A recent InformationWeek article (“Biltmore Hotels Save Paper, Printing Costs Through Digitized Docs,” 2/12/08) reports on the attempt of the CIO of a hotel chain to cut back on steadily rising print costs. As the article points out “it's difficult to reduce paper and ink consumption when the effort flies in the face of people's office habits.”
The Biltmore chain has over 500 employees in its Florida headquarters. It had 41 printers and the number has been growing. So he:
▪ Reduced the printers to 9, while adding a few more copier-multifunctionals.
▪ Actively pushed two-sided printing and copying.
▪ Showed employees how to work with digital documents (PDFs) instead of printing everything out.
▪ Set up copiers so users had to swipe ID cards to use them and starting billing print costs back to departments.
▪ Limited use of color to certain employees with real need to use color.
The result is that the CIO “has cut what used to be a $3,400 budget for paper and ink cartridges by 75%.” He has also focused on getting departments to be far more digital in the way they handle documents. The HR department, for example, has now placed all records online, for example, and gotten rid of all of its filing cabinets.
None of this is any surprise, but it is a good indication that a strong push can transform old habits and save money and that such an effort can pay off.