While it seems counterintuitive that printing equipment can reduce waste, it is a benefit of modern, state-of-the-art technology that many businesses do not take advantage of. The fact is that excessive paper waste is still a problem for a great number of organizations around the world.
While people have largely moved on from paper in their personal lives thanks to increasingly powerful mobile technologies, the business world has been slower to respond in kind. In many cases, executives and administrators are reluctant to eliminate paper-based workflows.
There are many reasons why this is the case. Some decision-makers are hesitant to alter workflows that have been proven to work. Introducing new ones may produce value in theory, but require employee retraining to implement properly. Others are bound to their paper-based workflows due to regulatory obligations. Especially in the finance, government, services, and transport sectors.
However, there are ways to reduce waste even if you cannot leave paper behind entirely. The benefits are twofold – not only does paper account for 50 percent of overall business waste, but getting more done with less paper improves your overall profitability by reducing overhead.
At first glance, it might seem like there would be no difference between printers when it comes to paper waste. After all, whether an employee prints a form on a 25-year old printer or on the newest Canon printer, the result is one piece of printed paper.
While this makes sense logically, it misses out on several important realities of working in an office environment. Newer, more powerful printers can help offices generate significant savings in paper usage in the following ways.
While double-sided printing is not new, the ability to enforce strict, pre-programmed rules on duplex printing is. Older printers that support duplex printing typically rely on the operator to print one side of the paper, pull it from the output tray and then insert it face-down in the input tray for the second pass. This puts all of the responsibility on the employee, who can easily forget which documents require duplex printing and which ones do not.
Some printers support single-pass duplex printing but still require the employee to select the option. This is better from a workflow perspective. However, it does not account for employees forgetting which documents require duplex printing and which ones do not. The best solution is a high-performance printer that can intelligently determine which documents require duplex printing, according to pre-programmed rules.
For most organizations, there is no need to print faxes anymore. Not only are faxed documents inherently wasteful – they take up two pieces of paper to transmit a single document page – but moving beyond them is easy to do. Most modern printers support fax forwarding, a process that automatically forwards incoming faxes to email.
Beyond reducing paper waste, there are numerous benefits to fax forwarding. For instance, you can choose between document formats to make the resulting document digitally editable. You also enjoy increased security since faxed documents no longer sit in an output tray for any passersby to see.
Similar to fax forwarding, scanning paper documents to email instead of copying them reduces paper waste. Scan-to-email functionality lets employees send digital copies of documents to multiple destinations. Instead of copying documents multiple times and consuming a paper with each pass, you can restrict paper use to the original document only.
Combining a scan-to-email paperless workflow with mobile compatibility makes document processing even faster and more efficient. This empowers employees to use approved mobile devices. Instead of waiting for a physical document to arrive, a mobile user can edit, process, and send a digital document directly from a tablet or smartphone.
With the dramatic rise of printer cybersecurity exploits over the past few years, using obsolete or unsecured equipment has become increasingly risky. Until recently, network-enabled printers were factory set to accept all incoming connections. This made them very attractive targets for cybercriminals, who could gain access to an entire network through the loophole.
The most modern network-enabled printers of the moment keep documents secured in encrypted hard drives and only print them when an authorized employee inputs a code or scans an RFID chip. This authentication process ensures that documents don’t end up in the wrong hands. For organizations that use and process sensitive data, this is incredibly important.
From a paper waste reduction standpoint, this functionality eliminates the risk of losing documents and re-printing them. In most offices, multiple employees share print resources and when one employee walks up to the output tray to collect their documents, they inadvertently take their co-workers’ documents as well.
There is much more to state-of-the-art printing than getting higher quality images using less ink or toner. Today’s most advanced multifunction devices can help you reduce paper waste, increase office efficiency, and boost productivity in ways that older machines simply cannot compete with.
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