The problem, everyone thought, was that there wasn't enough space for ingredient storage. Producers Dairy Foods, a manufacturer of dairy products in Fresno, Calif., was quickly filling up the 10,000 square feet it had allotted for document storage. The files and documents were practically spilling into the warehouse space designated for ingredients. But, according to chief financial officer Frank Sewill, the real problem was too much paper. Producers Dairy was keeping hard copy of all its financial records, customer invoices, sales reports, and product information.

Sewill recognized that the company had to find an alternative to paper records. He purchased a DataView laser-disk storage system (MultiProcess Computer Corp., 800-377-5681) to replace the shelves of paper. Now, Producers Dairy stores all its documents -- from financial reports to customer invoices -- on laser disks. Records that used to take up nearly 10,000 square feet of storage space now fill an area the size of two shoe boxes.

Employees were worried that they would lose important documents, but they soon realized that it is much easier to call up a computer file than it is to search through boxes of documents. Sewill expected to save time and space, and he was more than pleasantly surprised to discover that he was also saving some $40,000 a year in paper. Paper consumption declined from nine boxes to less than one box a day.