Despite the fact that the modern world has gone largely digital, traditional printing is still an important part of today’s business. Documents are created to serve any number of strategic purposes including generating sales, keeping employees informed of policy changes, sharing financial numbers with stockholders, and so on. But printing left unmanaged can become a hindrance to any business.

Companies willing to adopt print management as a strategic asset are able to continue using printed media to generate a better bottom line rather than taking from it. Statistics show many are doing just that.

A number of studies in recent years indicate roughly 60% of all American businesses utilize some sort of print management. Some manage printing in-house while others outsource to specialized companies. Just 4% say they have evaluated print management strategies and determined not to use them.

print management

Keeping Track of Who, What, and Why

Print management is the concept of combining all printing via copiers, fax machines and traditional printers under a single strategy to manage their use. The primary purpose for such a strategy is to reduce the cost of printing, thereby reducing waste and giving a company funds to invest elsewhere.

The main component of a print management strategy is to find out who is printing, what is being printed, and why it’s being printed. For example, individuals in the sales department might be making use of printed media in order to provide potential new customers with the visual information needed to make a sale.

Print management asks the who, what, and why to better understand whether or not the sales department could get by with less printing. When those questions are answered their printing needs can be better defined in order to maximize output and reduce cost. But it goes further than that.

Creating a Business

As a strategic asset print management is about more than just cost savings. It’s also about managing data and information in a way that creates a better business. In other words, by making sure information is printed by the right device and targeted at the right people, workers can better use that information in relation to their tasks.

The average office employee in America continues to use a shocking 10,000 sheets of copy paper yearly, according to statistics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But unmanaged printing doesn’t allow those workers to use their documents efficiently. And as any business manager knows, inefficiency hinders productivity. According to The Paperless Project:

  • The average document is copied 9 to 11 times.
  • 18 minutes is the average search time for a document.
  • Each misfiled document costs $125.
  • Each lost document costs $350 to $700.
  • Large organizations lose a document every 12 seconds.
  • Paper in the average business grows by 22% a year, meaning your paper will double in 3.3 years.

Using our previous example of a corporate sales team, let’s assume a single associate needs to spend 15 minutes of every hour sifting through documents to find information for the next call. He may even have to walk to other offices to retrieve the information he needs.

Proper print management targets the specific information the sales department requires and sends it directly to their printing device. This enables the sales associate to gather all his information at the start of the day and in one place. He now has more time throughout the day to devote to sales calls and negotiations.

It’s been estimated that just a 10% increase in the efficiency of information management can increase worker productivity, increase sales, and improve the return on assets. Managed printing is just one of the tools available for doing just that. It reduces printing costs and helps to create a better business.

Image by ESP Print Management