Along with AI, agile working and cloud solutions, one of the most talked about subjects is still how to reduce paper consumption. A few years ago there were a lot of predictions about the paperless office. However for many businesses it’s not quite reality. Yet working towards a ‘lesspaper’ or ‘paper lite’ office is still a priority. Technology is there to assist, and if your goal is to reduce paper consumption then you should look at implementing the following solutions;
User authentication at the printer before releasing print jobs, is another way to reduce paper consumption. This will help to stop users leaving their documents at the printer uncollected. Or sending documents to the wrong printer and needing to reprint their documents. Many firms report savings of around 30% in paper reduction once they have implemented such a solution. This will also enhance your firm’s security levels, by not allowing documents to sit at a printer unattended. Something more and more clients are requesting of their business partners.
As the paperless office isn’t quite there yet, or will ever be, you need to look at where you print the most. We have found a lot of wasted printing comes from emails. A tool that lets users select the threads they need to print from an email will reduce print waste significantly. As most users only really want the last thread when filing or reviewing
In order to reduce anything in life, you need to measure where you are at. Then set a goal for where you want to be, and continually monitor how you are getting on. Think weight loss as an example. So when reducing your paper consumption you also need to know what your current state is. So you can pin point the areas for improvement and then keep monitoring this. You need to be able to track your users printing. So you know what applications are printing the most, what users are printing colour too much, or only in simplex format. It is surprising how many firms want to reduce paper, but don’t manage and measure.
A majority of documents often get printed out only to be filed away and never referenced again. A Document Management System (DMS) creates a secure digital filling system, helping to reduce printing and paper consumption. Just like a library for books, but an electronic one. It’s all well and good wanting to reduce paper and store documents electronically. But if you don’t store these electronic documents in a place where you can easily search document names and content. Then going paperless becomes a pointless exercise in part. Imagine going into a library and asking for a book you want. But they don’t have referencing or a way to search for it. So you’re told “it’s in here somewhere”, and you have to walk down every isle and read every book spine to find what you’re looking for!
Help to reduce paper consumption by eliminating the need to print out documents. Implement a tool that allows you to compile, annotate and edit documents of all types. Whether that’s PDF, Excel or Word documents, so you can work on the digital document the same way you do with paper. Accessing all your needed documents in one place will help to reduce the need to print. And users won’t need to carry around a paper file anymore. Selecting a solution with an app will mean they can access their documents on mobile devices, assisting with paperless working.
We can’t be sure if the paperless office will ever be a reality. But trying to reduce paper consumption is still a top objective for firms. Aiming for a ‘lesspaper’ or ‘paper lite’ office is doable, but you need to choose the right tech.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the technology we discuss contact us
This article is an updated version of our 2014 article ‘3 Must Have Technologies to Reduce Paper Consumption’