Manufacturers do have a paperless system!
But the system is so bad Workshops put in a range of different practices and systems themselves to try and comply and make it work. This can range from 3 pieces of paper to 50 pieces.

I have heard rumours that new systems are on the way, but in the same breath they have been on the way for years

Heres a few of the better practices workshops can implement in the meantime while we wait

1.The cloud
Reception creates a job number titled folder and save the job card
This would need to be done on a server or an application like dropbox, so it can be accessed by other computers and tablets on the network.
Print to pdf writer from the diagnostic laptop, brake tester, battery tester etc. and save to job number titled folder.
Write ups can be typed and saved
pictures of part numbers and serial numbers can be taken on phones, emailed and saved in folder

2. tablets with keyboards 

Laptops could be used although they lack the ability to take pictures
Buy 1 or 2 tablets for the workshop to show how much easier it is. Then encourage technicians to buy their own. (my next blog will be about this)
Technicians tablets would need internet access.
This now opens up a world of possibilities.
Job card can be emailed to mechanic, or accessed on the cloud
Parts request email can be sent from mechanic to spare parts. An email notification when it is ready to be collected would save hours of queuing at the parts counter
Take pictures of defect, new serial numbers, old serial numbers
Workshop manuals can be accessed at the toolbox/ vehicle

3. digital tick and flick for service sheets
The app iauditor for example
These apps could also incorporate write ups, pictures of defects and serial numbers
Superviser can see on their computer any defects and can be getting authorisation, spare parts can be notified. All this while the rest of the service is being completed
An email notification alerts mechanic that defect is authorised for repair, email notification to say parts are ready to be picked up for repair.