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5 most misunderstood facts about printing

As some companies strive for a paperless office, there are compelling reasons why the following theories are debatable.

  • It is bad for the planet
  • We do not need a printer
  • Snail mail is dead
  • Print is expensive
  • We are a digitised business

Printing is bad for the planet

Sometime last century, it may have been true that some chemicals used in printing were harmful to the planet. Modern printers, whether they be for home offices, small businesses or large enterprises use sustainable consumables such as inks, toner, and paper. Many print manufacturers have a life cycle assessment for production, which considers how the equipment is produced and what happens to it at the end of its life. How sustainable your printing is a choice for you and your business.

Firstly, you can choose office paper that is recycled and recyclable, does not contain bleaches and is Forest Stewardship Council Certified. Such paper is available at most office supply stores or supermarkets.

Most inkjet or laser printers used by small business, use ink only and not toner. Most of these inks are water-soluble, meaning that the ink is biodegradable, and will break down over time. Households and small offices can drop off laser and inkjet cartridges at Officeworks stores, Australia Post outlets, Cartridge World, and a host of other outlets.

For larger organisations, that used toner-based products toner and ink recycling programs are standard for printer buyers. These programs are part of the print manufacturers’ commitment to the environment. Companies, such as Canon, pay for the collection and recycling of their cartridges as part of their producer responsibility programs.

Canon is a founding partner of the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative and has a vision for effective stewardship of all used batteries. Canon also plays an active role in the TechCollect program, which recycles TVs and computers throughout Australia.

We do not need a printer any more

While print management has become much more efficient with digitisation, there are still some documents that must be printed and presented. While the pandemic has moved many industries to the cloud, modern offices need multifunction print devices (MFDs) to help manage their digitisation program.

Many suppliers still issue paper-based invoices, delivery dockets, contract fulfilment notes and other records that need to be scanned, stored, sorted, and made available to the end user. Modern printers or MFDs will perform these actions including hardware and software management. Using the correct printer can mean much lower costs and higher productivity, through integration of hardware and software. Process automation can result in considerable savings.

Snail mail is dead

While it is true the role of the letter has greatly diminished there are still certain customers and niches where direct mail works better than almost any other sector. For these customers and industries, print is not dead and snail mail still wins over other channels.

Direct marketing, particularly for charity fundraisers, is one such area. Research by Australia Post shows that 81% of consumers read their (snail) mail immediately compared to 63% for emails. Their research also showed that more people concentrate when they read printed mail compared to emails, and that the reader has a higher retention rate of what they read.

While snail mail may be slow and can be expensive, for certain customers and certain industries it is an investment in brand trust, the information is seen as credible and it can create a greater connection.

Print is expensive

Print, like any other cost associated with your business, needs to be managed. There are many ways to ensure that you get the best printer that delivers the greatest value for money in your circumstances.

You should buy the right sized piece of equipment for your business. Whether you need a consumer-level multifunction printer right through to a managed print service will depend on your business. Buy to fit your business and your plans for future growth. At a minimum, ensure your printer is networked, has scanning capability, is available from a reputable manufacturer and inks and accessories are readily available.

There is a saying in tech that if something (like Facebook) is free, then you are the product. Similarly, if a printer is very cheap upfront, it is likely that the ongoing costs may be higher than if you paid a little more up front and had reasonable ongoing costs.

You can manage your print expenses by ensuring that you only print what you need. Canon products can be configured to not print blank pages, to print on both sides (duplex printing) or print at lower format such as draft, to reduce ink usage.

One way to keep costs reasonable is to use quality paper and genuine ink cartridges. Poor quality paper sheds fibres into your equipment, which can end being very costly. Genuine cartridges will ensure you get the best possible output from your device.

Digitised businesses do not need printers

One of the biggest myths is that digitised businesses do not need printers. While the role of printers or MFDs has changed over the years, the device can be at the heart of your digitised business systems.

Your printer can be the place of capture of print documents, to scan and share them automatically with other parts of your enterprise resource management system. A properly implemented print strategy can ensure that you regain control of your costs, ensure your documents are secure, and can implement changes to achieve the ideal print environment for your business.

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