Printer vendor launches print less strategy

Lexmark International (NYSE: LXK), one of the few remaining print only vendors, is embarking on a strategy called Print Less Save More that hopes to cut customer printing costs and reduce the number of pages outputted.

Mark McCullough, Lexmark Canada marketing manager, told CDN that this strategy is not part of a marketing slogan or a gimmick, but an actual strategy that they are pursuing with the channel targeting the business-to-business space.

McCullough recently concluded a seven city road show where he got in front of more than 500 IT resellers to deliver this print less message.

“The one thing that is obvious is that it’s not a message you hear from a company that is focused solely on the output space like Lexmark. We think that its time we approach customers and talk about eliminating waste and I think it will make good business sense in the long run because it helps to control costs and the environmental impact,” McCullough said.

The strategy is a long term play, McCullough admitted. Lexmark believes by enabling customers to save paper, reduce costs and manage documents better their retention rate will increase leading to more long term product sales. Also by bringing more awareness to printing less customers will switch to Lexmark increasing sales.

“We are not suggesting that people do not print but we should try to eliminate piles of paper in the recycling bin and unnecessary printing that is unmanaged. It sound like a contradiction, but really we have found that customers are looking for improved bottom line and improved efficiencies and they want to eliminate waste,” he added.

Printing statistics from Ipsos-Reid are revealing. The research firm found that one out of ever six printed pages are never read or discarded. Canadians also spend three hours and 16 minutes per day processing documents. At the end of the year, employed Canadians will have printed 12,000 pages on average.

But, the figure that McCullough brings up during customer discussions is 67 per cent of organizations have no idea how much they print.

“When you walk around an office you often see wasted paper and it contributes to the 80 per cent of the energy used that processes trees into paper and it cuts down the forest,” he said.

“If you are going to attack the carbon footprint then you have to address the paper and that means using less of it.”

This is one of the reasons why Lexmark developed the Print Release solution for many of its products. Print Release automatically deletes documents that sit in a queue for more than 24 hours. The software can be programmed to allow documents to sit in the queue for longer periods of time.

Print Release works with a central server whereby documents are sent to print there instead of a local or desktop printer. From there an employee needs to scan his or her building access card to release the documents. Print Release also enables workers to see a checklist of documents so that the person can decide to go ahead and print the document or delete it right at the printer.

McCullough also said that double sided duplex printing is an opt-out option instead of an opt-in in the Print Less Save More strategy.

“We are trying to develop solutions to better manage printing. The argument is as a printer company you would want companies to print more so they replace print cartridges more often. We really look at it the other way because the old method does not offer value to the customer anymore,” McCullough 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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