Policy printing: a blessing for management but a curse for employees?
Monday, March 14, 2016
by Linda van der Westen
Saving money and reducing overhead is important for every organization. But so are happy employees. When asking people about their biggest frustrations at work, printing often gets mentioned. Jobs don’t get processed. Jobs don’t get processed in the right way. Printers are unavailable. The print policy prevents jobs from being printed as they should. That last one is the one we would like to take a closer look at. Because yes, you want to cut printing costs. But do you want to do it at the expense of your employees?
Imagine this: a sales manager is preparing for an important meeting. He continues to finish his presentation and supporting materials after working hours. The moment he hits print, he sees a message. You will need manager approval to print this job. It is nine in the evening and the meeting is at 8 am the following day. So what can he do, but to either call the manager or go home without the proper handouts? His corporate printing policy caused him frustrations because it was enforced.
Enforce or provide guidance for smarter printing decisions
Many of the print management solutions allow you to enforce rules and restrict use of certain features. Without users being able to change them. It is a sure way to cut costs, but is it a smart way of doing it? After all, you invested in advanced printing devices. You will want people to be able to use them. So how about encouraging sensible printing instead? Prevent people from hitting the print button and having an internal memo or email printed full color and single sided. Bet you have printed an email on occasion and it was always two pages. The second page you immediately threw out because it was only the signature, perhaps followed by the ‘please consider the environment before printing this email (which coincidently also cost the company a color click).
Many of the print management solutions allow you to enforce rules and restrict the use of certain features like color or finishing options. In some cases, users are unable to override these decisions. It is a sure way to cut costs, but is it a smart way of doing so? After all, you invested in advanced printing devices. Surely you want people to be able to use them. So how about encouraging sensible printing instead of enforcing harsh rules?
All of us could use an occasional reminder to reduce wasteful behavior like hitting the print button and churning out an internal memo or email in full color and single sided form. Even you. Think back to the last time you printed an email and it spanned two pages. The second page you immediately threw out because it was only the signature line, perhaps followed by the ‘please consider the environment before printing this email (which coincidently also cost the company a color click).
Where is the paperless office?
Digitalization has not had the impact we thought on the office environment. We are nowhere near paperless. If anything, it has had the opposite effect. People like to have things printed. They like scribbling notes next to text and keeping it for records. And then there is archiving. Digital archives are certainly emerging, but keeping records of printed files is still required (by law) in some industries. And others just like the fact that there is a paper trail stored away for when it might be needed in the future.
So we are still heavily dealing with paper and printing. That makes it an area that should be organized in the most cost efficient matter. There are simple ways to instantly cut your print costs without the result being frustrated employees like the sales manager from the example was bound to be. But rules based printing does not need to be that. It can be way to promote sensible printing choices. Everyone will understand that an email does not need to be printed in color. But who takes the time to change the settings when they print? You can help your employees with standard configurations for print queues. Helping them select the most cost efficient method to print. You don’t force duplex or force monochrome, but you make it the standard configuration.
Convenience might lead to higher costs
Do you have a variety of devices? People might be inclined to print on the nearest device. Why would they not? They do not know what the cost is for each device. Nor could you expect them to. Well, you actually can help them with that. How about presenting them with a cost preview for the nearest devices? When they see the difference, they will likely choose the cheaper option available. Before they simply did not know, but now they do. Rules based policy printing is precisely that. A way to avoid unnecessary printing costs, while allowing people to do what they need, if and when they need to.
Back to the sales manager. With a flexible print policy, meaning that people can change the settings if they need to, this person would have finished his work without a single bit of frustration. He would hit print, change the settings so he would have great looking materials that would make an impact during his meeting the following day. That is what corporate policy printing should look like. Would you agree?