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going-green

Sustainability, social responsibility and profits

A sound managed print services strategy keeps companies in the green

Can organizations really do better by doing good? Caring about the bottom line and about the greater good aren’t mutually exclusive goals. Customers and business partners want to work with companies that are environmentally responsible. One place to start is with managed print services (MPS).

“MPS results in fewer devices, fewer pages and recycled cartridges—all of which have an impact on sustainability. Plus, we’re able to transform business processes by scanning documents and routing them through the workflow — to avoid printing them in the first place,” said Kyle Farmer, vice president of Lexmark MPS sales and marketing. “We’ve found that companies save up to 20% of their printed output by implementing this type of solution. That has a huge impact on the environment.”

MPS has always worked in favor of the environment. More efficient use of print fleets translates into smarter energy and material consumption.  Smart multifunction products (MFPs) and print release solutions (employees must authenticate at the MFP to release print jobs) result in fewer pages printed and more trees saved.

Industrial supplier W.W. Grainger uses Lexmark MPS and print release to reduce unnecessary printing. According to Chris Brown, Grainger’s director of client platform services, “Lexmark Print Release helped us save an average of 46 trees a month; that is around three tons of paper. To date, we have saved 792 trees.”

Further environmental benefits—as well as productivity gains and cost savings—result from using automated workflow solutions to capture and route essential information without printing, copying, rekeying or physically transporting documents.

Unum Group, a provider of financial protection benefits in the U.S. and U.K., implemented Lexmark MPS with custom MFP workflow applications. Now, Unum employees can access more than 30 critical business processes directly from the eTask touch screen interface on Lexmark MFPs. Employees can walk up to any Lexmark MFP, select the process they want to complete, put the document in the scanner, follow the onscreen prompts, and the required steps happen automatically in the background. The automated approach is eliminating the need to fax documents, courier or mail them between offices and it’s freeing up a great deal of square footage previously spent on hardcopy document storage.

“If you can take paper out, then you contribute back to the good of the environment. So we consider managed print services and sustainability to be close kin,” said Farmer.

Socially responsible companies complement each other’s success

“We work directly with a set of customers and partners who focus on sustainability and corporate social responsibility for the same reasons we do—because it’s good for business, good for the environment and good for our communities,” said John Gagel, corporate manager of sustainability for Lexmark.  “It’s really win-win-win.”

As part its sustainability program, Lexmark works with The Nature Conservancy to help MPS customers further minimize their carbon footprint by donating and planting trees to offset the remaining impact of printing.

In addition, Lexmark and The PGA of America have a goal to plant 2016 trees by The PGA of America’s 100th Anniversary in 2016. This partnership began with a goal to offset the paper consumption from printing that took place during the Ryder Cup Championship in August 2012 and has grown to be part of The PGA’s commitment to the communities in which their championships are held.

Forging partnerships like these allows companies to make a tangible difference for the environment while also fostering each other’s sustainability success.

Managing change

When moving away from desktop devices and paper-based processes, a change management process is beneficial. By promoting the environmental benefits of fewer devices and print release, companies can smooth the transition for their personnel. “Now employees who have resisted walking to a printer understand they’re part of the greater good,” said Gagel.  “They’re going to lessen the impact on the environment while improving business processes.”

MPS vendors can provide data to help employees understand the sustainability benefits of the changes. “When you appeal to that part of a person’s psyche, it helps get them through the changes a little easier,” said Gagel.

Connecting with like-minded companies

Asking detailed questions through the RFP process is one way to link with companies that also value social responsibility.  According to Gagel, “Potential customers want to know how we’re helping others become more sustainable.”

For organizations looking to partner with companies who put muscle behind their sustainability claims, reviewing the company’s corporate social responsibility report is an excellent starting point. These reports provide a wealth of credible data.

This type of information also helps with talent attraction and retention. Gagel notes that top recruits are increasingly asking about Lexmark’s stance on social issues and community involvement.

MPS powers environmental efforts and profits

Companies that use managed print services reap cost savings and process improvements from printing less, consolidating devices and streamlining workflows. Beyond these benefits though, MPS is a star player in environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Simply put, customers want to do business with environmentally-aware companies, employees want to work for environmentally-aware companies, and other businesses want to partner with environmentally-aware companies. It just makes sense to go green.