Tag Archives: Paper

Managed Print Services. Paper Chasing! How paper has changed in our hi-tech world!

I’ve been working in the print industry in some shape or form for over 20 years and witnessed the migration from electronic typewriters to PC’s.

Emailing has become the staple method of communication, CRM systems allow us to manage our communications and how we interface with customers, the rise of social media another way of promoting yourself and your company’s brand.

These technological developments have impacted our working lives radically changing the way we work, how we interact with customers and as a result the way we use and interact with paper has also changed.

Or has it?

The lifecycle of a document use to be very simple.

A document would be created as a form or letter, it would be saved, printed and posted.

The letter would then be stored in a drawer or in an appropriately labelled file dependent on how often it would be accessed or, filed into obscurity until such times when you had a spare few minutes to go through your filing cabinets or drawers.

When information from the document was needed we’d hunt around for it, not always an easy task to remember where you filed it and which drawer you relegated that letter.

Once retrieved from storage it was copied if needed but this bit of paper involved a human interaction.

Finally, when the document was finished with, it was filed and returned to storage. A process repeated many times up and down organisations in the UK.

The problem with this filing method is it is very slow, prone to errors resulting in many documents being misappropriated or misfiled.

In the last ten years electronic document management has exponentially changed our working life’s. It has changed the way we interact and use paper. No longer perceived as a long term medium, human interaction with paper has changed from being a permanent record to a transient or short term interaction.

Paper storage hasn’t completely been relegated to the annals of history. It is still required in regulated industries and government but this is fast changing too as many of the permanent records of information are now being stored electronically!

You’d expect that with such a major shift to electronic document management paper work flows would be drastically reduced.

Statistics indicate paper usage is on the decline. The evolution of paper from a permanent record to a short-term bit of information has only changed how paper is used – not how much!

The shift has swung to documents being printed far more times from its electronic master when compared to antiquated filing systems.

Why is this happening?

Because there is still a preference for human beings to interact with paper or to interact with the information that is on the paper.

Think about how we use paper daily. We print the document, use it and then toss it in the bin when finished and then the next time you need it, you guessed it, you print it again repeating the process.

I don’t believe anyone can wholeheartedly put their hand up in the air and say they’ve never done it, we all do it daily unconsciously almost. It is a repeatable process.

The evolution of smartphones, tablets and the need to reference information sometimes makes it easier to work with paper!

Let me quickly illustrate, I’m writing this blog and am working from material and articles that I’ve researched and annotated. If I have two screens easy but its actually quite difficult to switch between what I am writing and what I am reading. Yes, I know I can minimise but its still not that easy.

Even with advent of great mobile apps like Goodreader, webnotes all of which are useful note annotators, it is just not the same as working from the printed article!

Where you can scribble, hi-light and make notes using a pen!

Which validates the statement I made above, people like interacting with the information on paper. The only difference is the way in which we interact with paper, it is very different than we did say twenty years ago!

With most business processes still reliant on paper output for records, transactions, reference or simply for better readability the best solution is to print smarter with print management and apply print policies to ensure that when a document is printed it is printed securely and on the most cost effective device.

Employing managed print services (MPS) will track print usage enable, duplex printing rather than simplex printing when needed, print mono rather than colour, encourage users to be made aware of what they are printing and why they are printing it, how many times they’ve printed the same document and how much its costing the organisation.

MPS will also give users the relevant tools to ensure they make the right printing decisions such as pop up alerts that recommend a different printer for the job they are printing.

Paper as a permanent record held in storage is declining, paper as a substrate isn’t going anywhere.

The use of paper can be better managed with achievable cost, security and improved workflow results.

What do you think?

Do you have a paperless office? If so how have you achieved it?
Is your office under siege with paper?
Would you like to implement a reduced print policy?
What about employees? Do you have a no print policy but find it difficult for staff to employ your no print policy?
Share your thoughts please or post a comment.
We’d love to hear what you think!

