5 Unexpected Use Cases for E-Signatures

Mary Ellen Power, April 17, 2015

Discussions about electronic signature software often center around industries like the public sector, insurance or financial services, where the technology helps organizations create a robust customer experience. However, electronic signatures can be used in diverse ways, in a wide range of industries, to promote digitization and reduce costs pertaining to paper-based processes. Five unexpected places where you may see e-signature solutions being used include:

1. Shipping documentation
There are many operational use cases, ranging from delivery truck drivers and freight operators to loading dock managers, that need to document the results of their shipping efforts. This documentation can be used for everything from complying with industry regulations to supporting supply chain management solutions. Either way, integrating electronic signing into these processes can simplify operations for everybody involved and deliver value to the organization.

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2. Product inspections
Manufacturers can increasingly automate a wide range of production tasks, but they eventually need to have humans inspect products for quality assurance. Having these workers use clipboards with necessary paperwork and product manuals, manually fill out fields, sign inspection forms with ink and physically file that paperwork is time consuming. Putting all of these files on a smartphone, tablet or PC and letting users complete documentation digitally can accelerate and simplify product inspection.

3. Managerial approvals
Having employees wait on managerial approvals to make sales or complete sensitive operations, like changing the IT configuration or altering production, can lead to significant productivity losses. Electronic signatures can simplify approvals by enabling digitization, which in turn allows managers to view requests from any device/location, process the document, sign off on the request and send the form back to the user flexibly and efficiently.

4. Regulatory documentation
Most regulatory laws don't just require you to follow certain best practices, they also mandate that you document your operations. Electronic signatures used to document processes can create a built-in audit trail for organizations, making it much easier to comply with regulatory standards without having to deal with extremely onerous paper-based documentation.

5. Supporting remote workers
Many businesses are embracing work-from-home capabilities as they help companies reduce real estate and overhead costs while freeing them to pick the best talent available, regardless of location. E-signature solutions let you embrace remote workers by empowering them to sign employment agreements, work with partners and complete key transactions without having to come into the office.

There are many places where e-signatures can be used, not just the obvious ones. Take a look at our beginner's guide to using the technology to get a clear idea of how your organization can find success.