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Ongoing market pressures have companies continuously searching for ways to improve corporate performance. These forces often result in companies having to do more with less. Companies, however, should focus on how they can optimize non-core processes to increase revenue and decrease costs.

An easy place to start is your document-related workflows, which eat away at knowledge workers’ efficiency, amounting to a loss of 21.3% in an organization’s total productivity. This equals approximately $20,000 per worker annually.

Despite these findings, many companies still rely heavily on traditional solutions or lack document management and are reluctant to change, even though there is an upside opportunity. Corporate change—no matter how big or small—does not happen overnight, but there are a few steps outlined below that you can take to drive improvements.

Step 1: Start by getting feedback from employees to determine what document-related tasks distract them from focusing on their core responsibilities. While gathering this information, it is imperative to ask what processes they follow today, what technology—if any—is being leveraged and who is responsible for completing the tasks and in what timeframe. Simultaneously, conduct your own examination to spot overlooked areas of opportunity.

Once you have a clear understanding of document-related inefficiencies, you can identify a few quick fixes along with potential long-term initiatives.

Step 2: Now comes the challenging part—you have uncovered the problems and have to fix them, but how? Do you tackle them with your own internal resources or do you outsource? The answer is, "It depends."

A good rule of thumb is to determine whether the improvement areas are core or non-core activities. Non-core activities are business functions that do not add to an enterprise’s value proposition. Typically, non-core activities are routine, transactional tasks, such as print production or document processing. Determine whether outsourcing these activities will bring more value than if they are done in-house.

Step 3: It also is important to assess the quantitative and qualitative benefits potential outsourcing business models can drive. Depending on the project, you could simply outsource or utilize shared services or a hybrid model—all of which can reduce capital investments, optimize labor, re-allocate resources and provide economies of scale.

According to The Economist, outsourcing can improve productivity and competitiveness 10- to 100-fold. It is not a mere business tactic. It is a strategic tool that can increase company profits and competitiveness.

Ken Bechard is vice president of production services at Novitex. With more than 30 years of experience, he has a track record of designing solutions to improve both operational performance and financial value. For more information, visit