The Great Lie: Debunking the Paperless Office Myth

Kelly Mitchell| May 16, 2019

The construction of CityCenter Las Vegas was the largest private construction project in United States history at the time it was built. To serve the printing needs of this colossal project, a print center, complete with three full-time ARC employees, was set up.

By the end of the project, which began in 2006, ARC had billed somewhere in the range of $10M. But if the modern, digital infrastructure tools that ARC possesses today were made available to that project, the print spend would have been around $800,000.

Obviously, we can’t turn back the clock. But despite the availability of new tools, modern organizations are still spending 90 percent of what they did on print 10 years ago.

In a webcast called, The Great Lie: Debunking the Paperless Office Myth, Ted Buscaglia, Executive Vice President of Global Services explained why, despite the clear potential for cost savings, most organizations are spending more on print than they need to.

Why Are We Still Printing?

The reality is, the paperless office doesn’t exist. But why is that?

Buscaglia who, as EVP of Global Services, talks to the CFOs and CIOs of the world, breaks it down into four main reasons.

1- Most Organizations Are Not Ready to Go Paperless

Whether it’s a lack of in-house expertise and/or digital infrastructure, even modern organizations don’t have the systems in place to go paperless. Print vendors push the ideal of the paperless office but they neglect to mention the extensive security protocols, IT policies, and training needed to safely roll out a paperless approach.

2- The Volume of Content and Ease of Print Has Increased

Every employee in any organization faces a deluge of content when they sit down at their desk. That, along with the fact that mobile devices and tablets make it as easy as ever to print that content, has increased the volume of printing.

3- Your True Print Spend is Invisible

Print spend is buried in multiple line items of the P&L, including office supplies, software, and hardware. These costs are then spread across departments such as procurement, IT, operations, and finance which makes it difficult for anyone to truly understand their print spend.

4- Lack of Focus on Cost of Ownership

Because true print spend is difficult to pinpoint, procurement departments are only incentivized to reduce their cost to acquire print equipment. Many print vendors capitalize on this by offering relatively low lease rates and encouraging organizations to buy more printers than they need. Employees print more because there are more printers and vendors make their money on maintenance, toner, paper, software updates, and more.

What to Do About It

Buscaglia encourages executives to avoid trying to reach the ideals of the paperless office myth too soon. He points out that you can reduce costs and be more efficient while transitioning into a truly digital document management infrastructure. The idea, then, is not to strive to eliminate paper altogether, but to “plug the leaky faucets” and focus on cost of ownership rather than acquisition cost.

Plugging the Leaky Faucets

The “leaky faucets,” as Buscaglia puts it, that are common money-wasters among organizations are:

  • Lack of printing-based rules which results in wasted toner and paper and greater wear and tear.
  • Non-standard print fleet which causes organizations to hold on to old, unreliable and inefficient machines.
  • Ad-hoc purchasing with dozens of vendors results in closets full of unused print consumables.
  • Inability to examine print costs at a strategic level.
  • No purchasing policy for print-related items results in higher costs.

What is it that We Need to Do?

Buscaglia recommends a print audit that clearly spells out the cost of ownership before and after the audit. He says that any vendor you choose for a print audit should show you how much you’re spending and how much the new print infrastructure will save you. He adds that any vendor you choose should also be able to show you how they’re going to monitor and control your print spend based on cost of output.

This led Buscaglia into the conclusion of the webcast which detailed the typical results of a managed print services conversion (MPS), which include reductions in cost, electricity, paper use, and carbon output. Essentially, MPS plugs the leaky faucets, creates print spend transparency, and makes your organization more efficient.

Watch the full webcast or learn more about ARC’s managed print services to unlock the results discussed in this webcast.

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