Office Document Strategies Blog

Lee Kirkby

Recent Posts

Is A Paperless Workplace Not Doable?

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 @ 14:06 PM

For many years businesses have been told that they can improve their processes by reducing paper use and going digital in their information flows.  For some reason the paperless workplace still does not seem to have traction in most businesses.  

Certainly there have been steps taken to reduce paper, often in places like invoicing and issuing of account statements.  Sometimes it has been in correspondence since the email has definitely overtaken the formal paper letter for much of the daily correspondence of most operations.  Even with these changes the paperless workplace does not seem to be entrenched however.

I sometimes talk about the less paper office instead.  It seems to me that this is achievable in most operations and with some effort it can lead to a substantial reduction in costs and also it can lead to a reduction in time expended carrying out daily transactions.

In a recent blog article John Mancini asks the question, "Is a paper-free workplace possible?". 

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Topics: business processes, Less paper office, office technology

Canadian SMB Firms Not Aggressive In IT & Technology Adoption

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 @ 11:06 AM

Recent reports indicate that Canadian SMB firms could benefit from being more aggressive about adopting new IT and technology as a means to improve productivity and gain from leveraging these types of investments.

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Topics: technology tools, business processes, digital tools, office technology

Microsoft Announces Canadian Cloud Data Centres

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Jun 10, 2015 @ 07:06 AM

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Topics: cloud computing, business processes, Canadian Legislation

Lenovo Expands Laptop Battery Recall

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Jun 3, 2015 @ 09:06 AM

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Topics: Computer, Lenovo

IT Security Remains A Key Issue For Canadian Business

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, May 27, 2015 @ 08:05 AM

One of the publications I follow regularly is IT World Canada.  Regular readers of this blog will know that I refer to some of their articles frequently, partially because they take a broad view of what constitutes I.T. and that helps me to see a wide variety of issues which can affect office environments. 

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Topics: IT network, network security

Revised Environmental Fees | Ontario MFP Rate Drops

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, May 20, 2015 @ 07:05 AM

The electronic stewardship programs in effect in most Canadian provinces are reviewed each year and a new schedule of fees is established for consumer payment on the sale of goods.  The funds generated are supposed to cover the costs of collection, recycling and disposal of all electronic items covered by the system.

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Topics: Multifunction Printer, MFP, Environment, eWaste

Canada Post Shows Annual Profit of $299 Million

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, May 13, 2015 @ 08:05 AM

In 2014 Canada Post announced a five part restructuring plan designed to turn around its money losing operations.  The plan indicated that with the steps outlined Canada Post would be profitable within three years.  In fact, based upon the 2014 annual report the corporation moved much more quickly to accomplishing its profitability goals earning an operating profit of $299 million dollars.  Revenue also increased by just under $420 million for a 5.5% change.  

These are pretty significant numbers and upon review they may not be quite as surprising as first thought.  The news is not all rosy however.  Volumes in some areas, especially lettermail continued to drop, 5.4% and this drop was higher than in the previous year.  Transaction mail declined by 6.1% per address indicating that alternative methods are continuing to replace the mailed invoice for many activities.  Think of the push you receive from your personal as well as business vendors for you to accept electronic invoicing.  This is a trend which continues to grow.

On the good side the volume of domestic parcels increased by 9.2%.  One potential for this growth is an increase in online purchasing by consumers resulting more parcel deliveries being necessary in the marketplace. "Online shopping is growing our business from a position of strength," is how this phenomenon is described in the report.  It is an area which is anticipated to grow even though the parcel business is very competitive.

One reason there was growth in both revenues and profit was the change in the pricing structure for lettermail which was introduced in 2014.  Using a tiered pricing structure which provided for a lower price for those using postage meters and running higher volumes of mail when compared to occasional users buying single stamps, a three tiered price was introduced.  The base cost of a single first class stamp rose significantly over the 2013 level.  It is possible that this new higher cost aggravated the move away from mail to other forms of communication for low volume users.  It may also have affected the commercial use of mail as well.  Combined they probably account for a major portion of the drop in lettermail volume but potentially had a lower effect on the revenue associated since the per piece cost was higher.

Other changes in the plan are still being seen as controversial as Canada Post moves to end the final third of home delivery that was made to individual residences.  There is a significant back lash against this decision, including potential court action in some jurisdictions.  Just check on the stories from the City of Hamilton about the challenges to Canada Post's installation of new 'super boxes' to get some sense of the frustration.  Canada Post indicates that as the market changes there is a real need for them to reduce the costs of individual mail delivery and that the elimination of individual home delivery is one step in this fight.  Of course the reduction in workforce that is needed to be able to do this delivery will be a big help in meeting Canada Post's long term profitability goals.

Some commentators think that with the fast turn around in profits shown in 2014 Canada Post could move away from some of the more controversial parts of their plan but at this point there is not much indication this will happen.   According to one commentator the lettermail windfall in 2014 amounted to $238 million in extra revenue, more than half of the total increase realized.

No matter what your take on the 2014 results it is evident that Canada Post is making changes and that postal delivery in Canada is going to be different than it ever has been before.  Some of these differences are going to be great for most users and some may not.  

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Topics: mailing equipment, Mailing, mailing machines

12 Questions To Consider When Looking At Cloud Computing

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, May 6, 2015 @ 07:05 AM

Every once in awhile an article comes across your desk that really capsules a challenging topic for IT operations.  This happened this week when I came across a listing for a recent publication from Europe which summarizes the security benefits and risks that come with cloud computing.  
Cloud_Computing_Guide_European_UnionEven better this publication is targeted directly at SMEs, (Small and Medium sized enterprises).

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Topics: business processes, IT network

Microsoft Announces New Security Features For Windows 10

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 @ 08:04 AM

Microsoft is planning to release the commercial version of Windows 10 this fall.  Two days ago they released the Windows 10 Preview which will permit some users to test out the new system.

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Topics: data security, Windows 10, office technology

Free WiFi May Not Be Enough In Europe

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 @ 07:04 AM

I have just had the experience of spending a couple of weeks traveling in  Europe and one of the things I realized quickly is that pre-planning is needed if you expect to be able to communicate reliably using email or online services when moving around the continent.  As North Americans we have become pretty complacent about being able to instantly communicate almost wherever we are.  

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Topics: e-mail, cost of internet, WiFi