Facts you never thought you needed to know about printing – but you really should

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21 September 2010
Catherine Stagg-Macey

I admit that printing and all things related are not topics that kept me awake, at night, or any other time of the day. Printers are necessary background worker bees, that should just work. And this is largely what happens. What also happens is that companies spend vast quantities of money on printers, paper, and ink cartridges. In the current climate of saving, the dull topic of printing takes on a brighter sheen – if only reflecting the glint on the dollars saved.

To understand the cost of printing, and the value of any saving, ponder for a moment on these facts, courtesy of the Economist:

  • A European worker prints an average of 31 pages day
  • Printing in the US equates to 68KG of paper per worker per year
  • Inkjet ink costs more than seven times as much millilitre for millilitre as 1985 Dom Perignon champagne
  • Duplex printing can cut costs by 38% over life of a printer

Our recent research into the willingness to outsource (to be published in Q4) shows that paper-related activity is not seen as a differentiator (65%), and is high on the list of processes to outsource. Almost 80% of respondents are completely willing to outsource printing and mailing. And it will come as no surprise that reducing costs/expenses is one of the chief reasons for this decision to outsource.

When we asked about what people thought of the vendor capabilities, 60% rated print/mail capabilities as strength on the outsourcing industry. This was 25 points higher than the second perceived strength in call centres.

Outsourcing is clearly one way of reducing costs in this area. Before looking to outsourcing, there are several cost reduction exercises worth undertaking including duplex printing, and encouraging a culture of not printing. Another clever tool is changing the font. Fonts such as Century Gothics (as the Economist notes) are thinner and require less ink. And one step further, there are new fonts from companies like Ecofont that literally have holes in the font which require less ink.

So I find myself thinking that printing and fonts are actually rather fun, and can contribute to real savings in the organisation. What’s not to like?

*Thanks to the Economist and it’s enlightening article on printing in 4th September edition.

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