Minimize Your Printing to Maximize Your Results

Minimize Your Printing to Maximize Your Results
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Typically, it costs a business about 2 to 4 cents to print a single black-and-white page and up to 15 cents to print in color. Add in color graphics, and costs can climb as high as 60 cents per page.

These seemingly tiny amounts add up over time, and yet many company leaders don’t consider how office printing affects the profitability of their businesses or its sustainability metrics. They simply don’t know what they don’t know.

When the invisible becomes visible and they see how much printing is taking place — by whom, in which departments, using which applications — opportunities to reduce nonessential printing are revealed. This is the path to lowering operational expenses.

What business leaders need is an informed print strategy based on their companies’ own printing data that can be implemented quickly and seamlessly. By taking these steps, you can better align your print environment to your business needs and ultimately lead a more sustainable and profitable business:

  • Keep everyone informed. Create an internal marketing program to keep employees updated about green initiatives and cost-savings goals related to office printing. Real and sustainable change only happens with everyone on the same page. Communicate clear objectives to improve whichever aspect of print management best fits your company’s culture and mission (e.g., energy and paper conservation or cost containment).
  • Showcase effective role models and efficient alternatives. To provide employees with real examples they can aspire to emulate, highlight individuals or departments that successfully reduced their printing from a prior baseline. Encourage employees to use digital files whenever possible, print duplex (using both sides of the paper) when they must print, and avoid unnecessary color printing. Small changes lead to big results.
  • Share before-and-after metrics. You can keep a scorecard of print volume reductions and chart the progress you make toward your stated objectives. Be sure to acknowledge goals as you reach them. For example, to celebrate the conservation of more than 300 trees (equating to more than 2.7 million sheets of paper) in a just a few months, CA Technologies celebrated by planting 16 indigenous trees at its corporate headquarters.
  • Lead by example. When employees know that printing activity is tracked, they’re more inclined to think critically about their printing choices and thereby help the company become more ecologically and financially responsible. Banner Health, a nationally recognized Integrated Health Network, achieved this through its “Do Your Part, Print Smart” program, which keeps employees informed about printing initiatives, campaign goals, and expectations.

After the prevalence of habitual “convenience printing” throughout the enterprise became clear, senior managers gave up their personal desktop printers in favor of secured network printers to lead by example. Employees across the organization soon took these and other changes to heart, and by the end of 2015, Banner had saved millions on its total print spending.

Effective leadership requires an awareness of issues that others may not see — a wider perspective of the business and its opportunities. Cultivating a mindset of sustainability has never been more important for business leaders; it demonstrates that they are conscientious, responsible, and focused on improving efficiency wherever possible.

To lead the sustainability charge, communicate regularly with employees to clarify the real cost of printing and how much your company can potentially save. People generally respond favorably to strong, clear directives from managers leading by example.

Start by changing your own habits to show everyone how they, too, can help create a more sustainable enterprise and save money in the process. It’s a noble cause, worthy of everyone’s attention and effort.

Dale McIntyre is a vice president at Pharos Systems International, an enterprise print solutions provider based in Rochester, New York. Dale provides strategic leadership in sustainability, brand, and customer engagement. He regularly shares his unique perspective on print strategy through blogs, webinars, and appearances.

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