Reducing the cost of printing

glyph-docs-150Whilst there’s plenty of excitement around emerging trends disrupting traditional business models, sometimes it’s easy to overlook simple improvements that technology can enable

The following project may be old school for the more digitally advanced organisation, but I’d wager there are plenty out there still wasting paper unnecessarily.

A client is currently midway through an ambitious full technology platform refresh. The CIO kindly gave permission to share statistics from one of the simpler projects underway that will immediately save money.

The project: to replace over 300 aging printers and photocopiers with 200 new devices that are not only energy-efficient but better managed with the introduction of ‘Follow Me’ printing. This means people will have to enter their pin number to release print jobs into physical output. As well as improving data protection (a large volume of printouts contain confidential and sensitive data), it means that print jobs can be automatically rerouted to another device if there is a fault or queue. But, by the far the biggest saving will be simply not printing at all. Many printouts end up being left at the printers and go straight to the recycling bin. By requiring a pin code to release and print, anything uncollected will simply never be printed and deleted from the printer memory after 24 hours.

Some of the stats:

  • Over 25 million black and white pages printed per year and 3 million colour pages (this is just the daily emails, reports, presentations etc.)
  • The cost is 2.75p per black and white page, and 5.18p per colour page
  • Only 20% of current print outs are in duplex (both sides of the paper used)
  • Over 99 different types of print cartridge are required to run the current devices

Although not large in terms of headcount (just under 3,000 staff and associates), this is a very information-centric organisation spread across 40 locations in the UK and Europe. Other initiatives are in place to move away from the habit to print stuff out, including increased use of tablets and mobile devices to access emails and documents in meetings. But simply introducing better management of the printers enables immediate gains.