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Can We Really Have a Paperless Office?

desk full of paper

Look at your desk and what do you see?

You’ve likely got a pile of papers waiting to be filed, responded to, to be actioned and irrespective of how organised you are and what technology you use to streamline your document flow your organisation will be managing a steady stream of paper.

Twenty years ago when I began in the print industry selling”electronic printing services” or print and mailing services, my Manager said to me ‘of course we might only have ten possibly fifteen years of using paper or a need for our services‘, in other words, paper will be dead, defunct no longer needed!

Paper less offices would be a reality.

There is a misconception that by removing paper from the office will make for a more sustainable and productive office!

There is a misconception that by removing paper from the office will make for a more sustainable and productive office!

I shuddered at the thought and I can recall that conversation well because what actually went through my mind at that given moment was ” yikes, a loo without paper, how will that work then, meaning what medium could possibly replace paper let alone toilet paper?”

I am relieved to say that paper is still being used in vast quantities daily although the volume has declined unquestionably over the last decade. Paper is used in some shape or form everyday and has a profound impact on our lives it’s a commodity I suspect that we take for granted.

I know some of you will be screaming what about the damage it’s having on the environment and the trees that are being cut down…daily; I should like to proffer the following facts:

  • 94.4% of paper comes from Europe
  • Since 1950 forests in western europe have increased by 30%
  • In Europe the forest area is increasing in size at a rate of 1.5million football pitches per year

(Courtesy of www.twosides.info)

Back in October 2005, Bill Gates Head of Microsoft said we are on the verge of a paperless office with increasing electronic communication and the convenience of web based cloud solutions and an increasing awareness of the environment has led many companies to print less and e-mail more!

But has it?

I am confronted on my visits to customers offices with mountains of paper on desks! Often with the polite excuse “sorry, I’ll just make some space for you”. Why is it there is still an inextricable paper trail?

Don’t get me wrong part of our services is print and mailing that is the cornerstone of our business and we are proud of the way we have provided excellent value for money paper based solutions for many companies over the years.

I don’t wish to see paper go in any shape or form we must support our printing industry in the UK and I am very definitely in the camp that believes paper and electronic can co-exist.

e-billing...Electronic communication and the energy that drives our ever increasing network of servers necessary to hold our data is having a significant impact on the UK’s overall carbon footprint.

Whilst electronic storage of documents and e-communications are universally viewed as being efficient, effective and manageable, it is not necessarily sustainable. In the UK it has been suggested that within the next 10 years PC’s and servers could well consume 50% of the UK’s energy requirements which is quite a staggering thought given the costs associated with importing our energy needs.

The big companies are perpetuating paperless billing citing its “environmentally friendly” because less paper means less recycling. Recently Martyn Eustace, Director at two sides wrote a compelling letter to the CEO at Google Inc. stating the organisation’s concern regarding google’s campaign to ‘go paperless in 2013’ its compelling reading particularly in light of how hard the industry has and is continuing to work to eradicate the myths associated with the print industry which include the destruction of rain forests, making paper is bad for the environment and my favourite, that print and paper is a wasteful product.

In reality, approximately 60% of consumers leave a PC on in the home and will be printing off information electronically sent for reading and filing so although a company may have succeeded in moving the consumer to a paperless process in actual fact the cost has been removed from the organisation and has been placed squarely on the shoulders of the likes of you and me.

I would counter that the cost per head for printing at home probably far outweighs the printing and mailing of a document produced centrally!

Paper is renewable, sustainable and is vital for the well being of the print and paper industry, a world without paper, shudder at the thought.

Whilst for some the utopian ideal is a paper free office let me leave you with this thought, a digital image of your son or daughter holding the award or cup they won is but a fleeting moment but a photo captures the essence of that moment, it can evoke a feeling of sheer joy and emotion because it lives on forever in your memory!

What do you think? Are you in favour of a paperless office or do you believe that paper still has a very important part to  play in our offices? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

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