Smarter printing strategies could save Irish economy €145m a year

18 Mar 2010

Businesses across Europe are spending US$260bn a year on printed materials, including US$76.7bn on outsourced printing, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

The report estimates that by improving internal print management, firms could save up to $19.6bn per year.

The OKI-commissioned study, Smarter Print Management – Controlling Costs and Environmental Impacts, found that across those geographies examined, which included the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and many others across mainland Europe and the Middle East, organisations spend almost US$260bn each year on printed materials, including US$76.7bn on outsourced printing.

“This total equates to more than the entire GDP of Ireland,” says Martin Deignan, sales and marketing director for OKI in Ireland.

“It is clear that trimming costs in this area could have a huge impact on business efficiency.”

Benefits of changes in print management

As well as reducing costs, changes in print management – and particularly the elimination of waste and unnecessary transportation – could lead to a saving in CO2 emissions across EMEA of as much as 1.5 million tonnes a year.

That is the equivalent of taking 400,000 cars off the road, or 750,000 long-haul flights. In Ireland, the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions could be up to 12,000 tonnes per annum, akin to removing 3,000 cars from Irish roads.

Deignan says that with the latest improvements in printing and copying technology, many tasks previously outsourced to specialist third-party print houses can now be undertaken more cost-effectively in-house, with no loss of print quality.

Printing activities which may now be brought in-house in this way include pre-printed stationery, business cards, professional signage, sector-specific labelling (eg, for retail, manufacturing and healthcare) and other marketing and commercial materials, such as newsletters and company magazines.

The report estimates that by bringing currently outsourced printing functions in-house, firms in EMEA could save US$5.4bn per year. The savings largely come from the elimination of waste by printing only the quantities you need, at the time you need them and in the location you need them.

With the implementation of best practice print-management techniques, even greater savings can be made in terms of staff time and printer, paper and printer consumables costs.

“By adopting managed print services, for example, this helps to identify, improve and manage opportunities for efficiency improvement,” says Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of CEBR.

“Techniques include accurately identifying usage patterns, ensuring staff have access to the print facilities they need, setting up printers correctly to minimise time and paper wastage, and sending routine jobs to mono and duplex (two-sided) printers.”

By John Kennedy

Photo: By improving internal print management, companies can save up to $19.6bn per year, a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research suggests

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