Mathias Militzer, General Manager, Lexmark International Middle East speaks about the benefits available from printing in colour and discusses some of the common misconceptions that exist about the process.
Misunderstandings exist across various organizations about the usage of colour printing in a business environment. Many of these arise due to uncertainty around the usage and running costs in relation to the expected benefits of such devices.
Technology is moving on and today it is now possible to produce colour print outs for very little. But, it’s not all about the costs; there is also a need to educate on the benefits that colour printing can bring to businesses.
So, what are the main benefits of colour printing?
Printing less, saving more
At an individual level, printing in colour can actually help reduce the number of pages that staff produce. Knowing they are using colour devices often makes office workers take a more considered approach to what they print as they are more conscious of the costs involved.
This is validated by Lexmark’s own research1, when almost 70 per cent of employees claimed they pay closer attention when printing in colour than in black.
For businesses, having the ability to produce professional colour collateral in-house means they can essentially print on demand.
This eliminates the need to store large volumes of material and the dangers of wasting huge quantities of stock when copy becomes out of date or needs refining. Printing on demand also allows organisations to spread the cost rather than pay for large print runs all in one go.
Better, smarter decisions
Whilst we see a more considered approach to colour printing which can actually help organisations reduce the number of printed pages produced and directly impact the bottom line, there are many additional benefits to printing in colour.
One of the biggest challenges for corporate users is managing and using the piles of information that come across their desks day in, day out. Using colour for internal communications raises the efficiency of workers by enabling them to quickly analyse complex data by improving readability and therefore comprehension.
Staff regarded these two benefits as the main advantages of colour printing according to our research. Improving readability and comprehension reduces the margin for error, supporting better decision-making, which in turn can lead to a more efficient, smarter business.
A more professional approach
For smaller firms in particular, without budgets for professional print services or small print run requirements that don’t make commercial sense to outsource, producing colour documents helps them appear more professional and larger than they actually are. The same applies to the branch offices of larger enterprises, which often have similar needs to small independent firms. In many cases it may be more cost efficient to produce small print runs at a local level rather than obtaining it from HQ where shipping fees, storage costs and controlling the sole use of updated versions may offset the cost benefits of this approach.
Our research found that many office workers highlighted the attractiveness of documents and a more professional approach which printing in colour can bring. Colour also helps to attract the reader’s attention. Market research has found that presentations and printed pages are perceived as 60 per cent better when they are in colour and the visual retrieval time of a document is reduced by 80 per cent.
What’s holding us back then and how can we move forward?
Whilst many employees recognise the benefits that colour printing can have on their day-to-day activities, at a management level many still view it as a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘must have’ capability.
The use of colour devices in the workplace can have a significant impact on printing behaviour. Employees with easy access to colour devices become far more considered about what and how much they print, leading to less rather than more pages being produced.
Education plays a role here too. Providing tips and guidelines to staff on when and how to use colour devices and encouraging a ‘think before you print’ attitude ensures a more efficient use across a business. And, by ensuring default settings are for black printing only, employees will have to make the choice to print in colour so can better assess when is the right time to do this.
By lifting restrictions on access to colour printing and ensuring the necessary equipment is more readily available, companies should benefit from a more professional approach, improved presentation and readability.
Additionally, they can reduce paper wastage and take a more efficient approach to printing, ultimately leading to significant cost savings for the business as a whole.
With a proper understanding of the advantages, combined with technological advances and a well-implemented print policy, it quickly becomes clear that colour doesn’t need to be a cost or resource drain. In fact it can improve efficiency and help make cost savings across an entire organisation.