Lexmark wants users to print less

Lexmark (NYSE: LXK) wants to stop printed page growth. That’s the message from the lips of Matthew Barnicoat, national manager of professional services and solutions for Lexmark Canada Inc., based in Richmond Hill, Ont.

The printer manufacturer wants instead to begin a cultural change where office workers move information faster, and print smarter.

Printer prices have been dropping for the past 10 years, but printing has increased between eight and 12 per cent during that stretch of time, Barnicoat said.

Lexmark is so serious about this that they’ve begun shipping printers with duplex defaults, which allows for double-sided printing, out of the box. Duplexing takes away 40 per cent of the global warming potential for every 1,000 pages printed, he said.

According to Barnicoat, printing is the most uncontrolled part of a company’s budget. “They don’t have any means of controlling what they’re printing. They can set a benchmark to become 10 per cent cheaper, but unless they can change the way people work or put a solution in that does the job for them then they’ll still be moving paper,” he said.

When people sit in a boardroom to view a PowerPoint presentation they’re almost always handed the slides on paper, a situation Barnicoat says occurs far too often and on where a change must take place.

“The only reason why these slides are printed is because they can,” he added.

This position shift sees Lexmark moving to offer industry specific solutions that are enterprise in class, but are also affordable to the SMB. Lexmark is targeting the healthcare, education and legal verticals with its line of industry-specific printers, starting at $4,300.

The Lexmark Clinical Assistant, which includes all the functions of a Lexmark X646dte monochrome laser multifunction product, displays touch screen buttons such as order routing, scan, fax, email, and something called card copy, that prints both sides of a provincial health card.

Lexmark’s Educations Stations will have touch screen buttons that can scan to classroom, print test and even mark multiple choice exams. These exams can be marked in two minutes for a class of 30, and can even provide students with analytics such as to how they fared against others, Barnicoat said.

“This moves information faster for teachers so they can teach rather than do paper work,” he said.

Lexmark’s legal devices (X646dte monochrome laser MFP) can scan to a network and to court. They will also come with the Copitrak system which helps lawyers bill for photocopies and prints.

Lexmark offering industry specific print solutions

All these models will have Lexmark’s embedded solutions framework (ESF) Java-based applets pre-installed on the printer, which enables users to route print jobs to PDF, e-mail, fax or be send to a data archive on hard disk.

“The printer has a server,” Barnicoat said.

With Lexmark’s line-up of industry-specific printers, users don’t have to buy a server for document feeding and routing. Barnicoat said this presents a cost, power and space savings for SMB customers.

Another Lexmark feature is Zonal OCR, or optical character recognition, which can perform error checking on documents.

As an example, when people sign mortgages they are often collected by the banks, put into a courier bag and shipped to a mortgage clearinghouse. It’s at the clearinghouse where errors are found.

Barnicoat suggests that instead of shipping all those signed mortgages they could be scanned with Zonal OCR, and the server-based system could indicate to the personal banker that a signature is missing. This would save time and paper, he said.

These industry specific printers can also produce RFID tags for the legal market and for libraries. Law offices can place RFID readers in the ceiling to help their staff find files with RFID tags through a server-based solution. Many libraries are placing RFID tags inside books as well, he said.

Also, Lexmark’s Secure Release technology has enabled resellers to implement solutions such as RFID proximity cards. These cards prevent office workers from printing documents and leaving them at the printer. The Secure Release technology will print the document only when a user waves the RFID proximity card at the printer within a 12 hour time frame. After that, the print job gets deleted.

One Fortune 500 company based in Toronto that Barnicoat could not name found they had more than one million pages that were not collected in the past year. With this new solution, this company was able to reduce its print costs by 28 per cent.

“The page you don’t print is the cheapest cost per page,” Barnicoat said.

Channel partners still selling hardware should move to sell these types of solutions because of the ongoing price drop in the printer market. These industry specific solutions enable resellers to provide more value by selling business intelligence, he said.

Barnicoat believes that if resellers provide this kind of consulting customers will source the products through them, rather than another place that just sells on price. It will also lead to higher double digit margins, he believes. Currently standard printer margins are in the single digits.

A recent Lexmark survey found that, over the lifecycle of a printer, 76 per cent of your consumables spend is on paper, while only seven per cent is toner cartridges. Paper consumption currently leads to 86 per cent of the global warming potential, which includes the entire carbon footprint, the logistics of making the paper, pulp, cutting the tree, chlorinating the paper and running the paper mill.

“We want the end users to print smarter and move information faster,” he said.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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