How to scrap paper to cut costs

How to scrap paper to cut costs

Summary: Hey, remember when everyone was talking about the paperless office being just around the corner?  Those were the same folks who thought we’d be in flying cars by now.


Hey, remember when everyone was talking about the paperless office being just around the corner?  Those were the same folks who thought we’d be in flying cars by now.  Personally, my mini-van not only doesn’t fly, but barely works.  So, the myth of the paperless office won’t need any busting anytime soon, but the economic situation is forcing cost-conscious organizations to scrutinize their paper usage.

Credit: "Florian" via Flickr

In addition to saving money, cutting the amount of paper you consume translates into less impact on the environment, which is the mantra in today’s eco-conscious world. By the way – that means you really should be reading this on the screen and not printing it up for your commute…or what have you;)  While many leading MFP and digital copier vendors are meeting these market demands with cheaper and more efficient equipment, there are several things you can do to cut paper usage. Here are three simple ideas from BNET:

  • Get a duplexing printer --The oldest trick in the book is printing on both sides of a sheet of paper, which effectively halves your overall output. But actually doing so is a hassle (which side goes up? which end goes in first?) unless you have a duplexing printer.
  • Print to PDF --Instead of printing and faxing (or mailing) a document, “print” a PDF and e-mail it instead. In the past we’ve explored many ways to turn documents into PDFs; check ‘em out if you’re not sure how to proceed. Then check out Unclutterer’s clever tip on another type of document you should always print to PDF.
  • Sign documents electronically --When a document needs your signature it usually means printing it out, signing it, and then returning it to sender. To save paper, start by digitizing your signature, then adding it to your PDFs. Alternately, check out EchoSign, which takes the hassle out of signing documents digitally.

Want to go hardcore? Ok, how about adopting a scanning strategy and eliminate paper from business processes altogether? You up to the challenge or do you just talk the talk?

There are many ways to get you there. An article on ZDNet, lays the groundwork for merging electronic processes and manual paper-based processes into one efficient workflow. It covers five considerations to keep in mind if you do decide to go for it, such as document types, office environment, and user experience, to name a few. We'll leave at that for now.

So these are just a few of the diverse methods you can use to trim the amount of printing you do and paper you consume. We'll look at more later, so think of this as a part one of many.

Topics: Banking, Data Management, Enterprise Software, Software

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  • Paperless Office - NOT.

    We agree that the myth of the paperless office won't need busting anytime soon. Certainly the economy is forcing economies wherever possilbe. But, to the point of paper-based workflows, we are a country that is addicted to paper. As such, paper (and PDF) document management is more important in preventing the uninteded use or interpetation of a document.

    Information workers have a tendency to print documents without proper identification on each page of their work. The use of rubber stamps is an inconvenience and archaic method of identification. The solution to "original" documents coming out of printers is an automated document marking resource that keeps paper-based workflows consistent with their intent.

    One solution to this ever-growing potential problem is at (StampIt for Word). It is the automation of the document marking process that makes the "best practice" of document management work -- it makes it automatic and simple.
    • RE: How to scrap paper to cut costs

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  • RE: How to scrap paper to cut costs

    We recently started duplexing, having incoming faxes default to e-mail and e-mailing PDF's instead of printing. Our paper saving is tremendous.
  • 4-up 2-sided = 86% reduction in paper

    It is amazing how much more we must do to achieve the paperless office. I started printing some email strings 4-up, double-sided. That translates into 86% paper savings. Of course my eyes are red at the end of the read. But I'm doing my part.
  • Cut paper with bookleting

    I agree. Go digital when you can, but for long documents, I need something physical to touch, especially while waiting at the doctor's or while the wife & daughter shop. I print everything more than 4 pages as 2-sided booklet view. With 12-pitch or better, it's the same as a 5x6 paperback novel.
    • Bookleting

      I totally agree. I like taking content onto the plane when traveling. Less elbow jabbing my neighbors. Sometimes i like to send it to my address and read it on e-Paper. The possibilities for lowering paper costs and conveying information digitally are super promising. I worked in "digital imaging" in 1997 and it was exciting then. The dreams we had are even more possible now. I'll dedicate an upcoming post to something about adoption of document management -- the people element. Doc
      DocuMentor (Doc)
  • RE: How to scrap paper to cut costs

    The importance of paperless offices can not be
    overemphasized. The reason we are moving slowly on
    that is that other people do not want to change their
    mind set. They want to see something 'hard' for it to
    be authentic!!!!!!!
  • RE: How to scrap paper to cut costs

    What a wonderful article. I can't wait for the next one!
    Capt. Monterey Jack
  • RE: How to scrap paper to cut costs

    I've been duplexing for years and read as much as I can on-line. For long articles, however, especially with a back that even the most expensive vertical chairs with lumbar support don't help for more than an hour at a stretch, I need to print until I get a monitor for my reclining chair.

    Good article. Wish more people would follow the suggestions there and in the posts.
  • RE: How to scrap paper to cut costs

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  • RE: How to scrap paper to cut costs

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