If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. – Peter Drucker
Transformation. Mobility. Agility. Productivity. Workplace of the future. If you spend any time reading about IT, you’ve encountered these and other buzzwords (and seen ads touting vendor-specific solutions for all of them too).
There is some great food for thought in much of this writing. There’s also often a lack of specificity about what action you can take to begin to “digitally transform” your business.
A few weeks ago, I wrote this post (Your Copier Can Kick Start Your Digital Transformation) inspired by research from Xerox.
As I read the research, I realized in one of the great ironies of getting to the cutting edge of IT, one of the ways to begin to digitally transform your business begins with your copier, paper, and printing. That’s right, a 150-year old technology (the copier) and a 2,000 year old technology (paper) are part of becoming a digital business.
Office equipment dealers (that’s folks like us) are positioned to help guide your company from one world to the next (or keeping you living in a paper and digital world, depending on your business’ needs).
I’ll focus on one tip for digital transformation for the remainder of this post. Here it is:
Turn on your print analysis tools and USE THEM!
You’re not going to be able to successfully trim printing and copying costs unless you know how much you print and copy, what you print and copy, and who (departments and individuals) prints and copies.
Know Your Metrics
Your print analysis tools will show you how much paper your office churns out, including:
- How much you’re printing
- Printing in color or black and white
- Who is printing (individuals and departments)
- Peak times for printing (daily, weekly, monthly)
- Which devices are being used to print and copy
The Xerox research shows that 90% of respondents have good tools to analyze employee print habits, but only 45% of them actually fully use those tools.
Here’s how that’s making you miss out on digitization:
“Most documents today start their life on a computer, a tablet, a smartphone – devices that offer easy sharing and storage. Why would anyone print them? Yet they do. Large organizations typically print hundreds of millions of pages every year. How can you hope to pull down paper-based barriers if you don’t understand where, when, and why all of this printing is happening?”
If you’re thinking that this isn’t relevant to you because you’re a small office and you print thousands and not millions of documents; I’ll just say that everything is relative – especially to your bottom line. Printed and copied documents cost pennies per document, but add up those pennies over time for documents that are printed or copied just to be thrown away and that pocket change starts to look more like real money.
Analytics Key to Digitization Success
Once you turn on tracking, you’ll begin to notice where paper use is high – potential opportunities for automation and improving business workflow.
With print rules, you can begin to change your offices print habits to take advantage of the most cost-effective output devices (or eliminate the need to print at all).
When you notice pockets of high paper use in your business, a quick internal interview can reveal why people are printing so much. This can save you time and expense in consulting and give you a head start on identifying areas where digitization and automation efforts could have the biggest bang for your buck.
Start using your print analytics capabilities and unlock your digitization opportunities.