Traditional printing for businesses, usually an ad-hoc system put together by an it department that is not looking at the whole picture, means heaps of extra documents, printing multiple versions for different people, and an overflowing bin by the water cooler labeled “recycling.”

Different departments often buy printing supplies from different vendors on a one-off basis. This is extremely costly. It digs into the productivity of workers. Workers must then source supplies and that extends the downtime to other workers who are in need of something printed, such as engineers.

"Fortunately, new solutions are emerging that look at document and print management as a complete picture with many overlapping parts."

Old-fashioned document management is not much better, which is apparent in the way that employees handle physical documents. According to NowDocs, 15 percent of papers are lost by work groups, and 7.5 percent of papers will never be found again. They reckon that 90 percent of documents are merely shuffled when handled, and that it costs an average of about $120 to track down a missing document. 

Becoming more efficient 

Fortunately, new solutions are emerging that look at document and print management as a complete picture with many overlapping parts. By analyzing the costs and needs involved for each part, efficiency as a whole is improved. For example, individual print stations were proving very costly, so new systems emphasize group printing.

These improvements are also thanks to better technology and access to the cloud, essentially online computing power and storage space. Documents can be printed remotely to save time and can be edited in the cloud, with more devices such as smartphones, reserving the printing for only the final version of a document or report. 

Implementing solutions

Skipping this printing step until it is absolutely necessary is great news for productivity, but going entirely digital is even better. While it will never be possible to be completely paperless (certain documents require a physical signature), digitizing records makes for easier reference and is actually more secure than leaving physical records that could be destroyed by fire or flood.

Putting all of this together adds up to a big cost saver. According to HID, a print management system can save up to $220 per employee per year.