When I enter a manufacturing plant, the first thing I look for is paper — clipboards, paper forms, folders, envelopes, binders, etc. The presence of these items on the plant floor is a telling indicator of the plant's maturity and operations.
Don't get me wrong, I love paper, and it has many uses. As a technology, few alternatives are faster, more flexible, and cheaper to implement than paper. Paper itself is not the problem, but it is a crucial symptom pointing to deeper challenges in the factory. My goal in helping Operations improve their efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability is not "to eliminate paper," however that is the inevitable result.