The Disadvantages of Paper Records, Especially in a Crisis

(RestaurantNews.comThe Disadvantages of Paper Records, Especially in a Crisis)  It’s 2020 and we live in a high-tech culture, so why are so many food, retail, and hospitality businesses still using paper records to manage something as important as quality and safety? Digital tools are especially critical during a crisis, including the COVID-19 pandemic.  As businesses shift the way they operate – dramatically elevating their safety and cleanliness protocols – companies that utilize digital tool sets will have distinct advantages as they adjust to and recover from this crisis.

Some major food brands – with multiple locations nationwide – distribute laminated COVID-19 checklists to all their units as a guide to their new protocols. It’s a huge disadvantage to use an antiquated paper system to manage a global health pandemic – and the resulting changes in protocols. There are significant problems with using paper systems instead of digital:

  • There’s no way to make up-to-the-minute, data-based changes (essential around COVID) and effectively communicate these changes to staff, especially in a business with multiple locations.
  • It’s difficult to find essential information quickly when using paper records, which can easily be misfiled or lost. Then, when faced with a crisis – such as an employee contracting COVID-19 or a foodborne illness outbreak – the appropriate paperwork can’t be located.
  • It’s challenging to integrate, assess, audit, and analyze data using paper systems.
  • Managers can’t be sure that essential safety checks are being performed regularly and correctly. For many reasons, employees don’t always properly complete paper checklists, audits and other QMS protocols, which can be a huge liability.

Now, as every business must significantly elevate their safety and cleanliness protocols, digital tools are essential. 

Digital tools offer tremendous benefits:

  • Companies will have more accurate and organized records.
  • If companies need to produce records because of a COVID-19, norovirus, or foodborne illness outbreak, they can easily find the necessary information.
  • Digital tools can better track, report, audit, and assess across all locations, providing a clear, accurate view on compliance across the enterprise.
  • If included in the software, reporting features can enable instant visibility and transparency to reveal critical, data-based insights and trends. This can include data viewed in a rolled-up report to look at the whole operation, or data can be viewed as drill downs to individual locations to gain regional insights.
  • Using digital tools is a proactive way to efficiently gather, store, and analyze critical information to mitigate health and safety risks.

This “new normal” is our new reality, not just a temporary situation. Because of the coronavirus, companies must change the way they operate. Digital tools allow companies to better manage this new reality: implement new protocols, train staff, audit operations, assess data, ensure compliance, and take on-the-spot and long-term corrective actions, as necessary.

Often, companies resist technology – including digital tools – thinking they’re too expensive, complicated, or difficult to implement. Truthfully, digital tools are now affordable, accessible and user-friendly, ideal for companies of all sizes and budgets. Some companies vow to stick with “the way we’ve always done things,” utilizing antiquated paper systems. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world completely, and it’s essential to transition from “the way we’ve always done things” to a whole new way of operating — including using digital solutions.

RizePoint, headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT, offers a quality management software solution that helps companies keep brand promises through their quality, safety, and compliance efforts. Customers gather better data, see necessary actions earlier, and act faster to correct issues before they become costly liabilities. The company serves the food, hospitality, and retail industries with a robust mobile auditing tool and a cloud-based platform that automates quality management systems and supplier quality management programs. RizePoint works with the most prestigious brands in the world, including Starbucks, McDonald’s, L Brands, and Marriott, supporting them on a variety of safety and compliance activities.

Adrienne Walkowiak