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    How to move printing in-house

    OKI printer producing 1.2m banner and CD covers

    A recent study by leading business research body the Centre for Economics and Business Research (cebr) has suggested that businesses in the EMEA region could save a staggering $25,000 million by changing the way they manage their printing, and in particular by bringing more of their print requirements in-house.

    While it may not necessarily be well quantified in any management system, print is a large element in any company’s overheads. The US Environmental Energies National Laboratory estimates that each worker is responsible for 10,000 printed pages a year, equivalent to 50kg of paper.

    It makes sense to reduce the amount of print that is required, and to minimise the cost of that printing. The cebr study suggests that, by implementing a modern approach to document handling and bringing as much in-house as is practical, businesses could expect to save as much as 30% of their costs overall.

    It is important to understand that these savings are attainable without compromising in any way the quality of the print work. Changing the print policy depends on taking advantage of recent developments in both document handling and printer technology: there is now no reason why you should not achieve consistently high quality results in-house.

    In summary, the principle is to print just what you need, when you want it, where you want it. It boosts cashflow, saves storage space and distribution costs, ensures accuracy and timeliness, boosts efficiency and greatly reduces waste. Here are just a few ways in which print costs can be saved.

    Do not outsource the print of letterheads or invoice blanks, or any other standard stationery. There is absolutely no need to have two print processes when one would do, and printers from innovative companies like OKI Printing Solutions are perfectly capable of accurately printing logos and layouts within tight colour tolerances.

    Keep brochures and data sheets online, which is where most customers expect to find them now. They can download and (if they need to) print them at their premises; you can print just those copies you need, for display or for special purposes such as an exhibition. It means you can keep the information up to date without having to pulp old brochures, and you can be sure there is no chance of old information remaining in circulation.

    Paper has two sides so use them both. Duplex printers for double-sided output are now widely available, fast, and reliable in paper handling. Double-sided printing means half the paper cost.

    Use the right printer for the job. High speed, high volume collating devices are available for when you need multiple copies of a large document, so staff should not need to tie up a desktop printer all day. Save colour printers for colour printing and use a mono printer when you can.

    Guard your commercial confidentiality. Your competitors may use the same print shop chain as you do, printing in-house is much more secure and allows you to keep control of your confidential information.

    In-house printing is about more than plain paper. Today’s printers are comfortable with a very wide range of stock. If you want a glossy brochure – print it onto gloss board. Want to give a presentation a luxurious feel – print it on to high white, heavier paper. Need self-adhesive, sequentially numbered barcode labels for products and packaging, or customised CDs or DVDs – specialist printers can be added to the network for special applications like this, or by using software supplied in the box from Oki a “standard” printer can be used to print variable data.

    Print where you need the copy rather than where the data is; If you want copies of a brochure in Hong Kong, better to print it there than shipping it from the home office (even if it means using an outsourced print shop).

    These seem simple and obvious points but, combined with the latest in print technology from an advanced and innovative supplier like OKI Printing Solutions, they can deliver real results in terms of reducing costs and saving management time. Putting the right print solutions in place boosts staff efficiency and boosts their enthusiasm.

    The brand values of a business are still judged, in part, by the quality of its printed material. The good news is that by applying good print management a business can make worthwhile savings in overheads – particularly significant in this time of financial turmoil – without in any way compromising the quality of its documentation or its impact on potential customers.

    Tips for better environmental performance through better printing

    Sand Martin Wood - OKI's woodland in Cumbria

    Environment has become a critical issue for the past few years and most people started to realize that they have to take a more responsible attitude to their consumption of energy and carbon emissions. This is not just a matter of being a good neighbour: increasingly it is becoming a central part of doing business. The prospect of legally enforced carbon quotas and trading schemes is near. Many companies, keen to establish their own green credentials, expect the highest environmental standards from their own suppliers, and being able to demonstrate best practices could mean the difference between winning and losing major contracts.

    The idea that a single business change process could both save money and reduce the carbon footprint must be extremely attractive, then. There is such a subject, and it comes from a surprising quarter, something that rarely attracts much management time: business printing.

    The Centre for Economics and Business Research (cebr) has completed a major study into this subject, across 23 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Smarter print management – controlling costs and environmental impacts suggests that by taking a new approach, and in particular adopting the latest printer technology and print management systems, enterprises can bring much of the print that was traditionally outsourced back in-house, resulting in savings of as much as $25,000 million across EMEA. For the UAE only, cebr estimates that savings could reach between AED 238 million to AED 540 million.

    But the study did not just identify cost savings, cebr estimates that by saving waste and by printing at the point of need 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions could be saved each year across EMEA, equivalent to taking 400,000 cars off the road or the emissions from 750,000 long-haul flights.

    The changes needed to realise these savings are not difficult: they simply need you to take a fresh look at how you manage printing, from letters and invoices through brochures and documentation to labels and packaging.

    How are these savings achieved? Through three simple steps: print what you want, where you want it, when you want it. This is the route to cutting waste, which in turn is the key to saving both cost and emissions.

    Print what you want. The conventional logic is that when you use an external print house you print in bulk for economies of scale. The converse of this is that you then have to allocate space to storing all this printed paper.

    More to the point, once it is printed it is fixed. You introduce a bold new feature on a product or service; you have thousands of brochures, not mentioning the new feature, in stock. Do you add a supplementary sheet? Do you pulp the existing brochures and reprint? How do you ensure that all stocks of the old document are withdrawn from circulation?

    Today you have to produce brochures and data sheets in online form, because customers expect to be able to access product information from the web. Ensuring these online versions are fully up to date is easy. When you need a copy – for a proposal, to sit in a rack in reception, maybe a small stock for an exhibition – print just the copies you need.

    Why do you need printed letterheads or invoice blanks? Today’s printers are perfectly capable of achieving the resolution and colour fidelity to reproduce logos and layouts as well as the text. Why expend energy on two print processes when one will do?

    Finally, ensure that duplex printers are used whenever possible. Printing on both sides of the paper halves the number of sheets you need.

    Print where you want it. It is an obvious point, but if you print in bulk, it has to be delivered – probably by diesel-fuelled truck – to your premises. If you have multiple offices, the chances are it will have to be shipped from headquarters to branches, again consuming energy unnecessarily.

    Change your working practices to embrace document management. Scan incoming documents so that everything can be handled within your organisation as files, from the customer order to the barcode label, from the enquiry to the invoice. Edit, annotate and create electronically; print only when you need a paper copy.

    Around your own buildings, carefully review workflows and see where printers are needed. Give staff ready access to printers for their own, one-off requirements. That should include black and white as well as colour printers to get the best performance and efficiency. Put high speed collating bulk printers in a dedicated print centre. Serial numbered barcode labels should be printed at the point in the production line where you stick the label onto the product.

    Exhibiting in Las Vegas or Hong Kong or Cape Town? Shipping brochures and other documents is wasted air freight. Email the documents you need to your local agent – or even a print shop at the exhibition centre – and print there. A real saving in carbon emissions.

    Print when you want it. Stationery stores are a waste of office space, heating and light. Eliminate so far as possible printing in advance and you eliminate the storage issue. It also means, as we have seen, that the information will be completely accurate and up to date.

    Do not think that printing in-house means that everything comes out on plain paper. Printers are available that print onto paper at any size and onto any stock: if you want your brochure on a glossy board, print onto it.

    There is no reason why changing the way you manage your business print should affect the quality of the results. But it will save money and significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

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