IT Challenge #6 – Paper waste
Thursday, May 30, 2019
by Lou Bartlett
Around the company, you see stacks of paper in recycle bins. The majority of these are documents that were left in printer trays. You wonder how it came to this, but know there are countless scenarios that end in a printed document being thrown in the trash.
For example, sometimes people submit a print job but do not collect it because they get busy doing something else and simply forget. Or they end up printing a document twice because they notice a mistake after they hit the print button. They might have walked over to the printer only to find that it was printing other users’ documents and their own print job was stuck somewhere in between; so they just abandon it and try later. And last but not least, someone submits a print job to a printer that was unavailable (low toner, paper jam, etc.). Of course, the job comes out after the printer comes back online, but by then the user is long gone.
What do all of these scenarios have in common? One answer is frustrated employees (except for those who simply forgot to pick up their print job… they are too oblivious to be frustrated). The common denominator is paper waste. At large global enterprises, uncollected print jobs can result in hundreds of thousands of pages that end up in the trash bin each year. But the waste goes beyond the cost of paper. It includes toner, electricity, and the duty cycle of the printing devices that produced these documents. Moreover, what about the environmental aspect or perhaps the most important aspect of unclaimed documents; data security? The rules that govern preventing data from being exposed are tightening, with GDPR in the EU being the latest example of stricter rules for data protection. One can imagine that certain printed documents contain sensitive data and they are left out in the open for anyone to see or even take.
Pull Printing Software for data protection and increased end user convenience
If only there was printing optimization software that could prevent all of the above-mentioned scenarios from occurring. A solution that would help protect data, enhance the end user experience, prevent paper waste, and reduce environmental impact. Well, in fact, it does exist, and is called secure pull printing. This can be as simple as implementing a solution that only prints when someone is physically standing at a device. Such solutions certainly aren’t new, and the technology is widely available. But a certain amount of caution is required when selecting a pull printing solution, as variations between solutions can make or break your business.
Think about multi-vendor print fleets, especially newly-released device types. You want to make sure that the solution provides pull printing for all existing and future printer models. Vendor agnostic print solutions can be used with any hardware and are installed directly on the multifunction device itself. End users can select and retrieve their print jobs from the MFP panel, and they enjoy a unified experience from any device, regardless of brand or model. The idea behind deploying pull print software is to solve problems, not to create new or different ones.
Reducing our environmental footprint and saving trees
When investing in a secure printing solution, many organizations want to get insights into their true savings, both in terms of money and trees. There are nice programs available that will tell you exactly how much money and how many trees each employee and the entire organization has saved. These programs take everything into account. In this article, we are mainly talking about paper waste as a result of uncollected print jobs. We have established that this is a problem that can be fixed by a pull printing solution, such as LRS MFPsecure software. But there are more options to reduce paper consumption and control printing costs. For example, think about establishing rules for duplex printing. A print policy is an instant way to cut the number of printed pages when duplex printing is the standard setting.
Follow Me Printing, an effective solution to a common problem
Paper waste may seem like a rather simple problem. Acceptable even. But especially in large enterprises, the costs add up very quickly. Since this issue is one that can be so easily addressed, there is no reason to allow it to remain a problem; especially when a solution can do more than put an end to all those uncollected print jobs in trash bins. We started this article outlining some scenarios, one being the employee who prints and finds that the device is unavailable. If Follow Me printing is enabled, the employee can walk up to any device and get the document they need. If they find that the device they wanted is out of order, they simply walk up to the next one. Problem solved.
Deploying a pull print solution comes with many benefits aside from preventing paper waste. The benefits are even bigger for organizations that need to print from back-end applications, such as SAP. Can you imagine a printer malfunctioning when an employee needs to print shipping documents? There could be high costs associated with that. Our next Blog article in this series will cover SAP printing as IT Challenge #7. Want to learn more about LRS pull printing solutions? Contact our team of experts today.