1. Email on the rise

As the speed increases, e-mails replace the classic business letter. The advantages of e-mails are enormous at first glance: fast, easy, free. In the following article we took the trouble and collected the advantages and disadvantages of the communication media e-mail, mail, EDI and fax. Of course, this collection does not claim to be complete. If you have any suggestions or additions, please contact us and let us know. We look forward to seeing you.

2. E-mail | Pros and cons

2.1. Benefits

  • Faster and cheaper than mail (printing, envelop, postage, staff)
  • Sending and receiving in real time
  • Electronic storage is cheaper than physical
  • Easy to use, extensive possibilities of use
  • Documents in electronic form – possibility of automatic further processing and storage
  • Easy way to encrypt
  • Quick and hassle-free response

2.2. Disadvantages

  • Absence of signatures (largely fixed by Signature Act)
  • Feedback on whether e-mail arrived is not always possible
  • Authenticity and security (remediation through encryption)

3. Post | Pros and cons

3.1. Benefits

  • A letter is personal
  • Signature

3.2 Disadvantages

  • Significantly more expensive than an email
  • More elaborate in the creation
  • Difficulties with delivery (especially for foreign addresses)

4. EDI | Pros and cons

4.1. Benefits

  • Cost reduction – moreexpensive than paper
  • Time Savings – Faster Processes
  • Easy processing on the other side
  • Automation enables employees to work on higher-quality tasks
  • Quality
  • Improved cooperation

4.2. Disadvantages

  • High costs – implementation is often only worthwhile for large business partners
  • High complexity

5. Fax | Pros and cons

5.1. Benefits

  • Faster than mail
  • Fax machines an option if e-mail is not possible
  • Broadcast report as an additional means of proof (but: Fax easily accessible to third parties. The broadcast report is therefore not reliable proof of proper reception)

5.2. Disadvantages

  • According to the Bavarian State Commissioner for Data Protection, major problems with the issue of data security (e.g. because situtation with the recipient is unclear) – https://www.datenschutz-bayern.de/technik/orient/telefax.htm
  • Only “copy” of the original document
  • Shipping is lengthy on many pages
  • Black and white only – unusable for graphics and photos
  • Substitution by e-mail to be expected
  • If physical fax machine is necessary, then various other disadvantages
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