How casinos can reap savings in both time and money with these three steps
There are many products that tout their ability to save us time and money. As many of us have experienced, that doesn’t always pan out. This is true of the various products with the purpose of moving us toward paperless. We buy or lease solutions to make some processes paperless, and yet we still have tons (literally) of paper to handle and store. How can we avoid ending up like this?
I’d like to clarify something about “paperless.” More often than not, paperless doesn’t mean that we won’t have any paper in any of our processes. Although, good solutions will allow us to store documents electronically and then destroy the paper. The number of physical documents handled should be significantly reduced, but it’s rare that we can eliminate them all. Especially in processes where items are received from outside the organization.
Historically, casinos have generated a lot of paper. We have forms for every transaction. We have progressive meter readings, coupons, z-tapes, MTLs, MILs, jackpot forms, W-9s, etc. We also have purchase requisitions, purchase orders, receiving reports, invoices, inventories and so on. Purchasing, Accounts Payable and Vault Operations account for the vast majority of all casino’s paper. There are many systems on the market that can help make processes in these three areas paperless. However, on its own, a system won’t make it happen. There are three things that will greatly improve the level of success achieved when implementing a paperless solution.
The first thing we need is a Plan. You’ve heard the saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” If we don’t have a plan for implementing any new system, it’s not going to turn out as effectively as it could. Going paperless involves much more than just implementing a system. We must consider how the new system will impact processes that can’t become paperless. Are there pieces of equipment that might need to be purchased, such as document scanners? How will we handle the paper that we currently have? How will we handle paper as it is converted to digital? Can it be immediately destroyed, or will we need a verification process? Are there regulatory considerations? How will paperless impact our network storage and operation? We must have a plan that takes all these things and more into account.
Next, we need a Pledge. We have to pledge to follow through with being paperless. Even after purchasing a system, we’ve seen organizations take their foot off the accelerator when team member resistance or other obstacles pop up. They settle for something short of their original goal. We’ve also seen properties implement a system that should have greatly reduced paper generated in the vault, but processes weren’t changed to take advantage of the opportunity. Management at all levels must remain committed to the goal of being paperless. If team members are allowed to revert to old processes or allowed to keep paper “just in case,” then we’ve wasted a lot of time and money and will continue to waste it.
At our firm, we’ve used the accounting system that we resell for many years. The system allows for electronic workflow and document attachments in the purchasing and accounts payable processes. Even though the system allowed us to be paperless, for several years we still maintained paper AP vendor files, even though images of invoices and purchase documents were attached to transactions in the system. We renewed our efforts to be paperless, made a few changes to address potential issues, and now we are proud to say that we haven’t had any file cabinets in our building for the past few years. Costs for paper and toner are reduced. The number of printers has been reduced, as well as the personnel costs to maintain and manage the paper files. All because we remained committed to achieving the goal of paperless.
The last of the P’s is Police. We must regularly police ourselves to make sure that we don’t have anyone relapsing back into paper. As with our pledge to achieve paperless, we must police our processes and people so that we can maintain it as well. As time goes by and we experience turnover, processes can jump off track if we don’t keep an eye on things. New hires must be made aware of the mission to be paperless. As with any system, training and monitoring is critical to continued success. After implementation, new issues will arise as our operating environment changes. These issues should be addressed with the goal of paperless in mind.
A paperless initiative in our casinos can reap savings in both time and money. Don’t fail or fall short of the benefits that can result from being paperless. Focusing on the Three P’s of Planning, Pledging and Policing will help increase our odds of achieving these goals.