In part 3 of this series, we explored how to start saving your organization money by going after the low-hanging fruit immediately. Now the deeper dive begins, the execution of a comprehensive print strategy – incorporating the print policy, design, and communications plans – delivered in phases to ultimately arrive at a print environment that is more secure, cost-efficient, and sustainable.
As with most things, communication and change management are key. To get the most value out of your print strategy, you need to help employees make better choices. Start with a communications campaign that makes print personal. It should demonstrate that print is not free; it comes with significant cost. Use the data you gathered in the initial phase to share printing costs by department so that managers can compare results and set and track goals for individual employees.
The objective is to get everyone in the habit of thinking before they print – to change the relationship employees have with paper documents. Communications should clearly state the benefits of printing less, and everyone should understand the goals of your new print policy and the role they play in meeting those goals. We are not just in the managing print business, we are in the change business!
Brand the campaign so that it touches the hearts and minds of your people. Communicate early and often. Engage your sustainability leadership; they will prove to be essential advocates. From our experience, we know that employees want to do the right thing, they just need to know what is expected of them.
Make it clear that this is not an anti-print campaign, but a mindful print campaign. Nobody wants to be wasteful; when employees understand the real costs of their printing, they will be motivated to do the right thing and they will begin to form better printing habits.
“…you can expect to cut printing output and therefore costs by 40%, and that’s conservative.”
Business leaders should lead by example and eliminate their personal printers in favor of shared network devices. They should not bring their PowerPoint handouts printed in color, one-sided, and in superfluous quantities “just in case” they’re needed.
Instead, they should help promote and sustain the “print less” mindset and celebrate successes along the way. They should tell stories that reflect the current state against the former baseline output across various departments. They can even gamify the program, leveraging ongoing print data and communications to further engage the workforce and take the awareness of printing costs to the next level.
Secure printing leads to less printing
Nothing reduces unnecessary printing volume like secure pull printing technology. When you secure all devices across your organization—all single-function printers and multi-function devices in all locations—you will see printing output drop by 25% even without a sustained communications campaign. When you combine the two, you can expect to cut printing output and therefore costs by 40%, and that’s conservative.
In a secure print environment, employees authenticate at their chosen printer using their network credentials or access card. This means they are physically present at a device to release and collect their documents, thus eliminating forgotten and abandoned prints. Documents that are submitted but not released will simply expire. These unprinted submissions are recorded in reports as “waste savings.” In other words, you’ll have an ongoing record of money saved due to documents that were sent to a print queue but never printed, and therefore were not likely essential to business.
Over the course of many years and across organizations of all sizes and industries, our customers consistently report waste savings of between 25 and 40 percent of their total submitted volume.
Ancillary benefits galore
A secure print environment also reduces risk; document confidentiality is protected and devices are locked down for employee use only. The confidentiality factor also makes it possible to eliminate personal desktop printers – the most expensive printer type on a per-page basis. The argument to keep them for the sake of privacy becomes a moot point.
An environment of secured, networked multi-function devices also improves convenience for employees and provides better leverage for service negotiations. If an employee’s preferred printer is temporarily occupied or out of service, he or she can simply release their document at another printer without having to re-submit it. And, the ability to release a document at any printer on the network means that you probably don’t need to pay for rapid support response timeframes to guarantee printer availability.
You can also reduce all those print queues down to one or two, for example one color queue and one monochrome queue. In large organizations, this means that hundreds or even thousands of print queues and dead queues can be eliminated. This is a benefit that your already burdened IT staff will appreciate.
Mindful configurations and policies
In part 3, we touched on right-sizing your printer fleet and using cost-efficient default settings, but there’s so much more that you can do to continually drive down costs. After you have gone after the low-hanging fruit, you can reinforce the print policy you have communicated across the enterprise by deploying automated policy controls.
With Blueprint Enterprise, you can create customized rules that communicate your organization’s print policies to reinforce desired printing behaviors and educate users right at the moment they choose to print. If a submitted print job is within your policy parameters, no message is displayed. However, if a submitted print job does not comply with your policy, the employee receives a pop-up message that shows the cost of the job and offers an opportunity to cancel it. If it’s important, the employee can bypass the message and proceed with the print job. You can also create messages that restrict certain print jobs without offering the opportunity to bypass the message.
For example, you could restrict color print jobs that exceed a certain number of pages, or any print jobs submitted from a web browser or email client. You can set different policy messages by groups, departments, locations, etc. It’s often best to phase-in these policies after you have communicated your print strategy and set your cost reduction goals.
Go digital, stay digital
Finally, it’s important to transition to digital workflows wherever possible. People only print for two reasons: because they have to (a business process that requires paper – typically about 60%) or because they want to (convenience or habit – about 40%). Leverage your printing data to identify the largest cost outliers and evaluate the jobs that are being printed. You’ll probably find that many of these documents can remain digital and be every bit as effective with some simple habit changes.
When people know they are being stack ranked by how much print cost they are producing, two great things happen: the 40% habitual print drops dramatically and immediately, and you learn a lot about the processes and workflows that may require some re-engineering.
There’s all of this and so much more. We have helped companies of all sizes to reduce their enterprise printing costs to the tune of millions of dollars. Let us help you establish more mindful and sustainable printing habits in your organization. You’ll be proud of the results and impressed by how much more secure and efficient your organization can be. Start the conversation today!