Vancouver, Washington adopted an electronic permitting system
as many other cities do. But this time, instead of waiting for businesses to jump onboard the digital system, Vancouver decided to force the issue. Vancouver Business Journal reported that the new system was optional for businesses to use for the last year and a half, but after the adoption rate wasn't satisfactory, city officials decided to make switching over from paper processes to the online system mandatory.
Businesses used to physically bring copies of plans to City offices, but with a digital system, city officials are saving time and money. As opposed to waiting for individuals to read a hard copy of the paperwork, multiple departments are able to review applications simultaneously.
While the city certainly planned for adjustments between the two separate processes, officials were satisfied with all the benefits that come along with going paperless. Vancouver's Director of Economic Development, Chad Eiken, brought up the following points in the original article:
Instead of limiting employees to office hours and paper files, electronic permitting systems allow you to take your materials on the go. You can review and update information at any time.
Cut Down Costs
Both time and money are wasted on paper processes and clerical workload. With digital systems, all those mundane tasks that are constantly being reworked are taken out of the equation. Saving on paper expenses is just an added bonus!
Eiken expressed that the digital system will save his office from storing and scanning thousands of documents daily. With an online permitting process, your office can reduce paper pile ups from individual's desks, filing cabinets and even storage rooms packed to the brim with paper files.
When offices are dealing with a high volume of paper plans and files, it's inevitable that some materials will got lost or damaged. By using online systems that sync to the cloud, you get an extra sense of security by being able to share and save documents virtually.
Eiken said that while businesses were hesitant to switch over, the fact that the businesses can stay up to date and see what's happening throughout the entire process is a major benefit on their side of things.