Cutting cost and maximising profit often go hand-in-hand in a business. Expenses can have a huge impact on a business’s bottom line, but there are some cost-cutting efforts that have a longer-lasting effect – not just on the company’s operating expenses.
One of the best ways for a company to be more efficient in managing office expenses is to look at how efficient the printing process is.
According to Thanam Industry, a recycling company in Kuala Lumpur, 20 reams of A4-sized paper is equivalent to chopping down a tree.
In Malaysia, over 57,000 tonnes of paper are being thrown into landfills every month. This is the same as chopping down 680,000 marketable-size trees every month. To make matters worse, paper recovery is not being done at the same rate. There are 250,000 tonnes of newsprint in a year, but only 100,000 tonnes are being recycled and recovered.
On top of driving the cost of running an office up, indiscriminate wasting of paper has a negative impact on our environment.
There are many ways a business can do its part in preserving the environment and at the same time cut on expenses. With the following measures in place for office printing, a business will not just successful manage the cost, it will also reduce its carbon footprint.
1) Print on both sides
According to World Wide Fund’s (WWF) data, a company of 5,000 employees that uses double-sided printing for only 10% of its printing could save up to US$260,000. That’s close to RM1.2 million (as of January 2017 at 4.4594 against USD)!
WWF uses Citigroup as an example on how much a company can save by just simply practising double-sided copying. By just conserving one sheet of paper each week, it is estimated that the company would save US$700,000 (RM3,121,089.79) each year.
2) Squeeze the margin
Every millimetre counts when it comes to saving paper and ink. If you work in an office that regularly has to print out documents from Microsoft Word, here’s a nifty trick that will save you some paper – and money!
By reducing your page margin – the white space around your page – you could use up to 14% less paper.
To do that on Microsoft Word, go to “Page Layout”, then click on “Margins”. Then you can either select the pre-set margins, or customise the size. “Narrow” and “Moderate” have smaller margins than the “Normal” setting. You can customise the margin by selecting “Custom Margin” and set your margins to smaller numbers.
3) Use the most efficient fonts
Calibri, Arial or Times New Roman? Choosing the right font to use in your document makes a difference in your cost.
A less efficient font would use more ink, which results in a longer print job and higher electricity usage. So not only you will be paying more for ink, you will be paying more for electricity too in the long run.
It is also bad for the environment to use more ink because the discarded ink containers create plastic and metal waste. This will cause more CO2 emissions and increasing your carbon footprint. This is also why you should choose a printer that uses environmental-friendly ink containers (more on this in point #5).
The best font recommended by Consumer Reports is Times New Roman, which results in 27% more ink mileage. Though Arial used to be the default font for Microsoft Office, both Calibri and Century Gothic outperformed it.
So the next time you are about to hit print, check your font and change it to a more efficient one.
4) Switch to lightweight paper
Thicker paper may look and feel nicer, but it is not really necessary to use thicker paper most of the time.
When the Bank of America reduced the weight of its ATM receipt paper, it recorded an estimated savings of US$500,000 each year, including savings on storage, handling, transportation and labour.
Five hundred sheets of 80gsm paper cost about RM1.40 more compared to 70gsm paper. If your company uses 100 reams of paper every month, you will be burning RM140 every month for no reason. That’s RM1,680 a year!
Here’s how much you can save on cost, according to WWF:
- 60gsm uses and costs 20% more than 50gsm
- 70gsm uses and costs 15% more than 60gsm
- 80gsm uses and costs 12% more than 70gsm
- 100gsm uses and costs 20% more than 80gsm
Shifting to lighter-weight paper will cost you less and will also help you save on storage space.
5) Use efficient printers and toner
You don’t need to drastically change your work habits or processes to reduce cost and carbon footprints in your printing. Nobody wants to go through the entire hierarchy or bureaucracy at work just to print a measly invoice.
The first and most important step to ensure all the above cost saving tips are implemented successfully is to have a good quality printer and use efficient toner.
A good printer and toner should reduce wastage and are kind to the environment through the following ways:
- Printing should not curl and toner should dry fast to avoid paper jams.
- Toner should be smudge and streak-proof too, so you won’t have to reprint.
- Consistent printing so there will be no wasted prints.
- Toner packaging should be environmentally-friendly by using recycled materials.
- There should be a cartridge recycling programme, so you don’t have to worry about recycling the cartridges as well.
Ensuring your devices are in good quality and in top-notch condition will help you manage your cost and carbon footprints in the long run.
According to study by the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance in 2015, the estimated associated cost of paper, which includes storage, copying, printing, postage, disposal, and recycling, could be as much as 31 times of the original paper purchase price. By adding up all these costs, you’ll quickly see how to cost can burn a hole in your company’s profit.
The best cost saving method is, of course, to print only when it’s absolutely necessary. However, that may not be possible for many industries, depending on the nature of the business and work.
Hence, by having the above measures in place, you won’t have to sacrifice necessary services or strip your office to a bare minimum just to save a few ringgit for your business.