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Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

Efficiencies should begin at the printer

12-Feb-2018
Efficiencies should begin at the printer
Today’s workplace demands efficiency – a growing pressure felt by every IT department and IT leader. In fact, business leaders are looking to their IT teams to speed up and simplify processes across the board, as well as identifying technologies that will enable their business to adapt, evolve and stay competitive.

While many businesses are turning their attentions to achieving efficiencies in the cloud, and are being seduced by “sexy” enterprise technology trends like big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), they are often overlooking the most obvious opportunity to boost efficiencies: the humble office printer.

This is a mistake, as the printer, commonly viewed as a commodity, has the potential to be a force for good in business - creating an immediately positive impact on efficiency and cost savings. Epson’s WorkForce Enterprise printers[1], for example, use up to 88% less energy compared to lasers. With low waste supplies and a simple working mechanism, the WorkForce Enterprise reduces the environmental impact of print by providing a low-power solution with fewer supplies required. It’s estimated that managing office equipment effectively can reduce the overall energy consumption of an office by up to 70%, and selecting the right printer can form a key part of this. In a wider context, if every business in the UK switched to Epson Business Inkjet printers, it would save enough power to run at least 60,000 households.

Upgrading an office printer also brings with it the likelihood of decreasing your business’ carbon footprint. Given the UK government’s recent pledge to renew the tax on carbon emissions in the 2017 Autumn Budget, this is not a subject which businesses can afford to be laissez-faire about. Smart printers can reduce office carbon emissions by cutting down on the number of unnecessary pages printed in a document. They also make it impossible to accidentally print documents when intending to simply save the file or perform any other action, as final confirmation at the printer is needed, instead of employees accidentally printing from their desk unnecessarily.

Printers have the capability to reduce expenditure, save time and help reinforce a business’ commitment to environmentally-friendly processes. However, selection is vital here. While the right printers can achieve all these goals, many offer false promises of economy and savings. Therefore, it’s vital that office managers and decision-makers spend time selecting the specific printer that is right for their office, and not just the cheapest on the market or most publicised.

Firstly, it’s important to settle on whether an inkjet or laser solution is most suitable. Epson favours inkjet over laser printing, as we believe it represents a highly flexible technology that provides business benefits that laser cannot match. Inkjet printers have a low start-up cost and are normally less expensive than lasers, and replacement ink cartridges are generally cheaper than toner cartridges. Companies that choose to invest in inkjet can achieve considerable results when it comes to cost-efficiency and savings – for example, statistics suggest companies using inkjet technology can decrease their energy consumption by 96%, their required maintenance by 98%, and their waste levels by up to 99%. Epson’s business inkjet printers also have the potential to use up to 92% less CO2[2] than laser products.

It’s also important to note that the rest of the business world is starting to think the same way; the IDC has forecast a 10.2% growth in the business inkjet market between 2016 and 2020[3], showing that Epson’s faith in inkjet technology is well founded.

Businesses can also save time by upgrading to the most suitable printer. Apart from the immediately obvious benefit (newer printers process pages on average ten times faster than older ones), the entire printing process is now laid out in less complicated ways that are easier to navigate for the user. There are now less steps between sending a document to print and it appearing in physical form, which, when added up over thousands of printed pages, will deliver companies with more time efficient ways of working. Printers such as the Epson WorkForce Pro RIPS models[4] also save time through their operating procedures – the Replaceable Ink Pack System (RIPS) technology uses super-high-yield ink supply units for printing up to 84,000 pages between ink changes. This eliminates most of the physical waste involved in printing when compared to equivalent colour laser printers, as well as reducing time, hassle and environmental impacts.

It’s easy to say that businesses need to constantly be on the lookout for technologies that can improve their operating efficiencies, but sometimes companies can overlook the easiest and simplest ways of doing so. Upgrading to the right business printing solution will save your company money and time, while also ensuring the company remains environmentally friendly. Failure to do so on the other hand could lead to a world of administrative inefficiency and wasted resources.

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