Firms could save millions by managing their printing costs

12 Oct 2009

Despite spending more than €100 million a year on printing and photocopying documents, Irish bosses are ignoring what they spend to the detriment of the bottom line, Ricoh has warned.

A survey of Irish and UK firms found that only 34pc of companies have implemented a document-governance strategy, despite the total European document spend exceeding €14 billion a year.

Around 78pc of senior executives in Ireland and the UK recognise that improved document governance will generate cost savings.

Yet only 54pc of companies in Ireland and the UK actively monitor document costs, while 32pc have no idea of their company’s annual printing costs.

Ricoh says Irish business could save millions per year by managing print effectively.

Europe’s total document spend

The Ricoh Document Governance Index, conducted on behalf of Ricoh Europe by Coleman Parkes Research, revealed that although total document spend in Europe (including printing, photocopying and faxing) exceeds an estimated €14 billion per year, only a third of Irish and UK companies have implemented a document-governance strategy to manage it – the second lowest in Europe after France.

The report also found that responsibility for document governance is decentralised, with no single function accountable for this area across Europe.

Most respondents in Ireland and the UK reported that several people within their business are responsible for the document environment and 56pc devolve ownership to individual staff members. Some 66pc say at least partial responsibility sits with a variety of department heads, including HR directors, office managers, sales and marketing.

“In Ireland, we estimate that total document spend is €100 million per year. An effective document and print strategy can save businesses between 30pc and 50pc.

“Therefore, Irish businesses have the potential to save tens of millions at a time when cost reductions are crucial,” Chas Moloney, marketing director, Ricoh UK & Ireland, said.

Putting a sound strategy in place or even outsourcing this area simplifies business processes.

Benefits of a document-governance strategy

It also offers both short and long-term benefits, including reducing costs and environmental impact, increasing security and applying more effective allocation of resources. This enables business leaders to focus on driving the growth of their core business.

“Although today’s economy is driving senior executives to streamline their business, many companies are allowing their printing, photocopying and faxing to go unchecked,” said David Mills, CEO, Ricoh UK &Ireland.

“It is concerning that despite an increasing awareness of the immediate benefits, the majority of companies in Europe do not have a document-governance strategy in place. Underestimating the risks leaves them susceptible to overspending, under productivity, security breaches and a high carbon footprint.”

“Business leaders need to take notice of this often overlooked area by allocating a senior executive to take responsibility for it and consider both the immediate and longer-term strategic benefits to the business,” Mills said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Chas Moloney, marketing director, Ricoh UK & Ireland.

Ricoh Photography.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years