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Print Management: Get Ahead of the Game

Implementing print management into your organization may not be top of your agenda right now, but perhaps it should be.

After all, most of us are working from home, and because of the current circumstances we might not see our work offices for weeks or even months.

If the current climate has shown us anything, it’s that the need to cut down on unnecessary expenditures has never been more important.

When companies do return to business as usual, the environment will be very different—SMBs will be hurting and the financial implications of the COVID-19 outbreak will be felt for a long time to come. Print management could be a significant help in reducing those unnecessary costs when you need them most.

Waste In Printing

Most business leaders are probably vaguely aware that their printing habits are costing them more than they’d like to be spending.

The true costs, however, could be really shocking. Here’s seven printing stats to demonstrate how much of a concern waste should be:

  1. The average employee’s printing habits cost companies $725 per year
  2. Employees on average print 34 pages of day, 17% of which will go unread
  3. 90% of companies do not track their printing costs
  4. Companies that use guesswork to identify their printing costs on average underestimate by 40%
  5. IT departments spend an average of 15% of their time fixing print-related issues
  6. Over the last 20 years, paper consumption in the US has gone from 92 million tons to 208 million—an increase of 126%
  7. The average business’ paper consumption grows by 22% each year, meaning in just under three-and-a-half years your consumption will have doubled

The bottom line here is that if you don’t have a handle on your organization’s printing habits, there’s a significant chance that you’re spending a lot more than you’d like to—the implications of this are magnified considering the current business environment.

Environmental Impact

In addition, the environmental impact of printing waste is enormous.

The manufacturing process for paper, which involves burning bark in order to create usable fiber, releases toxic greenhouse gases, a heavy pollutant which has had drastic consequences on the planet.

40% of the world’s commercially cut timber is used for the production of paper, and over 30 million acres of forest are destroyed annually to help supplement this production.

Improvements in technology and manufacturing have ramped up the production of paper, and consumption has increased too.

This is unsustainable, and businesses of every size will sooner or later have to address the issue of sustainability within their organizations.

worldwide paper consumption by region

Productivity Impact

The impact that printing has on your workforce’s productivity might not be apparent at first.

When you’ve been following the same structure over years or even decades, it can be difficult to pin down an issue that’s grown slowly over time—even if it affects you on a daily basis.

Manufacturing, hospitality, legal—whatever the industry, SMBs consistently struggle with the same issues relating to a productive workforce as a result of unmanaged printing.

Employees spend an inordinate amount of time searching for the information they need—1.8 hours a day in total, or 9.3 hours per week.

This creates a double whammy for SMBs; not only are you losing money in printing costs, but you’re losing money in lost labor as workers try and pick up the slack and work their way through ineffective document management processes related to printing.

90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone.

With every year, the amount of data that exists increases exponentially—thanks to the rise of big data.

This means that more paper is being used to accommodate this influx of data, and consequently more time (and money) is being wasted.

What Is Print Management and How Can It Help?

Print management means partnering with a third party for your printing needs.

What this means in practice is that the third party will assess your needs, determine the hardware that you’re best suited to, and service you with parts and supplies for that hardware in the long-term.

They will use software to track your usage and stick to your budget goal.

Related Post: 6 Managed Print Services Benefits for SMBs

Workflow solutions

Service partners and consultants often use print management as the first step in a wider digital transformation strategy.

The reason for this is that printing is something of a low-hanging fruit and can provide a substantial ROI to SMBs who are particularly conscious of their bottom line.

If a company has yet to get on top of their printing, it’s very often expensive, ineffective, and unprepared for the future.

Workflow solutions can significantly bolster your operations with the introduction of a multifunction printer fleet (if necessary) and workflow software designed to streamline your document processes.

For example, instead of printing stacks and stacks of paper every day, you can instead scan your document and make it available instantly to anybody with access over the cloud.

When your data and documents are organized effectively, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle. The issue earlier with employees spending nearly two hours searching for documents? Now they won’t have any issues finding that one key piece of information hiding under a mountain of paper, because it’s stored digitally and is easy to access.

This will significantly improve the productivity of your workers, reduce your spending on paper, and consequently improve your bottom line.

Supply replenishment and visibility

When you have a partner overseeing your printer fleet, they’ll use tools to analyze and assess your expenditures and use.

Where before there was no visibility, now you have partner who can tell you exactly what you’re using. Are you going over your budget? They’ll know and be able to help you keep it down.

They will also be able to tell when you’re running low on supplies and how much you need to replenish them.

In short, you’ll have a much better understanding of how much you’re using and whether it’s in line with your goals, as opposed to being completely in the dark and spending well over what you’d like by buying more than you need.

Furthermore, if something goes wrong, a quality service provider will be immediately on-site to fix your issue as part of your service agreement.

Consultation

An experienced managed service provider will be able to provide support to you for every aspect of your print management.

This is not—and you should not settle for—simply a process of buying a printer and then calling it a day.

Your partner should help you with printer placement by interviewing staff members; is there an imbalance in use among different printers? Are they in the positions that will maximize productivity? What are the current habits of your employees and how does that affect your strategy?

These are all key aspects of print management that will help you save money and improve productivity.

Green initiatives

Your partner should be able to offer you green initiatives to help your business cut down its carbon footprint.

This could be from sourcing green paper from the United States, as we at Impact do, from toner recycling programs, or from using programs like PrintReleaf that allow you to do your bit in reforestation efforts.

When you recycle your paper, you can “re-leaf” the equivalent to your paper consumption and even have the opportunity to choose where you’d like to plant them.

The Bottom Line

The main takeaway is this: modern printing environments have changed a lot more than a majority of businesses that haven’t kept pace—often through a simple lack of information more than anything else.

By investing in a partnership, you can significantly reduce waste and unwanted expenditure (a lot of which you might not even know you have) and help you position yourself for the future.

Getting your print management in place now can do you wonders for when we return to normal—it’ll get another monkey off your back, streamline your business, and get you ready for further digital implementation should choose to pursue it.

Print management is an important part of reducing costs for many small and midsize businesses that are budget-conscious and looking for ways to cut down on expenditure and their environmental impact. For more information about what print management can do for you, take a look at our Managed Print Services page and discover what you could get from a partnership with a managed service provider.