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How a small change can lead to big savings in resources, time, and money

I had an odd banking experience during my last few days working remotely from Barcelona.  When I received my rent deposit back - in cash - I went to my bank's ATM and deposited the money without reading the screen prompts.  After the machine ate my money, I started to panic a little.  I wasn't sure if the machine accepted money without envelopes.  Five hundred Euros eaten by a machine - on a Sunday, with a flight out on Monday morning. Much to my relief, everything was fine.  The bank no longer uses envelopes for any deposits.

When Bank of America first implemented ATM deposits without envelopes, it was a radical idea.  Many people (myself included) were quite concerned that the machine wouldn't count the money properly.  In hindsight, this is sort of silly.  The machine that counts and distributes the money must be the same as the one that counts and receives the money - it performs the same function, but with dual operations.

There were other concerns, too.  When the change was first implemented, you had to hand feed individual checks.  This was a problem for small businesses that manage large amounts of cash and checks.  Now, the machines can handle a group of checks.

Doing things in a new way - any sort of change - can be scary.  But driving up to the ATM machine with dMASS front and center on my mind, I couldn't help but be impressed with how revolutionary it really was to have done away with envelopes.

It's a seemingly small thing, but think about the significant amount of savings from eliminating envelopes.  There's the time for someone to physically open envelopes, separate checks and cash, put cash through a money counting machine, and scan checks.  Then there's the time and money to special order the envelopes with specific branding and designs, have them printed, shipped, and distributed, manually stock the ATMs, and then recycle all the envelopes coming back into banks.  Not to mention the resources used to manufacture, ship, store, and handle the waste from the envelopes.

Direct deposit has been available for years.  Now more banks are starting to implement remote deposit, which allows businesses or individuals to scan and deposit checks from anywhere.  With advancing technology, a vast number of monetary transactions are essentially weightless.  What aspect of your business or industry is ready to eliminate mass?