Now that the world is recognising the importance of sustainability, many organisations are moving green initiatives up the corporate agenda.
But to successfully meet their goals, companies need to rethink their approach to certain business processes. According to Forrester, one of the most significant opportunities you have to improve sustainability is how you procure your organisation’s equipment.
This can be an especially daunting task if your business depends on a fleet of print hardware. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of print sustainability and how a Managed Print Service (MPS) provider can drive improvement throughout your organisation.
The challenges of achieving sustainability
With the pressure to reduce environmental impact mounting, 60% of organisations are expediting their targets and are now aiming to be completely net zero by 2030, per Quocirca’s 2022 report. In fact, that pressure is only expected to grow, with sustainability likely to be the top business priority by 2025.
Becoming a sustainable business requires ample forethought and dedication, especially when it comes to printing. As a staple process for almost every business, it’s unrealistic to think that printing can be abandoned entirely. Therefore, print sustainability isn’t about eliminating paper, it’s about eliminating waste in any and all ways possible.
This is easier said than done without the proper solutions in place. If you lack visibility into your print infrastructure, you can’t appropriately monitor print usage or track consumables. This blindspot inevitably leads to wasted resources and a larger carbon footprint.
And if you purchase equipment, you’re responsible for the upkeep of the hardware. These costs can be excessive if you aren’t promoting sustainable printing habits that prolong the life of your devices, and may lead you to put off regular maintenance. In turn, printers may break down sooner and require more frequent replacement.
The good news is that simple changes can greatly improve sustainability, especially when you have an MPS vendor at your side implementing them wherever possible.
Support green initiatives with green hardware
Purchasing your hardware outright is certainly a worthwhile investment if you’re equipped with the resources to properly manage and maintain them. Leasing is a sufficient alternative that can also support your green initiatives by helping you acquire more sustainable hardware.
According to Quocirca, the top three environmental factors when choosing sustainable print products are:
- Energy efficiency: Many Brother devices, for example, include climate-friendly features like Eco Mode, which optimises the machine’s energy consumption
- Sustainable ink/toner: Features like Toner Save mode help you use only what you need to and prolong the life of consumables
- Environmental certification: Be sure your products are provided by vendors that are ISO 14001 certified to ensure environmental sustainability
Because leasing doesn’t require a large upfront investment, it can be paid for on a rental basis. This extra capital allows you to invest in other sustainability initiatives throughout your business. MPS vendors also help you replace aging equipment with newer, greener devices in bulk.
Leveraging print analytics to your advantage
Whether your print infrastructure consists of just a handful of devices or thousands of them, it’s important to make sure they’re being used as efficiently and sustainably as possible. When you lease equipment from an MPS vendor, you unite all of your devices under one roof, allowing you to monitor and measure print workflows.
Better yet, an MPS provider can take responsibility for managing your print fleet so you can focus on improving sustainability in other areas of your business. Through a cloud print management system like PaperCut, a vendor can monitor your print ecosystem, identify inefficiencies, eliminate wasteful printing and promote greener habits in a number of ways:
- Print quotas: MPS can help you set print quotas for employees so they never exceed their allotted amount
- Rapid intervention: With eyes on your print environment, you can quickly halt an excessive or wasteful print job
- Policy enforcement: MPS can help you mandate more sustainable habits, like two-sided (duplex) or monochrome-only printing
- Analytics: Vendors can compile reports of how users are printing, how often they print and how much paper they use per print job
Complete life cycle management
A critical component of improving sustainability in your print infrastructure is how you take care of your devices during their lifespan. From beginning to end, an MPS partner is a valuable resource throughout the entire asset life cycle:
- Beginning: The best vendors work with you to identify, deploy and install your print hardware as efficiently as possible. This means they ensure your devices are set up to your standards and are optimising consumables from the very beginning
- Middle: Once you have your hardware, you need to maintain it. MPS providers take care of maintenance for you, thus extending the longevity of your leased equipment and ensuring devices are up and running when you need them most
- End: MPS providers also manage end-of-life-cycle services for both your leased equipment and their consumables. These may include hardware buybacks and recycling programs, such as Brother’s partnership with Cartridges 4 Planet Ark
No matter the size of your fleet, you need to ensure your devices are sourced and operated sustainably. When you partner with us, you gain the experience and expertise of our specialists who can evaluate your print ecosystem and identify areas of improvement, not to mention a fleet of cutting-edge, eco-friendly print solutions.
Learn more about how our Managed Print Services can support sustainability in your organisation by scheduling a free, no-commitment print assessment today.