launched commonsku, it was with a vision of a paperless-world. How do we get information into the hands of whomever needs it wherever they need it, all distributed through the cloud and accessible from anywhere. How do you build workflows so that you could hand off process without having to pass job jackets? How you do invoicing and billing without having to print, mail or file?

We digitized every step, from product search, through to presentation, sales order and invoicing. Paper disappeared from everyone’s desks and all of a sudden we no longer needed banks of filing cabinets and shelves of boxed files.

The interesting side effect to removing paper was that it opened up a new world of possibilities for office design. You can literally tear down the walls and open up your work environment:

  • No more huge filing cabinets loaded with paper
  • No more giant, bulky desks for mass storage
  • No more stacks and stacks (and stacks) of catalogs
  • No more heavy-duty (and ugly!) boxes overflowing with old orders

Turn that reclaimed space into a lounge for employees. Or into a casual meeting space for clients.

In the promotional products industry the biggest objection may come from accounting. We have yet to completely tackle paperless accounting, but we are on our way. With being able to send invoices digitally and built in credit card integrations to receive payments. Accounting information can pass seamlessly between programs with our Xero and Quickbooks online integrations.

Unfortunately, some suppliers still fax (*sigh*) and send a lot of bills in the mail.  But, with so many new digital tools available, the entire industry should be moving away from printing and mailing invoices, bills, and checks.

As we continue to connect the promotional products industry, we will continue to eliminate paper. We envision a world where paper is no longer a requirement to run your business. You will be free to re-imagine your work space. You can decide if that should be an office, a home office, or the local coffee shop.

Action Item: Review your paperwork processes and make a list of what can go paperless.


commonsku helps companies streamline their workflow, inspire their team, impress their clients, and grow their business through our software and educational resources. Interested in learning more? For ideas on how to run your business, subscribe to our blog to receive our newsletter and our podcast. To check out our effortless workflow solution, click here to start your free trial today or email us for more information. 

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