Whatever happened to the paperless office?

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Solving the problem of galloping printing costs with dconsult

Not very long ago, experts were predicting the paperless office would be with us soon. It must have got lost on the way. Or maybe it was the experts who lost theirs. The fact is that the volume of documents businesses print has increased enormously in recent years and as few as 20% of companies actually know what they are spending on printing. A 2005 Garnter survey estimated the average cost-cutting potential in this field to be 40%. dconsult, a new service provided by DEVELOP, aims to realise this potential.

The average companys printed output has doubled in the past ten years, Gartner says. That, in itself, would not be a problem if businesses only had some idea of what they were actually paying for all that printing. Most dont. Primarily because, up to now, the focus has been on the cost of buying a printer, not its running costs. Nor has much attention been paid to the question of what kind of output system does the printing. Everybody now knows that stand-alone ink-jet printers are expensive to run. But how can a company calculate the overall cost of all the documents it produces? 

Optimising document production

dconsult, a new consulting service provided by DEVELOP, can help businesses to optimise their document production processes. The service starts with an in-depth analysis of the entire document workflow including internally as well as externally produced documents, continues by determining the specific needs of the company in question, and concludes by implementing a series of measures drawn up in close cooperation with those responsible in the company. Andreas Schuster, Business Development Manager at DEVELOP, talks about the new service: Companies rarely have the resources or experience to carry out such an analysis themselves. As external consultants, we can help a business cut out waste, deploy their printing resources more effectively and make sensible investments in new equipment. At the end of the day, we can help a business achieve sizeable reductions in the money spent on printing.

From in-depth analysis to customised solution

dconsult analysts make use of a unique, specially developed software tool, dconsult Manager, to analyse and optimise a companys document production environment. Containing an extensive product database, the software offers precise statistical data for a vast number of products that have been sold over the past years.  With the help of dconsult Manager, the analysts from DEVELOP can take stock of all the output systems in a business and calculate the costs of consumables (e.g. paper, ink or toner) and maintenance. What the company ends up with is not just a precise figure for its monthly output volume but also a detailed breakdown of print costs. These objective statistics form the basis for the next step. The analysts feed all their findings into dconsult Manager, which comes up with a made-to-measure proposal that not only brings significant cost reductions but also optimises document production functions and processes. A project team made up of dconsult analysts and staff from the company in question comb through the costs of document production to cut out waste and deploy printing resources as effectively as possible. On request, dconsult analysts also conduct interviews and staff workshops to come up with an in-depth survey of printer usage patterns.

One step further with dconsult 

Whereas many consultants confine their service to recommending the replacement of stand-alone printers by multifunctional systems (effectively a mere cost analysis), dconsult goes one step further by focusing on a companys document production processes. This is where there is huge potential for rationalisation and productivity gains. Digital colour systems allow companies to carry out their own marketing activities and, thanks to consistently reproduced colours, help to enhance the companys image. Processes can be simplified, e.g. by introducing fewer print systems offering more functions, investing in online finishing facilities, switching from outsourced to in-house colour printing, allocating print costs to individual cost centres, or bringing in office communication solutions such as scan-to-e-mail.

The paper-rich office has seemingly come to stay. DEVELOPs dconsult service offers companies a chance to rein in their galloping printing costs.

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